Director: Ruairi Robinson
Stars: Liev Schreiber, Elias Koteas, Romola Garai
Let’s start with the good here. Liev Schreiber and Elias Koteas are both pretty solid here. They are both good actors in my opinion and should get better roles. The basic plot is somewhat original but does meander and go left field towards the end and becomes very cliched. The left field twist does come out of nowhere and isn’t expected.
We join the expedition at Tantalus Base, the first manned mission to Mars. They have less than twenty four hours to go before the mission is finalised and they rendezvous with their pick up which is currently orbiting above the planet. As the relief crew head back to base after a final expedition, one of the crew members at the base thinks he has found something extraordinary and rather than get the relief crew to investigate he breaks protocol and lies in order to investigate and get the glory himself. Naturally this goes horribly wrong and the team are forced to investigate.
Overall this is pretty average stuff. There’s lots of dumb decisions made and the script is not the best. The fifties music also seemed very out of place. While the production values are reasonable the photography is not. The film starts with us seeing a rover of some sort traveling across the deserts of the red planet. Only, never at any point does it actually look or feel how you would imagine Mars to be. Maybe this is due in part to a lack of education on my part, or from the effects of many other films. It just looks like an ordinary every day desert. Which in fact it was (filmed in Jordan I believe).
To help try and cover this up, there’s a lot of sand storms. But that doesn’t help to make you think they are really on Mars. Ultimately, it never convinces in either of the horror, sci-fi or thriller aspects and is a little flat all round. Even with space zombies. If this type of film is your thing, there is better stuff out there such as Mission to Mars and The Europa Report, which really says a lot about this particular title that I think those two are better. One for a rainy afternoon.
The Sage’s Rating: 5/10