Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Mars movie review - Red Faction: Origins (2011)

Red Faction Origins movie poster
Red Faction: Origins (2011) is a TV movie set in the universe of Red Faction computer game series. It details the events between Red Faction: Guerrilla and Red Faction: Armageddon on terraformed Mars of mid-22nd century. It's one of the latest movies depicting human colonies on Mars.


The story of Red Faction series is tied around the freedom fights of human colonists on Mars against an oppressive rule of Earth-based corporation - the plot line often used in Mars fiction. The main hero of the movie is Jake Mason - the son of the famous leader of Mars resistance force (called "Red Faction") - Alec Mason - who has led the revolutionists towards the victory against Earth Defense Force (EDF) 25 years ago in Red Faction: Guerrilla. The victory hasn't brought a prosperity to the Mars colonies and colonists are living in quite poor conditions. The inhabited area of Mars is split by colonists and the marauders - a militant group of savage outcasts - and the relations between those two groups are getting more and more tense.

Between the events of Guerrilla and Origins the mother of Jake Mason (the wife of Alec Mason) is killed by a group of mysterious white soldiers and his sister Lyra is kidnapped by them. The blame is on the marauders. After this tragedy the war hero has become a lone wandering drunk but his son a soldier in the army of colonists.

When an old, abandoned EDF battleship crushes somewhere between colonist and marauder territories Jake is sent to investigate. His team finds out the valuable reactor core of that ship is being seized by the mysterious white soldiers and one of them is his long-missing sister. He decides to find her and the base of those white soldiers. That mission brings him deep into marauder territory and eventually he befriends two of them. He founds out the location of the white soldier base and goes in, finding his sister and the killer of his mother. Turns out the white soldiers are a saboteur unit of EDF and their base is nothing less than a fully armed battleship.

As the memory of his sister is wiped out, she is not friendly, so Jake takes a shuttle to warn the colonists about the EDF threat. The EDF battleship is quickly launched in hidden attack position for its attack to look like a marauder one. Colonist capital is bombed and in the result they are preparing for a response attack on marauders. Jake and his father Alec are flying back to the EDF battleship and finally convinces Lyra that she has been living in a lie. Meanwhile the EDF battleship is turned against a terraformation unit. If it will be destroyed all the colonists and marauders on that area of Mars will quickly suffocate to the death so Alec is making his last heroic deed and crashes kamikaze-style into the battleship blowing it up. Now he is remembered as a double hero and a peace is made between the colonists and marauders.

Verdict: 6/10

If the best Mars movie - Total Recall - would be about 1 point short of being "the ideal Mars movie", Red Faction: Origins is 3 points bellow that quality level because of these drawbacks:
  • the setting of the movie looks more like some mix of soviet Siberia and futuristic wild West than believable colonies on terraformed Mars. Also it's hardly believable for terraformation of Mars to be in such a final stage (they can freely travel around Mars without wearing any kind of mask or suit) as fast as by the mid-22nd century;
  • the sequences of the movie are not well-connected with important explanation missing in between. For example how a bunch of average marauders could enter an obviously super-high security EDF base;
  • the "good guys" seems to be too lucky and too overpowered with the "bad guys" acting as clumsy inapts. For example two average marauders can kill a large group of well trained EDF soldiers with ease. It doesn't look very believable.


Red Faction Origins Mars cityRed Faction Origins Mars shuttle

Red Faction Origins streetview in a Mars cityRed Faction Origins briefing before mission Mars

Red Faction Origins faction territories on MarsRed Faction Origins Mars shuttle

Red Faction Origins Mars canyonRed Faction Origins Mars ship

Red Faction Origins battleship in Mars canyonRed Faction Origins ruined Mars city

My reviews of Red Faction series:

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