"The commanders dead, and everyone in the mines gone insane" - Jericho (Jason Statham)
Inattentively re-watched through my fingers after rolling it in a Russian roulette movie list on letterboxd... well, it hasn't got any better with time. Outside of his unflattering comeback feature 'The Ward', 'Ghosts of Mars' is easily John Carpenters worst. Its an ham-fisted b-space-opera about a police fleet being sent to mars to escort a prisoner back to custody. Only the red planets become overrun by death metal looking former minors who have split-up into mutant clans, after being possessed by the planets ancient spirits.
I really like JC's movies, he walks on water in my cinematic mindset, hell I would gladly even pass-off 'emperor's new clothes' style his other questionable films (Vampires,Memoirs of an Invisible Man etc.) as being at least 3 out of 5's. But both 'Ghosts' and his direction are unashamedly bad. Theres some decent throw-away one liners and Pam Grier as the lesbian ballbreaker and Jason Statham in his 1st US flick as the 'slimey limey/rent-a-muscle' gave it a go. But everything else - script, action, production, visual & audio fx, acting... are totally bottom of the barrel. You can't even excuse Henstridge & Cubes performances (for just being a model & rapper) because they don't even try, nobody seems to do.
I've heard Carpenter say since on podcasts that it was an enjoyable film to make, sadly that fun never transfers to the finished film. Theres little to separate this from 100's of similar shitty straight to video sci-fi's. And I'm not even accepting peoples right to ironically love it for its bad qualities. Because that was never what Carpenter was about. He made great movies from low budgets, not bad movies from modest budgets.