Pros: Antonio Sabato Jr. is naked. It has Porn Queen Traci Lords.
Cons: They don't actually show anything. At all. And everything else.
Princess of Mars (2009) Written and Directed by Mark Atkins
"What is wrong with you Tharks? Don't you have Reality TV?" John Carter.
The Asylum is one of those low budget schlock mills that turn out movies that go straight to DVD in order to exploit more popular titles; like the immortal Transmorphers, or the unforgettable The Terminators. You see the strategy, right?
Now, Pixar is making their first live action movie; John Carter of Mars, based on the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs, due out in 2012. Well, why wait? You can catch Princess of Mars, Right Now!
We could go into the reasons to wait all night; the cheesy costumes, the aliens who are one, created for about $20 each, and two, are missing two arms each, the set that looks suspiciously like the same place Captain Kirk fought the Gorn, and the air processing plant that looks a lot like a steam power station. If they had really wanted to make sure their rip off would make money, when they had John Carter jumping around naked, they should have used a full body shot. That might have made it worth it. Maybe.
The plot, such as it is...
John Carter (Antonio Sabato Jr.) is a special ops sniper who is hurt in Afghanistan. The military uses his tattered body to complete an experiment in teleportation, sending him to the fourth planet of Alpha Centauri called Mars 216, for reasons I can't fathom. Anyhoo, he arrives naked and healed, is captured by the Tharks, a reptilian/insectoid race featuring tusks. He earns the respect of Tars Tarkas, a commander in their ranks when he helps defend them from a pack of spiders.
The Tharks are at hostilities with the humanoid Martians. So when an airship goes by carrying Dejah Thoris, Princess of Mars (Traci Lords) the Tharks try to take it. And this leaves John Carter in a difficult position; he has built a relationship with Tars Tarkas, but Dejah Thoris is close to his own species, and hot. Now, JC has to figure out how to get Dejah out of prison, and tone down the hostilities between Tharks and humans.
Given that it is a schlock fest, this movie has a few things going for it. First and foremost, Antonio Sabato Jr. He started his career as an underwear model, and he could still do it today. He is not the world's greatest actor, but he's no Steven Segal, and he's fun to look at. Second, it has some recognizable scraps of Burroughs' original stories. ERB was a master at pulp fiction, with a fast pace, and a slightly lurid plot line geared to ensnare the ADHD adolescent male, full of exotic menace and even more exotic promise (which is where Traci Lords comes in).
Traci Lords is a woman with poor timing. Her porn career was stellar, but is now illegal, because she was underage. Now she is in a swords and laser harem outfit, and while she is still in great shape for a woman her age, notice I use the words, for a woman her age. Also, she should avoid roles that require scowling; she looks older when she scowls, and Dejah scowls a lot. However, she still has her moves from her early career, and like I said, there has to be some exotic promise for our hero.
That said, don't think for a second I am saying there was anything good about this movie; just that it is better than much of the stuff The Asylum puts out. But if you want a schlocky good fun movie to sit and drink beer and make fun of, this is just the ticket. Pass the popcorn, and hand me a cold one.
Lean-N-Mean (625) 1st