Around 200 years in the future, a matriarchal human society has been established on Mars, although not all of the planet has yet been terraformed to make it fit for human habitation. In the Martian outpost of Chryse City, a badly damaged commuter train returns on auto-pilot, deserted except for policewoman Melanie Ballard (Natasha Henstridge), who has been severely wounded and chained to a bed railing. Asked to explain herself, Ballard tells the Martian authorities that she was part of a team sent to the mining town of Shining Canyon to supervise the transfer of suspected murderer James 'Desolation' Williams (Ice Cube) to stand trial in the city. Upon arrival, however, they found the town and its jail deserted, while further investigation uncovered an evil threatening all human life on the planet.

Though it's not terribly exciting, Ghosts Of Mars does have a marvellously skewed vision...

Director John Carpenter's second film Assault On Precinct 13 which he made in 1976, centered on a handful of characters trapped inside a prison by a murderous mob outside. It's amazing how much his latest film, Ghosts Of Mars resembles this early work.

The colony on Mars, in the year 2176, is ruled by a matriarchy. Ballard, Natasha Henstridge, a policewoman and the sole survivor of an assignment to return suspected killer Desolation Williams, Ice Cube, back to the capital of Chryse, is interrogated and reveals what happened during the fateful mission. Ballard was a member of a unit headed by Braddock, Pam Grier, sent to the mining camp of Shining Canyon to bring Desolation back to justice; but they arrive to find the place has been attacked by a fierce and mysterious enemy; headless corpses are everywhere, and the survivors are confined to the prison.

John Carpenter doesn't seem to have moved forward from the 70s and early 80s, when he made his best films. Though it's not terribly exciting, Ghosts Of Mars does have a marvellously skewed vision, and Natasha Henstridge, in her black leather uniform, is an imposing heroine. As usual, Carpenter provides the film`s music as well as contributing to the fairly simple screenplay and handling the energetic, but unsurprising, direction. The result is strictly for fans of the genre, but it's not unenjoyable.