Red Planet (2000)

Genres - Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Sci-Fi, Space Adventure  |   Release Date - Nov 10, 2000 (USA)  |   Run Time - 107 min.  |   Countries - Australia , United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Jason Clark

This effort to mix romance, action-adventure, moral drama, and a few philosophical musings results in a disjointed mishmash of a science fiction film that ends up oddly similar to the debacle of Mission to Mars (2000), a film that was seen as its principal competitor. A handful of gripping sequences (including one in which the Mars explorers run out of oxygen) doesn't amount to much of a successful film. Neither does Red Planet receive a lot of help from the casting of Val Kilmer in the anti-hero role. Always a cold and remote performer, Kilmer does his level best to warm up his slacker character, but he's just too intellectual and calculating an actor to believably assay a part that's essentially a goofy interplanetary handyman. Carrie-Anne Moss stays close to ground base with a part that's a variation on her female lead in The Matrix (1999), while kinetic supporting player Terence Stamp is quickly dispensed with by the script. Director Anthony Hoffman never gets particularly inventive with compositions or camera movements, a baffling choice considering the confinement-free environs of zero-gravity space and a distant, barely seen world. Less imaginative by far than it should be and lacking in a central character conflict, Red Planet is a major flop, long on intriguing ideas but short on compelling execution.