Mars (1998)

Nomination Year: 2010
SYNOPSIS:  Olivier Gruner is one of those Smithee actors who could totally kick any of our asses. He's an ex-commando Marine in the French special forces. He's a former professional kickboxer. He is, in all fairness, not a bad actor.

He's just been in some bad movies.

In a perfect world, this would be a thought-provoking movie about the political and class struggle between the lower-class mine workers and the profit-minded corporate bosses. Parallels would be drawn between the exploitation of the mineral resources of Mars and the environmental impact of fossil fuels. Hard decisions would need to be made, and no one would come out entirely unsullied by compromise, greed or self-interest.

In a perfect world, this movie wouldn't suck.

Instead of class struggles, you get martial arts. Instead of politics, you get a movie with practically no sympathetic characters at all. Instead of a thought provoking commentary on greed, you get Olivier Gruner on Mars.

Olivier Gruner is a "Keeper" named Caution Templar. Basically, he's a corporate security agent for the mining company that is extracting the new future fuel "Silex" from the mines of Mars. He's gone to Mars to investigate the death of his younger brother.

Keepers are trained from infancy to be emotionless investigators and, when necessary, killing machines. Caution's brother failed to live up to these standards and, as a result, got emotionally involved with a drug-addicted stripper / prostitute and had a kid.

When the kid was born, it was horribly deformed, and he discovered that the amazing new super-fuel Silex wasn't as safe as the corporation and government had promised. The corporation found out about this and had him killed before he could warn Earth about the dangers of Silex.

While investigating the death, Caution Templar meets up with an annoying pickpocket sidekick, a tough female doctor and a Martian desert hermit named Pete who has the most outrageously bad fake Irish accent I've heard in a long time. He beats a lot of people up; eventually throwing the corporate VP in charge of Mars out of a window in a terrible CGI special effect.

Somehow, this solves everybody's problems and the Martian mining colony is evacuated. The End.

According to IMDB, the budget for this movie was roughly $1 million. The movie was shot an abandoned shopping mall. Most of the places you see in the film are converted retail stores like Gap or Foot Locker. The surface of Mars is a truckload of sand that someone dumped in the food court and dyed red. Also, if you look closely at the costumes, you'll notice that the futuristic breathing equipment is made from pool toys that were spray-painted black.

Smithee Award Winner! "Whoops!"

Too tame for Jerry Springer, even set on Mars.
Keep an eye on the annoying guy whose nose Olivier bloodies -- said nose-blood appears and disappears like a bikini-clan woman in a Vegas lounge act.

Actors/Directors of Note
Actor Claim to Fame
Olivier Gruner  
Shari Belafonte daughter of calypso singer Harry Belafonte 
Alex Hyde-White Son of Wilfrid Hyde-White ("Pickering" in My Fair Lady and "Dr. Goodfellow" on Buck Rogers
Scott Valentine  
Lindsey Ginter  
Lee de Broux  
Nils Allen Stewart  
Director Claim to Fame
Jon Hess  

Matt Quirk

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