THE MARTIAN (12A), 141 mins.

THE cavalry has saved many a cowboy and assorted heroes trapped behind enemy lines.

But racing from planet earth to Mars is an altogether more challenging task, even if the person waiting for rescue is hunky Matt Damon.

Astronaut Mark Watney is part of a manned mission to the red plant. He is separated and presumed dead.

However, ingenious Watney has survived and finds himself stranded on the hostile planet.

His colleagues have blasted back to earth on their spaceship, and with only meagre supplies, he must draw upon his wit and spirit to subsist and signal that he is alive.

Director Ridley Scott, who memorably ventured into space with the sci-fi thriller Alien, blasts off for the red planet in this contemplative drama, based on the novel by Andy Weir.

The remaining five members of the crew – Chris Beck (Sebastian Stan), Beth Johanssen (Kate Mara), Melissa Lewis (Jessica Chastain), Rick Martinez (Michael Pena) and Aleks Vogel (Aksel Hennie) – are distraught when they return to Nasa mission control.

But Matt transmits a distress call and attempts to tame the elements on his new home, conscious that it will take weeks for a rescue mission to return to the red planet.

When NASA administrator Teddy Sanders (Jeff Daniels) learns that Watney is still alive, he joins forces with the world’s best scientific minds to let Matt know that he is not alone and the cavalry is coming.