Director: Ruairi Robinson.
Starring: Liev Schreiber, Elias Koteas, Romola Garai, Goran Kostic, Johnny Harris, Tom Cullen, Yusra Warsama, Olivia Williams.
Running Time: 98 minutes.
Synopsis: A group of astronaut explorers succumb one by one to a mysterious and terrifying force while collecting specimens on Mars.
THE LAST DAYS ON MARS revolves around the first manned mission to the red planet, presumably set sometime in the near future. In literally the final hours of their six-month long mission, a group of astronauts make a groundbreaking discovery: fossilised evidence of bacterial life. Intent on not returning to their home planet empty-handed, the group undertake a rogue mission to collect samples, and all kinds of hell breaks loose as a mysterious presence starts to off them one by one.
Liev Schreiber is currently experiencing somewhat of a career surge. Always a great supporting actor (showing up in the likes of X-MEN ORIGINS, THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE and SALT), Schreiber has seemingly made the transition to strong leading man following an excellent first series run on TV show Ray Donovan, in which he plays the title character. Here he takes the lead in one of his first headlining gigs, amongst a very strong cast of international talent that includes Elias Koteas, Britain’s Olivia Williams, Tom Cullen (Downton Abbey), and Romola Garai, last seen in TV’s The Hour - and previously, and more importantly, DIRTY DANCING: HAVANA NIGHTS.
Here, Schreiber plays Vincent Campbell, an astronaut tasked with holding together a team that is, quite literally, falling apart. You could be forgiven for thinking that THE LAST DAYS ON MARS is looking to gain a little momentum from the success of GRAVITY, and by looking at some of the promotional material and poster art, it certainly seems that way. But this is simply zombies in space with hardly any substance, intrigue or suspense. Williams’ headstrong, dominant female (read: bitch), Kim Aldrich, delivers the strongest performance, saving most of the scenes she’s in and is a total contrast from Schreiber’s grumbling, and for the most part, dull lead.
Irish director Ruairi Robinson’s debut feature is as lifeless as some of its central characters; muddling, bloated, repetitive, and in places as plain, dull and boring as the Mars landscape itself. It’s not a bad movie, but it’s not a good movie either, festering in that muddy grey area you should probably steer clear of.
(2 / 5) THE LAST DAYS OF MARS is released in UK cinemas on Friday 11th April, 2014.