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2.8 out of 5 stars
The Last Days on Mars [Blu-ray]
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87 of 108 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2013
A group of astronauts stationed on Mars for six months is nearing their departure deadline. With less than 20 hours to go before lift off, a last minute discovery sends two of the group out to check a possible breakthrough discovery.

Liev Schreiber (X-Men Origins, Salt) plays a claustrophobic astronaut that seems to dread his return trip to Earth. He leads a list of little known actors hampered by heavy space suits and close quarters trying to show some emotion as things on Mars go awry.

I don't write spoilers, reviews that reveal the plot lines of movies. What I am about to write is not a major plot point, not a spoiler, but it is part of the story, so if you want to see this movie and be totally surprised about every aspect, don't read any further.

I am totally over and done with zombies. You know “The Walking Dead”, “28 Days Later” and of course George Romero's “Night of the Living Dead” zombies. There have been literally hundreds of zombie movies. This movie was billed to be about Mars exploration and what happens? Gosh darned zombies again. The astronauts turn into flesh eating zombies. That's not even a very creative plot development for an episode of any Scifi channel movie, let alone a theatrical release feature film.

I wanted to like this movie. I liked the costumes, the designs and the tech. It looked so good at the start. The vehicles and set were as good as Ridley Scott's “Prometheus” for the first several minutes. The science started to fall short during the infection control and decontamination methods. Nobody seemed to be afraid of airborne contamination inside a sealed structure. But even if I suspend reality and try to get into the thrill of the movie, there they are, plain old 1950's concept zombies. Just a well made zombie movie set in space with virtually no stars to keep viewers interested.

Rent it on video on demand if you absolutely love all zombie movies, but don't waste a movie ticket on this one. Rated PG-13 for brief strong language, and a few slightly bloody attack of the zombies scenes. I give “Last Days on Mars” one star, mostly for including zombies in the plotline. The movie starts December 6th in most theaters.
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35 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2013
It's not quite the level quality we've become accustomed at the movies but not as bad as sci-fi Channel original movies, all the actors deliver a solid performance! The script is week never giving us any backstory on the characters. One of the biggest problems with this movie is they just did not have enough money to deliver a set that looked real, make us believe the characters are on Mars, costumes & props department they all did a phenomenal job on a micro budget unfortunately when you don't have money you just can't build a set or a costume that is believable, none of that would've mattered if the script was in gauging, suspenseful or make us want to care about the characters. It's worth seeing just wait 6 months or less and you'll be able see it for a satisfying $0.99.
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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2013
This movie is not like Europa Report or like Moon or Sunshine, all great science fiction films done as small independent movies with a relatively small budget. This film has its flaws namely being the internal conflicts from the mission crew and the lack of any story. I felt like the viewer is thrown in to the middle of a situation without knowing anything that led up to it. I did not expect a lot of action but I felt like it was hard to find any likable character that you actually feel concern about. It reminded me of a twilight zone or outer limits episode and I found the dialogue to contain too much swearing coming from a group of scientists hired to perform tests on Mars. However it did keep my attention thru out the film so I gave it a relatively high rating. I hope to see more from this director in the future.
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54 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2013
I heard about this movie, having connections in Ireland, and was really looking forward to it, and then... it's a zombie movie on Mars, so unoriginal, and Liev Schreiber, well he will help to sell this, as he's a great actor, but had no chance with this story, the story has little plot. Absolute linear horror.

This is not a sc-fi movie, it's a horror movie, and it was horribly bad. On a positive note the sound track by Max Richter is a great atmospheric piece, wasted on this though. This a a movie for the radio.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2014
Despite the many negative reviews of this film, which certainly is no masterpiece, but makes for good viewing, "The Last Days on Mars" is worth a try for those who enjoy sci-fi cinema. Certainly, if they can bear pleasurably with "Red Planet" (2000), they can find "Last Days on Mars" to be at least as enjoyable. Yes, the alien creatures which the earthlings discover (after having found microbial and other lower life forms) are zombie-like Martians and, yes, they do turn their human victims into zombie-like critters when they die and then come back to life as zomboid anthropoids, also with terrific blood-lust, and with the ability to breathe the Martian atmosphere. However, there is much suspense and gripping action to all of this, the ending of it bleak and grim for the space crew. For more clues to the film's action, see the other reviews, especially on the Internet Movie Data Base and on Amazon-U.S.

I would suggest renting rather than buying this on DVD or on Blu-Ray, but, for my own part, anyway, I think that I shall be watching it again sometime in the future. In essence, "The Last Days on Mars" and "Red Planet" both are rather old-style (1950s-like) sci-fi, so far as their respective plots go, but the two movies have a modern look to them, the sets being anything but hokey. Mars itself looks rather like some reddish stretch of Utah's Painted Desert. These two films are not reversions, from the visual standpoint, to "Buck Rogers" and "Flash Gordon" style films of the mid-20th century (which, anyway, will remain belovèd for the sake of their exuberant and boyishly handsome leading actor, Buster Crabbe, of cinematically blessèd memory). For that matter, adding it all up, "Last Days on Mars" is a lot more vigourously worthwhile example of this type of sci-fi movie than such a motion picture, similarly of Martians' sabotage of human visitors, as "Red Planet" (which stars Val Kilmer) these two films alike happen to be.

Since the space crew is portrayed as international, it is not surprising that there is a variety of accents, of Brits, Canadians, and of others whose first language is not English. This can make it difficult at times to understand much of the dialogue and, alas, there are no subtitles on the North American DVD edition viewed (M.O. 1 Pictures DVD-5230), one that is distributed here in Québec, to aid comprehension. Other North American editions, however, do have subtitles, such as the one to which this review is being posted. However, I would say that this film is worth the time spent viewing it, despite the cavils. Judging "The Last Days on Mars" upon its own terms, rather than from the bias of some pre-existing sci-fi aesthetic, this motion picture really is rather good stuff. At least, it is good enough to take one's time enjoyably to view it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The plot may not be all that original, but I think The Last Days on Mars is a showcase of excellent science fiction filmmaking. This is the type of science fiction movie I keep looking for but rarely find, and I enjoyed every minute of it. The colonization of Mars is such a fascinating subject in and of itself, but man’s struggle to survive in such an alien environment ratchets up by several factors when the mission is threatened with catastrophic failure. I just wish we could stop having to imagine what might happen on Mars – but man’s long-overdue journey to Mars looks like it may not happen in my lifetime, and that’s a bitter disappointment.

So it’s 2040-something, and eight astronauts are just wrapping up a six-month mission on the surface of Mars. All but the two main scientists have had all they want of the Red Planet and can’t wait for the arrival of the spacecraft Aurora to pick them up. It would seem that the folks back at the International Space Commission (or whatever it was called) could have done a little more in the way of psychological testing, though. Kim Aldrich, upset that she has failed to find any signs of life, is a real queen you-know-what who pisses everyone else off continually. Unlike Kim, scientist Marko Petrovic keeps his thoughts to himself. He makes up an excuse for one last outside mission in an attempt to hide his own discovery of a bacterial lifeform on Mars, and that sets a whole series of events in motion. The team leader’s a good man, but he won’t assert himself or make snap decisions on his own. The psychologist in the group is pretty useless to begin with and becomes even more so when things turn ugly. The only two people with solid and dependable characters are Rebecca Lane and Vincent Campbell (although even Vincent sometimes struggles with claustrophobia). Live Schreiber really makes this movie his own with his understated portrayal of Vincent. He is the only character who always thinks clearly and consistently acts to save himself and his crewmates from what becomes the most unimaginable of dangers.

Those who dismiss this as a horror movie do the film a disservice. Certainly, there is a strong element of horror on display here – and a somewhat clichéd horror at that – but The Last Days on Mars is first and foremost a science fiction film. The mission itself is all about the search for signs of life on a sister planet and man’s commitment to scientific discovery and progress. I really don’t understand how some viewers can say the film has no real plot or purpose. These are human beings struggling to survive and make it home to their loved ones. You’ve got the innate human struggle to survive in an alien environment, the psychological effects of unimaginable stress on characters who are supposed to be of the most sound of minds, and the complexity of interrelationships changing in the most trying of circumstances. It all adds up to a fantastic movie, in my opinion.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The movie was not awful nor bad. it was not too boring and action did not make me wait. While there are some movie mistakes like where people seem to walk fast and step strong as if it was on our planet, and some questionable scenes, I found the plot to be quite interesting and good because it's different. Sure the walking dead people is one of those questionable things about the movie, it may not seem realistical, but I didn't care. It was interesting to see somethign new and different. it wasn't a stupid plot. Sure infected people may remind of zombies, but they are not zombies, they act different. While the movie is far from great it is worth watching. I didn't find characters interesting, yet the story, the red planet, it just all that matterred to me. I liked it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I honesty don’t feel like writing a review for The Last Days On Mars, but I’m compelled to do so because the reviews on Amazon.com are so negative. There’s the ego aspect – where it becomes a matter of why anyone would care what I say about this movie. And then there’s the aspect of sharing a movie and hoping someone else sees it and enjoys a small gem that they might have otherwise missed. That’s why we’re here. I have recently seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier and really enjoyed it, but you don’t need a review from me to go see it. Everyone is going to see it — anyone with a passing interest in the superhero resurgence will…go…see…it. The Last Days On Mars deserves a push. I wish there was a rating between 3 and 4 stars.

Marred Mars Mission

The plot involves a crew sent to Mars in search of life. It’s literally their last day on Mars when a sensor lead leads a history-grabbing team member to make a last-ditch effort to secure his place in history by recording the find first. The site is compromised and his infection sets off the major arc of the movie. As every reviewer has documented; this is essentially a zombie movie that takes place on Mars. As I stated in my review of Apollo 18, the hostile environment adds a new dimension to the perils that this crew must overcome in order to return home. It’s a crew on the brink versus an infected zombie force- verse the dangers of planetary exploration – you know, lack of breathable atmosphere and stuffs.

Ruairi Robinson (who I am not familiar with) directs Liev Schreiber (Sabertooth in X-Men Origins Wolverine and Ray Donovan, the TV series) as astronaut Vincent Cambell – he alone holds this movie together with his acting abilities and as the most fleshed out character. Some of the others have that writer’s crutch of a character that behaves, in a way, out of line with their supposed job title. Prometheus suffers the same fate as you ask “Would a [insert the thing you are supposedly trained to do] act this way?” So a few points are lost as you scream at the screen You Idiot! followed by Serves you right! I mean, it’s a common plot-device to portray characters – so that you are okay with their deaths. They almost deserve it for being so stupid and making such dumb decisions. Maybe that’s okay for the horny teens or the inquisitive homeowner who hears a bump in the night, but for astronauts to slip up- it’s a tough sell. I mean, it’s what you were sent there for, why you trippin?

Mars in Motion Emotion

Despite that, there are a few emotionally gripping scenes where all the parts fit together nicely. It’s the music, plus the mayhem captured in a moment that makes this movie worth the memory. The soundtrack is used to solid effect as the backdrop support rises to epic proportions along with the climactic confrontations. Although I enjoyed this movie, it does suffer from not going hard in any direction. It’s not really about Mars-zombies so if you want to see the shambling-mumbling-brains, you’ll be disappointed. If you want the hard science of space operations and a realistic depiction of Mars exploration, well yeah, you’ll fall short. Well, what’s the big idea then? I don’t think there is one. There isn’t any big reveal like the end of Mission To Mars. There isn’t a single morality-heavy speech made by a character that underlies the thing you’re supposed to be taking home after the credits roll. Yes, we went to Mars in search of life, found it and things didn’t quite work out as we expected. Be careful: you may find what you are looking for. That’s the moral of the story.

If you can enjoy a sci-fi tale with a simple presentation, give The Last Days On Mars a chance. If you must have extremes to be satisfied, then I suggest flicks that put the zombies on the poster. This one had astronauts and that scene was pretty meaningful. I’m not a movie critic, I just critique movies.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2014
It wasn't horrible. I appreciate that it wasn't one of those movies that had a rahrah everything will work out feel to it!

There are some harsh reviews of the movie. It wasn't all that bad. It is a bit slow a times. I would put it above Ghosts of Mars, but below Red Planet.

Really not the best out there, but its seriously not the worst space disaster movie out there. i will agree with one critic on Amazon. There was definitely information you were left wanting, and information they gave you that seemed odd and inconsequential.

My only real complaint about the actual scripting was that it seemed to me that the failures of the human condition were over exaggerated. I know the writer was going for the whole stuck with a small group of people and the tensions and stresses that causes, but with all the research that goes into assembling a group of personalities and psych evaluations any astronaut needs to go through, I felt the childish bickering was a bit over the top.

There was also a complete disregard for any safety protocols when something goes awry. Lets just open the doors to the base when our companions are acting oddly and not quarantine them in the airlock until they answer or the rest of our team get back. lets not even make a visual confirmation that the missing members of our team are not ill. I mean we just discovered a life form on Mars, a bacterial life form. It was apparent that the crew had no idea about infection. Which would seem odd for a bunch of genius exo-biologists and space pros!

If you can ignore that, the movie isn't so bad! I did like that the end wasn't typically predictable about who gets out! I do think that the psychology of the astronauts after things start going pear shaped was well done.

Like I said, some glaring issues, but not bad. Suspend your disbelief and its a decent time killer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2014
Unexpectedly good sci-fi/horror movie! The acting is superb. Great cast here. The depiction of life on Mars seems accurate. It's a tenuous and tense lifestyle to begin with, then a scientist discovers life. Uh oh. The astronauts are about to be picked up (rescued, in my opinion) from a malfunctioning research station when all hell breaks loose. So there is a nice time crunch involved that adds a lot of tension to the film.

Think of this movie as a more intelligent Ghosts of Mars. I don't want to spoil anything, but some reviewers are onto something when they say this movie suddenly turns into zombies in space. But instead of becoming an action movie, this film becomes a more realistic survival horror experience.

The end will upset some and poke at the brains of others. It leaves the future open to a couple possibilities.

Very good film. Stick with it. Not worth buying, but definitely worth seeing. Especially if you love science fiction or zombie horror.
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