This week on the B movie docket is The Last Days on Mars
B movies are the glue stuck in between all the other genres, oftentimes refusing to conform to any particular genre presets. Some but not all of the hallmarks of a B movie include scripts that read like they were written by a room full of eighth-graders, poor visual effects, cringe-inducing dialogue, low budget production design, and zany plot contrivances. You’re aware of the hallmarks, right? B-movies often reek of amateur flair. Thought you were about to watch a great white shark hunted in dramatic fashion like only Steven Spielberg can deliver? Nope, this is Sharknado.
Why do we love B movies? I think B movies are comforting. You know what you’re about to watch is bad. If you’re fortunate it may be so bad that it’s good. You’ll often scratch your head trying to work out the plot. Out of the many good films you’ve seen, I bet you can talk with more vigor about the worst ones you’ve seen. They’re unforgettable. There’s something comforting about that I think. Besides they’ve been around just as long as the movie industry.
Believe it or not, chances are there’s a B movie for you. So I compiled a list of 50 B movies you must see before you die. No decade is off-limits. No rating is too taboo. For the next 49 weeks, I will introduce and recommend a B movie for your viewing pleasure. Yes, these are exciting times indeed my fanatical friends.
WEEK 30 – The Last Days on Mars
This week at 50 B Movies I present The Last Days On Mars. The science fiction film features some solid acting for a B movie. And it would have escaped this list if not for one plot twist. I will talk about that later. The Last Days On Mars stars Wolverine Origins’ Liev Schreiber. Remember that guy? He gave us a pint-sized Sabretooth in a film featuring questionable comic book logic. Do not tell me you forgot about the adamantium bullet Stryker uses on Wolverine at the end. That very same bullet, that I wish I had after watching that turd. Maybe today I would not remember that stinker X-Men film.
But one bright spot in the dim and glib Wolverine Origins was Liev Schreiber. Thankfully he pulls a solid amount of acting weight in The Last Days On Mars. The movie looks like something that John Carpenter would have made. So much so in fact, one could readily believe it is a prequel to Carpenters Ghosts of Mars.
With a title like The Last Days On Mars, I expect to see some world ending science fiction. When I sat down to watch the flick, I thought it would be something in the vein of the science fiction Ridley Scott makes. Thankfully, for us it was not. Not even close. The Last Days On Mars is more like 28 Days Later in space and less like Alien: Covenant. The later of which featured an insane android possessed by a God complex completely ending the an entire culture.
Last Days On Mars wastes no time in getting to the action. We are quickly introduced to a crew tasked with collecting samples on the red planet. There’s some sort of drilling operation underway on the surface. The crew have been on a rather uneventful Mars and are awaiting pickup from a relief crew. It is in the final hours of their mission that things take a turn towards the horribly macabre.
Here’s the synopsis – Astronauts (Liev Schreiber, Elias Koteas, Romola Garai) on Mars contend with a microbe that turns those it infects into zombie-like killers.
From there it is a pretty straight forward zombie flick. We are not given much explanation as to the cause of the zombies. There’s no flashback to the final days of a Martian society. Instead we see that whatever microbes are causing the infection are fast acting. For example, one moment a character is a completely rational cosmonaut. And then moments later he is chasing his comrades around like they are turkeys on Thanksgiving.
But the problem with the film, is the infection time is played with much more loosely as the movie steams ahead rolling to a conclusion. In a major blockbuster, I’d call that a serious plot hole. But in the case of this B movie, it works.
What sets The Last Days On Mars apart from other zombie flicks? Well let’s just say if there was ever a zombie versus mashup movie where these zombified cosmonauts battled other zombies, these zombies would wreck the undead opposition. See, there is one big thing that sets these zombies apart from the rest of the pack. These zombies can think. Just picture a undead horde capable of commandeering vehicles to run you down.
So, while locking yourself behind a keypad locked room might be a good idea in every other zombie movie. That will not work when the zombies can figure out a way inside. Did I mention these zombies run too? They can.
I recommend checking out this B movie for the fast-moving zombies and Liev Schreiber alone. Watch The Last Days On Mars.