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Hollow Man

Rated [R], 116 minutes
Starring Kevin Bacon, Elisabeth Shue, and Josh Brolin; William Devane
Screenplay by Andrew Marlowe; story by Gary Scott Thompson and Andrew W. Marlowe
Directed by Paul Verhoeven
website: www.spe.sony.com/movies/hollowman/

IN SHORT: Buy popcorn. Check reality expectations at the door.

"Whatever does not kill you makes you stronger," wrote Frederic Nieszche. "Whatever does not kill you eventually drives you absolutely out of your pathetic little mind," said the attendants at the insane asylum where Frederic Nieszche spent his last days, before committing suicide. Just thought you'd like to know. . .

That's not the theme of The Hollow Man but it's an appropriate place to start. Though it is not, emphasis, not this story Director Paul Verhoven has brought HG Welles' concept of an invisible man into the 21st century, with a group of military scientists locked in a subterranean lab, all tossing about pseudo-scientific terms like "phase shifting" to describe experiments that turn dogs and apes invisible. Head of the experimental team is Sebastian Caine (Kevin Bacon), whose self-described nickname is "God" (and he means it in all senses of the word). Caine is a real piece of work. He's egocentric, he's possessive, he's got all the sensitivity of a newt, which also means he's got no idea his ex-girlfriend Linda (Elisabeth Shue) is doing the nasty with their co-worker Dr. Matthew Kensington (Josh Brolin). God's arrogance is unbounded and, when he senses Pentagon funding slipping away from his project, he pushes his close colleagues into a scheme which dooms them all. Lying to the boss (William Devane) about what they've accomplished, Caine and crew move from testing their invisibility serum on animals to unauthorized testing on humans . . . Caine, himself. When things go wrong, mad scientist goes mad and what's left is a special effects and murder extravaganza.

Except for a bit of voyeurism which, to be quite honest, is a perfectly male thing to do.

Of course, being an intellectual type, Caine's idea of the best well to kill leads to a multitude of broken necks and head bashings, all supplemented by state of the art visual and sound effects. Writing as one who has already been through the broken neck and bashed in head stage of his life, and survived it, let's just say that sitting through Hollow Man, for me personally, was painful. Didja ever see a grown man cringing in a movie seat? Pathetic.

Hollow Man is an effects movie, pure and simple. The characters don't have a lot of background, other than good versus bad. The computer graphics, which make Kevin Bacon's character look like a moving version of "The Invisible Man" model you can buy in a toy store are neat looking (more on those in Paul Fischer's behind the scenes article). The major problem is that, by the time you get to the final act, the entire production has become downright silly. It's the old "everyone is superman" bit -- grievious injuries seem to magically heal up just so you can get one more battle scene in before the explosions kick in.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Hollow Man, he would have paid...

$4.50

a) I'm a sucker for the effects. b) any other time of the year, Hollow Man would be a flat out $3 wait and rent flick. It's a passable summertime popcorn flick, and thus just under the dateflick level.

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The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.