Ghosts of Mars

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -3

In the year 2176, Lt. Melanie Ballard (Natasha Henstridge) and a crack team of police officers go to a remote Martian mining outpost to transport the notorious criminal James "Desolation" Williams (Ice Cube) back to justice. When the team arrives, they discover a ghost town where most of the miners have been violently killed and decapitated. The only living beings are a handful of prisoners in the camp's jail and a host of zombie-like humans who have been possessed by an ancient Martian life form unearthed by the miners. The unlikely duo of Ballard and Williams find themselves on the same side as they fight for survival against a ferocious band of Martian-possessed humans, bent on ridding their planet of all human life. Fans of director John Carpenter may enjoy this action-packed, science-fiction thriller but mainstream audiences will likely be turned off by the extreme violence and a simple plot that offers no real surprises.

The best thing one could say about the moral components of GHOST OF MARS is that the film shows no nudity whatsoever and very little near nudity, a rarity for an R-rated film. There is little time for any nudity with all of the violence. The possessed humans engage in cult-like rituals where they file their teeth, mutilate themselves, and cut other people's faces off to wear them as masks. They also behead humans and mount their heads on sticks. Many of these actions are shown in graphic detail. Viewers also see a man commit suicide by slicing his own throat as well as an intense battle with people killed in almost every imaginable way. Mars of the future is run by women and the film makes several lesbian references. Drug content is prevalent and depicted as normal and acceptable by the female lead character. Language is severe with numerous f-words and s-words. In short, violence, lesbian references, and language combine to make GHOST OF MARS a harrowing experience, but for all the wrong reasons.

Preview Reviewer: John Barber
Columbia Pictures, 10202 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (35) times - Mild 24, moderate 11

Obscene Language: Many (47) times - F-word 29, s-word 15, other 2, finger gesture 1

Profanity: Several (6) times - Exclamatory 1 (OG) Regular 5 (GD, G 2, J, JC)

Violence: Many times – Severe and graphic (Severed arm; man graphically slits own throat; several graphic decapitations, heads mounted on sticks; possessed humans self-mutilate, file teeth, cut off people's faces and wear as masks; man graphically cuts off own thumb; battle scene with punches, kicks, stabbings, shootings, impaling, grenade blasts; man set on fire)

Sex: None

Nudity: Near Nudity - Few times (Woman in underwear; woman in low cut blouse)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Several times (Male officer propositions female officer multiple times; female officer comments on male genital size)

Drugs: Several times (officer appears to hallucinate after takes pill, inhaler abused; prisoner hung over from ‘shooting up’)

Other: Martian life force possesses humans; human matriarchal government on Mars, women shown as dominant leaders

Running Time: 95 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and young adults

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