Princess of Mars
|Princess of Mars|
|Directed by||Mark Atkins|
|Produced by||David Michael Latt
|Written by||Mark Atkins|
|Based on||A Princess of Mars
by Edgar Rice Burroughs (uncredited)
|Starring||Antonio Sabato, Jr.
|Distributed by||The Asylum|
Princess of Mars (retitled and re-released in 2012 as John Carter of Mars) is a 2009 direct-to-DVD science fiction film made by American independent studio The Asylum, loosely based on the 1917 novel A Princess of Mars by author Edgar Rice Burroughs. The film's promotional art makes mention of how the original story inspired some elements of James Cameron's Avatar but the credits or promotional material of the film do not mention Edgar Rice Burroughs. It is not to be confused with the higher-budget 2012 film John Carter, which is also an adaptation of the novel. In Europe, the film was released with the title The Martian Colony Wars.
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, here depicted outside our solar system. On this world, Carter exhibits the ability to leap amazing distances. Initially enslaved and held against his will on a chain and collar 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, take 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 re-activate 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 to return to Barsoom.
- 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
This film makes extensive use of the Vasquez Rocks for its alien landscape, appearing throughout the film as different locations.