PRINCESS OF MARS (2009) Reviews and free to watch online

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Princess of Mars is a 2009 American science fiction fantasy film about a wounded US soldier who is teleported to the planet Barsoom; there, he faces hostile aliens and fights for his survival.

Written and directed by Mark Atkins (6-Headed Shark AttackEmpire of the SharksPlanet of the SharksSand Sharks; et al) loosely based on the 1917 novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

The Asylum production stars Antonio Sabato Jr, Traci Lords, Matt Lasky, Chacko Vadaketh, Mitchell Gordon, Noelle Perris and Matt Lagan.


“For the first hour, I thought this might be one of the best Asylum films I’ve seen. I know that’s not saying much, but still. It felt like a classic Steve Reeves Hercules film, and it was a lot of fun. Then we get to the lizard people’s castle, and their leader has a bunch of human women with their eyes gouged out and eyelids stitched over. What? Weird weird weird.” Direct to Video Connoisseur

“The movie is also erratically paced featuring fits of mad paced CGI action followed by lulls of sorrow dullness of absolutely nothing of any significance going on before us. While I wouldn’t call Traci Lords a bad actress her entire interpretation of the character of Dejah Thoris seemed to be narrow eyebrows and pursed lips indicating concern.” Film Critics United

“Stuff happens between huffing and puffing characters, but there’s the usual lack of credible action, watchable effects or decent acting. At 41, Lords is a little too matronly for the Princess Leia slave-girl outfit and looks sulky throughout […] There’s something dispiriting about how ugly these Asylum films look…” The Kim Newman Web Page

“The plot is stupid and is bogged down so much nonsensical crap […] the special effects are bad, the acting is bad and Traci Lords is not worth the price of ‘admission.’ There are some unintentional laughs to be had here, but not enough for me to watch this again. You may disagree.” Mondo Bizarro

“What is surprising is that, though produced on one of The Asylum’s characteristically impoverished budgets, Princess of Mars emerges as halfway reasonable […] The visual effects are better than might be expected. They are far more competent than is usually the case for The Asylum’s films. The giant spiders and Thoats are reasonably convincing.” Moria

“The acting is rotten and at 42 Lords is way past her sell-by date as a believable Martian princess in need of rescue. (She instead reminds one of an embarrassing aunt who still wears the same trashy outfits she did as a teen.) The special effects and makeup are rubbish (no one even bothered hiding the fact that the actors are wearing cheap rubber masks).” Sci-Fi Movie Page


“Sure, it’s low budget, but they at least used their meager finances wisely and spread the cash around where it was actually needed. The CGI is pretty good and the art direction gives the film the look of an 80s Roger Corman movie. The flick has its faults to be sure. It runs on a bit long, suffers from a weak villain…” The Video Vacuum

In the UK, the film was released as The Martian Colony Wars.

Retitled and re-released in 2012 as John Carter of Mars. Rent or buy via Amazon Prime

Plot [contains spoilers]:
John Carter (Antonio Sabato, Jr) is a modern-day U.S. Army sniper serving in Afghanistan, wounded in the line of duty and used in a teleportation experiment wherein he is transferred to Barsoom, a planet outside of Earth’s solar system, where he exhibits the ability to leap amazing distances.

Initially enslaved by the Tharks, he earns a rank among them and later saves a rival group’s princess, the human-looking Dejah Thoris (Traci Lords), from death.

The group of Tharks, led by Tars Tarkas, takes Carter to their leader Tal Hajus, guarded by Tars Tarkas’ daughter Sola. Learning that Tarkas gave Carter a military rank only Hajus can give, Tarkas and Carter are forced to duel.

Upon winning, Carter faces Sarka, an Afghan mercenary who had betrayed him. When Sarka escapes, Carter helps Tarkas kill Hajus and become the new leader of the Tharks.

Captain Carter then learns that Dejah Thoris has fled to the planetary air-cleaning station that keeps Barsoom habitable, which Sarka damages, causing the atmosphere to deteriorate. John Carter and Sarka face each other in a duel, but Sarka is killed by an insect during the fight.

After Carter and Dejah Thoris reactivate the station, Carter is returned to Earth, where he declines to tell his superiors about his adventures for fear they will colonize Barsoom, and returns to military duties while hoping one day to return to the planet.



Cast and characters:
Antonio Sabato Jr … John Carter
Traci Lords … Dejah Thoris
Matt Lasky … Tars Tarkas
Chacko Vadaketh … Sarka/Sab Than
Mitchell Gordon … Tal Hajus
Noelle Perris … Sola
Matt Lagan … Kantos Kan
Kimberly Ables Jindra … Saroh Kan
Tomas Boykin … Cornwell Sams
Rob Ullett … Hudson
Dean Kreyling … Atol Nard
Mohammad Kavianpour … Hosan
Jay Beyers … Thark Gordack
Ali Tagi Alexander … Jamal
Jonathan Footman … Thark
Jordan Steele … Thark

Filming locations:
Bronson Cave and Canyon, Los Angeles, California
Vasquez Rocks, Sierra Pelona, Los Angeles County, California


Film facts:
The film’s promotional art mentioned how the original story inspired some elements of James Cameron’s 2009 film Avatar, but neither the credits nor promo material mention Edgar Rice Burroughs.

This low-budget film should not be confused with the massive budget 2012 film John Carter, which was also an adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel ‘A Princess of Mars’.


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