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Red Planet (2000)
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Review Date: November 10, 2000
Director: Antony Hoffman
Writer: Chuck Pfarrer and Jonathan Lemkin
Producers: Bruce Berman, Mark Canton, Jorge Saralegui
Actors:
Val Kilmer as Gallagher
Tom Sizemore as Burchenal
Carrie-Anne Moss as Bowman
Plot:
This movie takes place in the year 2025. A crew of astronauts is stranded on the planet Mars with little hope of survival. Their situation is endangered further by the presence of a guerilla robot out for blood. Will their orbiting captain be able to help them get off the planet alive? Does anybody care? Let's find out.
Critique:
Blah. This movie felt a lot like a big-budget episode of TV's "Star Trek". Zero tension, a few cheap thrills (including a side shot of Carrie-Anne Moss exiting the showers, thank you very much), a tiny bit of action and a hardly noticeable story. They should have just called it STRANDED, since that was basically all that this movie was about. It just so happened to take place on the planet Mars, but they may as well have been stranded anywhere else with cavernous mountains and orange filters, cause this planet seemed to have no relevance to the actual story. What story, you may ask? Hmmmm, not sure. Other than the fact that these folks are deserted on this planet and looking for a way out, the film had very little else to offer. And is it me, or does the plot sound a lot like what is turning out to be the best sci-fi flick of the year, the low-budgeted PITCH BLACK (7/10)? Who knew?!

Fortunately for us, that film actually had a bad guy, a charismatic lead and some nasty alien muthas. This movie has got a "robot" who is supposed to be scary, running around making some buzzing noises, plenty of shots of crew members switching and clicking buttons in the cockpit and some nasty bugs, who looked almost as CGI as the pathetic "alien" at the end of MISSION TO MARS. The actors were all decent, but a couple, like Tom Sizemore and Terence Stamp, seemed to be there simply to cash a paycheck. Kilmer was good, but I believe he already played that very same character in THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU. But I suppose much of my disappointment with the film could've been resolved if they had actually spent some time building an interesting story or developing their characters, but neither aspect materializes here. The film was actually never boring for me, but neither was it ever exciting. And I'm not sure if this was just the theatre that I was in but damn, how about lowering the decibel level on some of those "crash" and "explosion" sequences? Jeez-Louise, my eardrums were about to bust out! A renter maybe, but nothing worth seeing in the theatres. This movie is yet another missed opportunity to build a great story around all of the mystery and unknown elements surrounding the red planet. This film had very little to do with Mars, even less to do with entertainment and contained yet another disposable sci-fi "romance". I certainly wouldn't qualify it as a horrible flick, watchable to be sure, but one which will undoubtedly be forgotten by most as they walk out of the theater.
(c) 2014 Berge Garabedian
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