Published Nov 01, 2000By now the majority of people are aware that "Red Planet" was originally called "Mars," but to avoid confusion with "Mission To Mars" the name was changed and the release stalled. Luckily "MTM" bombed and, to avoid confusion, "Red Planet" has decided to occupy the same decaying orbit and is on course to share a similar fate, just so people can keep it straight that all the Mars movies have sucked. Not like Jupiter, which has "2001" and "2010" - Jupiter kicks ass! Mars, the planet, not the war god, should be pissed; not only does it have two moons, both of which makes Mars look fat, but now two horrendous movies released in the same year. It is not that bad, however, at least Mars has some good press ("Mars Attacks") - how many movies have been made about Uranus?
Anyway, it seems a waste that an ensemble this talented (Val Kilmer, "Willow"; Tom Sizemore, not in "Willow"; Carrie-Ann Moss, possibly in "Willow" and Terence Stamp, should have been in "Willow") are all but wasted in a movie so clichéd and formulaic that it makes a two-hour episode of "Voyager" seem superb, although "Voyager" has been picking-up as of late. (Stick with the Borg, yo!)
In "Red Planet" world, the year is 2050, mankind has poisoned the Earth beyond its capabilities to recover, what's the solution? Move! Where to? Hell, Mars looks good. But Mars is inhospitable, uninhabitable and very bad for the skin. Don't worry about it - it's clear the writers didn't. So, after nuking Mars to melt the ice (I know, I know), they send algae to make the air breathable (I know, I know), it works (I know, I know), but then something goes wrong and it's time to send in the big guns to figure out what went wrong - all six of them. Anyway, the movie crawls along until the inevitable "act of god" is used to get the ball rolling. What follows is some of the most asinine dialogue, unbelievable coincidences and lapses in plot to ever grace a sci-fi movie. The one saving grace is the robot AMEE, inadvertently set on "evil," who could have saved the movie and become a classic sci-fi/horror villain if its role was better fleshed out. Forget about Mars needing women - Mars needs better movies!