In 2056 AD, Earth is in ecologic crisis as a consequence of pollution and overpopulation. Meanwhile, automated interplanetary missions have been seeding Mars with atmosphere-producing algae for twenty years as the first stage in terraforming the planet. When the oxygen quantity produced by the algae is inexplicably reduced, the crew of Mars-1 investigates, and must continue the mission of terraforming the planet for human colonization.
The team is composed of Quinn Burchenal (Tom Sizemore), an agnostic geneticist, Bud Chantillas (Terence Stamp), an aging philosophical scientist and surgeon, systems engineer and “space janitor” Robby Gallagher (Val Kilmer), and beautiful, but no-nonsense commander, Kate Bowman (Carrie-Anne Moss). Also on board are arrogant pilot Ted Santen (Benjamin Bratt) and terraforming scientist Chip Pettengill (Simon Baker).
Shortly after a harrowing landing, the mission’s astronauts and scientists encounter a deadly predicament that requires a race against time and diminishing oxygen.
“Red Planet would have been a great 1950s science fiction film. It embodies the kind of nuts-and-bolts sci-fi championed by John W. Campbell Jr. in his Astounding magazine…What pleased me, however, was the nature of the situation they find on Mars. The movie’s ads seem to suggest Bug-Eyed Monsters of some sort, but the actual story developments are more ingenious and reasonable.”
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times