Hollow Man (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
|Yeah, I'm sure you're expecting this to be
a cinema classic, right? Hint: it was directed by Paul
Verhoeven. Think "Showgirls".
Actually, I went to see it with my kids, and we all kind of enjoyed it on a brainless summer blockbuster level, although a bad sign is that the kids thought it was kind of dumb. This is a leading indicator of true dumbness, because they're impressed with the sophistication of The Smurfs. To them, Papa Smurf is like Peter Ustinov, so when they think something is dumb, it must really be obvious.
your expectations generated by the title, this is not a
biography of John Tesh, but rather yet another version of
The Invisible Man. Possibly with a bit of autobiography
of director Paul Verhoeven, since invisibility was his
fondest wish after he read the reviews of Showgirls.
The plot is the usual mad scientist crap. The research is ready to test on humans, so the mad scientist decides to test it on himself. And he doesn't tell the congressional oversight committee that he is ready for that stage.
Then he delivers such classic lines as "they say I'm mad, but I'll show them, I'll show them all. Mua-ha-ha-ha".
this isn't from the movie but is an actual quote from
Verhoeven's life, when he was discussing his decision to
make a gazillion dollar movie starring Elizabeth Berkley.
Anyway, then the scientist/girlfriend says "be
afraid, be very afraid". Then they muse about what
might have happened if he had used his genius for good
instead of evil, and whether man is meant to challenge
God. You get the point. The usual horror cliches. In
fact, if you have seen "The Fly", you've pretty
much seen this, except for the invisibility special
Amazingly enough, all the scientists in this film, good or bad, drive very expensive automobiles and live in luxury, and are uniformly handsome and in great physical condition, despite spending 22 hours per day with their test tubes.
Kevin Bacon apparently has discovered the Fountain of Youth as well as the invisibility serum, because he looks about the same as he did in Animal House 30 years ago. The serum makes Bacon a for-real mad scientist, so he gains deranged murderous impulses to go with his previous God complex, and he was already a big Freudian mess to begin with. Then the invisibility thing gives him absolute power, and he gets even crazier, and starts raping and killing and pillaging small Eastern European villages, and refusing to share his plunder with his fellow invisible freebooters.
But I'm sure you know that in the end the handsome good scientists triumph over the handsome evil scientist, and they escape the flaming underground bunker through an elevator shaft. The runaway elevator stops three inches from their heads, the dead mad scientist is not really dead yet ... thereby adding the usual action cliches to the horror cliches. They did forget the thunderstorms and the ticking bomb that stops at 0:07, but I'm sure those will be in the sequel.
So what's good about it if it has all those corny cliches? I'll show you. I'll show you all, mua-ha-ha-ha.
|Well, it isn't really
good at all, now that I think about it. I mean you won't
confuse it with "Henry V". But it does have
Rhona Mitra and Kim Dickens showing their breasts (Bacon
slips off Dickens' blouse when she sleeps, and he peeks
in on Mitra)
I think the reason I liked it a little bit was the fast pace of the opening (which slowed considerably in the middle), and the f/x. And the breasts, don't forget those.
And it does have some absolutely great invisibility effects. The Apollo reviewer led with, "Hollow Man is a tragic waste of brilliantly realized visual effects". Berardinelli wrote , "(a) masterpiece of visual ingenuity sadly lacking in many other creative categories". That about sums it up. The best effect, by far, is the one with the bodies appearing and disappearing on the operating table as the visibility or invisibility potions take effect. Very cool stuff, just like those "visible man" things you can buy your kids to help them understand biology. Unfortunately, the filmmakers liked this device so much they repeated it about 1200 times, and I got the point after number 2. But it's must viewing if you have an anatomy final coming up.
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