Directed by Paul Verhoeven.
Written by Andrew W. Marlowe.
Starring Elizabeth Shue and Kevin Bacon.
Release Year: 2000
Review Date: 8/6/00
Dave Bell, the basketball-playing behemoth
who also doubles as my younger brother, called me up today to see if
I wanted to catch "Hollow Man" for a matinee. Being a loser, I
quickly accepted. As some of you know, I don't do any prep for
movies before I go see them, so I just found out that the director
of "Hollow Man" is Paul Verhoeven.
If you have seen any of the following, you
may be familiar with Verhoeven's work: "Robocop," "Basic Instinct,"
"Total Recall," "Starship Troopers," "Showgirls." What's the common
theme here? Gratuitous, and I mean, *gratuitous*, sex and
violence. His movies are so loud, bloody and bare breast-filled
that they are often studied in those debates about what is going
wrong with America and things like that. "Hollow Man"--although it
looks like just a run-of-the-mill thriller in its previews--has way
too much bleeding for a movie that starts with such promise and
degenerates into a C-grade slasher ripoff.
Kevin Bacon plays Sebastian Caine, a badass
DNA genius that drives a Porsche, eats Twinkies, and is running a
four-year-old Pentagon-funded science project which is trying to
produce a serum that can make an animal or human being invisible to
the human eye. After getting the serum to work on a gorilla, Caine
decides to use it on himself to test whether or not the drug can be
used on human beings. Assisting him on the team are six other
folks, including former lover Linda McKay (Elisabeth Shue) and her
new boyfriend, Matt (Josh Brolin), the latter two suspecting the
whole way that something is fishy about the way Caine is going about
his business. Naturally, Caine takes advantage of his newfound
abilities and terrorizes some folks in the outside world before
eventually attempting to take out the team of scientists in
I thought the idea was really cool for this
movie, and when Caine does leave the lab without permission and
walks around the streets of Washington, DC unnoticed, the concept of
being able to move freely about the earth without anyone seeing you
was kind of cool. But, the writers only include two scenes like
this; the rest of the movie either sets up Caine's motivations for
going through with the procedure, or with Caine eventually going
loco and going postal on his former team members. If this movie had
just spent its time exploring what it would really be like to walk
around DC while no one could see you, I thought it would have been
And, the special effects help make that
happen, with the effects clearly being the best part of the film.
Even for all of the movies that I see, I am still amazed at how far
things have come in the great history of film. Have you seen "The
Invisible Man?" The effects in that movie compared to "Hollow Man"
are now, sadly, laughable. Bacon himself only appears in the first
30 minutes of the movie, with the rest of it spent watching a
Bacon-like person wearing a rubber mask with holes in it...and,
amazingly, the shape of the mask around his character's head looks
almost exactly like bacon wearing it. The explosions and the
visuals are big plusses here.
But, by-the-book foreshadowing (Brolin's
character from the get-go has horrible aim; do you think THAT will
be a factor in the ending?), extremely poor character support by the
actors not in the main trio and an ending that rivals the conclusion
of "What Lies Beneath" in its sheer length and
you-think-I'm-dead-but-not-quite-yet-ness make for a movie that is
up and down throughout. It has a decent number of scares but not
enough to qualify as a horror movie; sporadic comedic touches leave
comedy out of the question; its sense of adventure goes out the
window once Caine comes back to the lab. Very uneven, but you do
get some cool visual effects and a ridiculously-huge 30-second
explosion at the end.
Of course, if you don't like explosions,
skip this one altogether.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard