Hollow Man
HOLLOW MAN. 2000
Director: Paul Verhoeven

HOLLOW MAN II. 2006
Director: Claudio Faeh

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



Hollow ManThe script for Hollow Man is wildly illogical. For example: in one scene we're told the guy has been invisible longer than any of the animals & all the animals went nuts, but the innocuous dog he later slaughtered out of sheer meanness was invisible longer & never went nuts.

The message of the film is "If guys were invisible, they'd rape & kill because that's what guys like to do."

The script does lip-service to the idea (borrowed from H. G. Wells' original) that the invisibility process itself induces psychosis, but in fact Kevin Bacon's repulsive character was just as repulsive before he was invisible, so the change was only a matter of degree.

And the second male lead, Dean Cain the guy who was so cute as Clark Kent on Lois & Clark, man he's aging badly. He looks like Pierce Brosnin's ugly younger brother. So not only an ugly uninteresting movie, but the cast was ugly & uninteresting too.

Hollow ManOh, & the choice of music on the soundtrack sucked. It was amateur enough I wondered if Kevin Bacon & his brother did it themselves, they have a totally crappy band together. But I forgot to read the credits at the end, because who cares who helped make this such a big dud.

Some of the special effects were neato. Not intelligent or anything like that, but neato. Too bad there was no plot or character to give the neato FX meaning or purpose.

There is a consistent lack of coherence in the film. For a long stretch everyone is trapped in the underground lab with the invisible maniac, but when the place was going to blow up within two minutes, suddenly it was easy to climb out through the roof of the elevator.

Hollow ManThere was no emotion in the film, & I afterward was trying to dredge up any idea, no matter how stupid (to retain the overall context of the film's stupidity) that could've had emotional power. Here's what I come up with:

I'd've made greater use of the discarded gorilla character (all the animals get blown up at the end but the script & sets conveniently forgot about their presence).

Instead of the non-plot of "kill off the characters one by one until only the uninteresting hero & heroine remain," I'd've maimed them both to get their boring asses downgraded in the story, then have the veterinarian & the gorilla save the day.

Now a gorilla misused in laboratory experiments revealing that she had more human decency in her than any of the humans, that'd be emotional manipulation of the richest sort. But "Barbie & Ken survive Psychoman," feh.



Hollow Man 2So, given the mediocrity of Hollow Man with a solid budget, a well-known director, & an A cast, how much better could it be with a smaller budget, a minor director, & (apart from Christian Slater replacing Kevin Bacon) a B cast?

It's not much better, but definitely better. Mediocre acting & minimal storytelling seem a quarter-notch upward for Hollow Man 2 (2006). It's not a good film by any means, but it's impressive that a direct-to-video cheapy is not worse than the bigger film.

Of course, nothing much is expected of a sequel to a lousy film, so it's easier to appreciate small things like the special effect of Invisible Psycho washing blood off his face, or Invisible Psycho dragging the flopping & kicking heroine through the hallway fast as they can go, or Invisible Psycho's bruises showing after he's hit by a car.

The connection to the first film is blessedly tenuous. The bad-idea invisibility project was not shut down until two more guinea pigs arose from the combined corporate & government desire for a perfect assassin.

Set in a version of Seattle completely devoid of Seattle locations, a babe scientist (Laura Regan) is the only one who knows how to make the "buffering agent" to keep the invisibility stable & keep the hollow man from turning into visible cancerous blobby-man allergic to the sun. She's been fired from the cancelled project, though why nobody wants the two guinea pigs to have the buffering agent is never all that clear, as they've only forced them into their present circumstances.

Hollow Man 2The cancerous blobby-man lives underground among the homeless avoiding daylight. He apparently panhandles for batteries, since he text-messages cryptic warnings to the Babe Scientist.

The last experimental subject is played momentarily by Christian Slater but mostly he's not in the film except for voicing the invisible man animation. His name is Michael Griffin, a nod to H. G. Wells' original The Invisible Man whose name was likewise Griffin.

Slater voices the character surprisingly badly. But if addictions & conflicts with the law hadn't eradicated his ability to act during this period of his career, he wouldn't be in so many direct-to-video turds.

Griffin is psycho-killing his way nearer & nearer the Babe Scientist who he'll eventually kidnap & force her to hastily dash together a fresh batch of Instant Buffering Agent. Ha ha on Griffin, the Babe will fix his wagon with a Buggering Agent instead.

Hollow Man 2Two cops, one a Subsidiary Babe (Sarah Deakins), were assigned to protect Babe Scientist. But nobody warned them from what they were protecting her.

So Babe Cop gets killed by the crazy hollow man, & the other cop (Peter Facinelli) though ordered off the case goes on an unofficial rampage to get revenge while being the only one who actually wants to protect Babe Scientist.

Plot-wise, it is all pretty much par for the course but at least it's more than the first film's standard slasher recipe. Our hero cop will eventually have to sacrifice himself with the irreversible invisibility serum which shouldn't make the villain any easier to find, jump on, & beat up, but it does. The climactic FX scene is Hollow Man vs Hollow Man kung fu fighting in the rain.

After the invisible fisticuffs, the story winds down undramatically. Obviously someone wants this to be a franchise since we are left without much knowledge of what will happen to Invisible Cop who's going to need the same Buffering Agent to stay alive & healthy, so not apt to be free to make his own future decisions.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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