Movie Review: “Hollow Man”

    Hollow Man is a 2000 American science-fiction horror film directed by Paul Verhoeven, known for his work in directing the original RoboCop, Total Recall, and the highly coveted, Showgirls film. The movie stars Kevin Bacon, Elizabeth Shue, and Josh Brolin.

    The feature received mixed reviews from critics, but was ultimately a box-office success in-retrospect. It was made when a budget of almost one-hundred million, and managed to double that. Which is usually a good sign, particularly for a science-fiction. (It was enough to warrant a sequel)

    The movie is notable for having an interesting concept, influenced heavily by The Invisible Man. It is an idea we have seen many times before, but for some reason, it’s an idea that never seems to run out of possibilities. The story is about a scientist that makes a breakthrough in his experimentation on animals, successfully finding a way to make them invisible, and also change them back. Once this happens, he volunteers himself to be the first human to be experimented on, and the story works from there.

     In the opening minutes of this movie, I immediately found myself making comparisons to a movie called Darkman, directed by Sam Raimi. They both carry adult-themes and happenings, but find way to make it feel light-heart, for better or for worse. For the first half, I believe that it’s for the better with Hollow Man. Kevin Bacon seems to have found his niche in this movie, playing a narcissistic douche.    He easily carries the film, while all the other performances are decent at best. However, I think that it is unanimously agreed upon that the special-effects are easily the most delectable part of this balanced breakfast. I went into this movie with disheartened emotions, but I was thoroughly impressed whenever I saw what they did with the transformation. If for no other reason, it legitimately looked kind-of cool.

    The first half of the movie was actually very well done. They briefly explained some of the logic behind what they were doing, whilst at the same not trying to make sense out of the spectacle itself, and so, we were handed the premise and allowed to behold the aftermath. The movie started off carrying so much more potential than the average horror-movie, and we had a concept put before us that we always thought about. If you were invisible, what would you do?    A lot of critics actually beheld the character’s answer to that question as misogynistic, which I find to be peculiar considering what the mere audacity of the situation. Sebastian, the scientist played by Kevin Bacon, has a God-complex and seems so self-absorbed and hateful, he was given the power of anonymity, and the message being sent is the idea of corruption.

    He’s sexist, but in-retrospect, that is one of the more minor things that he did throughout the movie. He’s the idea of what a manipulative human-being would do with such a gift, and for that, I think it succeeded with a whimper.

    The reason that I say it’s a whimper is because it only touched the basis for what he could have done with such an ability. This is something that everybody always fantasizes about, I would have liked to see him trying to haunt somebody, or at least take a little bit more of a creative approach to everything that he did.

    Even still, for the first hour or so, Hollow Man was actually entertaining. I merely believe that they could have done much more than what they did with the opportunity put before them. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the proceeding half-hour or so as it gradually becomes your standard horror. The very second that Sebastian became transparent, there was a transformation in the character was blatant and poorly executed, however, the transformation excelled to such excess by the end. The idea itself made sense, but they didn’t take their time with it, and as a result, the transition didn’t seem organic at all whatsoever, rather, it seemed like they got into a hurry to end the movie and decided that they wanted it to be a slasher movie. The movie went way over-the-top and it was almost detrimental to the entire experience, throwing logic out the window, and throwing away this allegedly intelligent character in-exchange for someone you’d expect to see flailing a chainsaw.

    In an effort to keep it simple, I’ll summarize with a final verdict, the movie has entertainment value propelled by halfway decent performances and stellar special-effects, however, it’ll leave a bitter taste in your mouth once it, ahem, loses sight of itself and seeks restitution in all the wrong places.

Rating: – Decent (2.5 out of 5.0)

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