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Tries too hard, but not nearly as bad as the reviews show
It took three sittings to get through, but I made it through this low-budget sci-fi kick-boxing thriller. The two elements that really killed this film are the script and Gabrield Dell Jr's channeling of Rob Schneider (on crack). Mars is so full of clichés that the cast should have been given awards for keeping straight faces throughout the production. And Dell's character is so loud, obnoxious, and unfunny, that the single best line in the film, and perhaps it's most dramatic moment, occurs when Greunier tries to get him to shut up.
Shari Belafonte is beautiful and Olivier Greunier looks good too, but good looks don't help a bad script. Some of the acting is poor, but mostly its the absurd script that makes good acting almost inconceivable. Belafonte carries her lines better than the rest of the cast. Greunier is pretty good at looking apathetic, angry and detached, but I have to say that the whole casting non-actors as silent unemotional heroes thing is really wearing thin.
Knowing how low budget this film was, and knowing a little about how it was made, I have to say that the production values are really not that bad, and the directing is actually pretty good. The director, a tenth degree black-bekt and Undefeated Florida Full-Contact Heavyweight Karate Champion, has made some absolutely hideous films (The Watchers http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096425/ being the worst example), but Mars is a big improvement over his earlier works. The film keeps a reasonable pace and doesn't try to do very much with what it doesn't have (i.e. a useful script).
Though I just finished watching this last night, I am struggling to remember the plot. Greunier is Caution Templer - a "Keeper" - a kind of corporate intelligence officer. His brother, also a keeper, has been murdered on Mars, where the company has a mining interest. Almost as soon as he gets to Mars to investigate, he connects with Belafonte, who has just made a startling and troublesome discovery, and people start trying to kill them both. There really isn't much more too it.
I recommend this film for kick-boxing fans, and would give it a very mild recommendation of low budget sci fi fans.
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