ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Red Planet (2000)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Antony Hoffman

Starring:
Val Kilmer/Gallagher
Carrie Ann Moss/Kate
Tom Sizemore/Quinn
Terence Stamp/Chantilas
PLOT-CRUNCH
Earth is used up and 6 astronauts are sent out to Mars to see wassup (colonization). When they get there, all kinds of bogus stuff happens and Carrie Ann Moss is hot.
THE LOWDOWN
Generic Sci-Fi flick that looks good but doesn’t have much to offer in terms of content. We’ll start with the characters. What characters?? Does the word transparent mean anything to you? All I know about them is that Gallagher (Kilmer) likes to be funky, Kate (Moss) doesn’t wear a bra, Quinn (Sizemore) believes in science, Chantilas (Stamp) is looking for God, Ted (Bratt) is a brat and Chip (Baker) is just a big pussy. Having the characters be so empty makes it hard for us to care about them and get fully involved.

The love story between Moss and Kilmer feels very phony. It’s expressed by one flashback and its only purpose is to up the emotional level of the film (almost worked).

More exploration of that theme would have been nice….

The flick has good buildup, a gnarly crash sequence had me up until they landed on Mars. Not much happens once they’re there: a guy falls off a cliff, a lot of walking around, the robot goes haywire (underused and defeated too easily in a "MacGyver" way) and weird insect like creatures show up long enough for me to forget about them.

On the up size, the effects look great (except for the CGI robot…damn CGI, will they ever learn!), the film is directed in a very slick way, the end is somewhat exciting, it’s always fun to see Kilmer being kooky for kooky’s sakes (no, you’re not Brando, wassup up with those snowboarder glasses?) and the film is never boring. That’s quite a feat, not much happens but somehow the film keeps you entertained. Kudos to the director.

I have to comment on the ending one-liner: It’s so out of place and so forced that it made me laugh out loud. It almost felt like Kilmer forgot to say it after defeating the immediate threat so instead he said it at the most inappropriate moment. Felt like a Kilmer improv to me.

The film is not Mission To Mars (what a bore) but it lacks direction. Is it a survival flick? A crazy robot on the loose flick? An alien flick (the bugs)? A love story? It doesn’t know and doesn’t spend enough time on any of these aspects to explore them to any depth. In the end, Red Planet is one hollow flick that somehow manages to keep you interested. Let's explore this planet…
GORE
Not much going on in this department. Bugs going up one guy's nose. After the fact blood. Very tame.
ACTING
Val Kilmer (Gallagher) relies on his charm and weirdness to act this one out. What’s up with the Elvis glasses, the funky shirt? Shades of "Dr. Moreau". Carrie Ann Moss (Kate) has that "Gillian Anderson" thing going and I looked forward to every shot of her in that white tank top with no bra on. Hello! Tom Sizemore (Quinn) also relies on his quirky charm to act through this one, not his fault, there’s no character. Terence Stamp (Chantillas) is there long enough to ramble some existential drivel…that’s it. Benjamin Bratt (Ted) plays an a-hole. Simon Baker (Chip) is convincing, I wanted to kick is pansy arse.
T & A
Carrie Ann Moss takes a shower but the steam patches are strategically placed. If you don’t blink you get the side of a breast. She reveals more in that white tank top with the nipples on high beam.
DIRECTING
This guy should do action flicks, he gives the film lots of energy and almost fooled me into thinking that the movie was exciting. The camera is always on the move.
SOUNDTRACK
A very loud score that complements the directing. It’s emotional and grandiose. Credit goes out to Graeme Revell (I love his shite).
BOTTOM LINE
If Red Planet would have focused on its elements more, given us a love story that was credible so that it would hit you when the crisis starts (remember The Abyss?) and developed its characters more, it could’ve been pretty good. I mean everything is there: The adrenaline pumped directing, the good actors, the powerful score, the decent effects…all that’s missing is a thought out script.
BULL'S EYE
The working title of the film was "Mars" but they changed it to avoid confusion with the De Palma clunker.

Carrie Ann Moss was born in Vancouver BC, she’s Canadian.
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