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Hollow Man
2000 - R - NA Mins.
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Producer: Alan Marshall, Douglas Wick
Written By: Andrew W. Marlowe, Andrew Marlowe
Starring: Kevin Bacon, Elisabeth Shue, Kim Dickens, Joey Slotnick, Mary Randle
Review by: David Trier
   
This is a bad movie. Serves me right paying to see a Paul Verhoeven flick after he brought us such celluloid jokes as Starship Troopers and Showgirls. But I thought, with strong actors like Kevin Bacon and Josh Brolin and a chance for some cool special effects, maybe it stands a chance. I was wrong.

Kevin Bacon plays an arrogant scientist whose team, with military funding, has developed a drug that makes animals invisible. When he finally figures out how to make them visible again he goes under the treatment himself. Fellow scientists, Elisabeth Shue (his ex-girlfriend) and Josh Brolin (the guy she's schtuping), as well as a "nerd," a "black woman," a "fat guy," and an "animal lover (female veterinarian)" make up the team. When complications arise in trying to bring him back, Bacon almost immediately goes psycho about being invisible. First he rapes his neighbor, then one by one, he picks off the stock characters who might get in the way of him being invisible forever. People get hit on the head a lot and blood flows pretty generously. Brolin suffers a massive crowbar wound to the gut which miraculously stops hurting in time for the showdown. After Shue and Brolin (the only remaining) almost kill him about ten times (without ever double checking), they finally freaking destroy him and walk off into the end credits.

Kevin Bacon, who is normally an excellent actor (Murder in the First and Stir of Echoes, for example), doesn't give a very good performance this time around. He's visible for at least the first third of the movie and he just doesn't seem to be relaxed. Elisabeth Shue may have once played a good prostitute (Leaving Las Vegas), but her performance here consists merely of indication, eye batting, and excuse-me giggles. Brolin, who is at least as good as Bacon (see Nightwatch and It's The Rage), jumps back and forth from playing a wimp to being Superman, both a little half-heartedly. In all of their defense, the dialogue is unspeakable and the characters are poorly defined. Bacon's is unlikeable to begin with and then quickly becomes murderous, Shue's is little more than, forgive me, a dumb slut, and Brolin's keeps getting hurt all the time. None of them are believable as scientists. Other more minor problems with the film include the fact that each death is ridiculously predictable (minorities and the obese first!) and the movie completely trivializes animal torture. The special effects are pretty entertaining, even though they are too noticeably CGI. The title and the previews suggested that "Hollow Man" might touch upon the complex science of why we treat people different when we're feeling "empty" inside. But no.

Now I know sci-fi/horror flicks require a huge suspension of dibelief so it isn't fair to complain about the science of the film. But there is an exception to this rule. If the film is confident (or pompous) enough to bring up a scientific problem and discuss it, then it must be held accountable. When Bacon goes invisible in this film he insists that the lights be turned down because it hurts his eyes. Shue explains that this is because his eyelids are transparent. OK. Here goes... Isn't all of him transparent? Doesn't light just go through him? How can he see at all?!
 
Movie Guru Rating
Disappointing.  Had the right ingredients and should have been better. Disappointing.  Had the right ingredients and should have been better.
  2 out of 5 stars

 
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