Mars with a hurricane like storm on the surface.

The Last Days on Mars: Martians + Earthlings = Space Zombies

The Last Days on Mars movie poster.I love science-fiction. Always have. It’s the genre I gravitate to, and usually the one where I run out of new films to watch.

This evening, I watched The Last Days on Mars (Wikipedia/IMDB), again on PPStream (火星上的最后时日).

The central plot to the movie involves a Mars outpost crew already psychologically fraying after six long and seemingly fruitless months on the Red Planet suddenly discovering alien bacterial life on the day before their replacement crew and ride home to Earth arrives. A mishap occurs and a member of the crew dies but, being exposed to the alien bacteria, is soon reanimated into a zombie-like creature who that goes about attacking the rest of them.

Each crew member that falls soon becomes yet another zombie, and these are zombies that apparently know how to use power drills, take off their own space suits, and use explosives to blow up doors in their way. And only the egotistical British bitch that everyone hates apparently had seen enough pop culture zombie movies to realize they should zip-tie an infected person down after they die and before they turn.

What follows is a lot of suspenseful running around and fighting for survival, where any injury caused means infection, memory loss, and a serious thirst for water.

Zombie Marko in The Last Days on Mars.

The main character is Vincent, played by the same guy that played Sabertooth, and he appears to be the station’s resident handyman, responsible for fixing this and that. Repeatedly throughout the movie, Vincent suffers disorientating panic-attacks where all of the sudden he flashes back to an incident on the crew’s 6-month journey from Earth to Mars on a massive spaceship. It’s never explained why, but he apparently lost it, opened an airlock hatch, and nearly vented himself into space. Since then, he’s been nervous about the hatches, airlocks, and the trip back overall, ostensibly fearing he’d end up doing something similar, and thus never quite get back home.

Vincent with a knife stuck through his glass helmet.

You get the feeling this is all included in the movie to give added depth to the character of Vincent, as some sort of personal struggle or demon. You may even think Vincent’s ultimate fate where he may not have to worry about going back to Earth at all is a sort of ironic juxtaposition to the fear that had been debilitating him. Yet, it doesn’t quite come together, and you end up feeling all those dizzying flashback scenes were an annoying waste of time, especially because they don’t really impact the central plot of fleeing from zombies.

Excepting this, the film overall was quite well done, even if there’s nothing particularly new or unique about its central premise, which may remind you of Prometheus (Wikipedia/IMDB), except without as much disappointment and head-scratching.

The environment and technology were all impressively detailed and reasonably realistic. One particular nice touch was the abundance of corporate sponsorship logos plastered all over the exterior of the outpost and rovers, perhaps accurately suggesting that corporate money will fund the space exploration of the future?

4/5 stars.

Rover in The Last Days on Mars, plastered with corporate sponsorship logos.

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