Hollow Man (2000)

Hollow Man (2000) – So I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before that about seven years ago I was in a production of The House of Blue Leaves at Sacramento City College. The star of that show was an actor named Michael Saumure, who had a small role in Joe Carnahan’s debut film Blood, Guts, Bullets, and Octane. Carnahan, of course, went on to direct Smokin’ Aces starring Ryan Reynolds who was in Green Lantern with Tim Robbins who was in Mystic River with Kevin Bacon. I feel obligated to mention that whenever I mention Kevin Bacon. Anyway Kevin Bacon appears in the movie Hollow Man… then disappears in it. After watching The Invisible Man the other day I felt like checking up on a more modern take on the whole invisible man story. One told in the age of computer animation. As impressive at the invisibility effects were for 1933, it’s safe to say they got a damn sight better by 2000.

Bacon plays Sebastian Caine, a brilliant and conceited scientist who’s working on a military contract to turn people invisible who in his spare time spies on his attractive neighbor (Rhona Mitra). He works alongside his ex-girlfriend Linda (Elizabeth Shue) and her new secret beau Matt (Josh Brolin), because there’s no way that’s a bad idea, right? Anyway after successful animal testing, Sebastian feels it’s time to move on to human trials… without telling their boss (William Devane) at the Pentagon. Due to his ego and god complex, Sebastian becomes the first human test subject. As is always the case in these types of movies, invisibility goes hand in hand with madness and pretty soon he’s a full-blown raping and murder psychopath (I watched the Director’s Cut. The Theatrical Cut is a little vaguer on the rape-y-ness). Eventually he ends up hunting down Linda, Matt, and the rest of the team (Kim Dickens, Greg Grunberg, Joey Slotnick, and Mary Randle) so he can continue his invisible reign of terror.

Hollow Man is directed by Paul Verhoeven. Verhoeven is known for movies like Robocop, Total Recall, and Starship Troopers which have a cleverness to them and some rather wry social commentary. Hollow Man does not rank in the company of those films. (Hey, the guy also did Showgirls. Nobody’s perfect.) Aside from the possible T.S. Eliot reference in the title, Hollow Man is pretty stupid movie. For starters, these genius scientists all act like a bunch of teenagers in a slasher movie. They have thermal goggles so they can see invisible Sebastian and they REPEATEDLY TAKE THEM OFF FOR NO GOOD REASON! Granted the goggles aren’t perfect (Sebastian eventually cranks up the heat to counter their effectiveness) but they are better for seeing invisible murderers than the naked eye so WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU EVER TAKE THEM OFF? Like I said, they act like teenagers in a slasher movie… but then again I like slasher movies so it’s not like the movie’s a waste of time. The Academy Award nominated special effects still hold up pretty well, especially Sebastian’s disappearing scene which looks like Gray’s Anatomy brought to life (the medical textbook, not the asinine soap opera). There are many better movies you could watch, but Hollow Man is a diverting enough way to spend a couple hours.

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