Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hollow Man (2000)

            I like the idea of this story although the film is disappointing overall.  I’m actually reading the H.G. Wells story, “The Invisible Man” which is quite a coincidence.  As far as I know there are no connections between the two however Hollow Man’s story could of used some of the classic story’s sensibility.  The concept to turn a human invisible is intriguing and the film does get off to a decent start.

Sebastian Caine (Kevin Bacon) is the genius scientist who finds a way to become invisible.  Before I go further I’d like to add that Bacon does a pretty good job in his role.  I’d go so far as to say it’s one of his better performances.  I wish I could say the same for the rest of the cast.  You get such aggressive passion Caine has toward his research.  He’s in it for the sole purpose to be the first human to become invisible.  He has a character about him that is positive and negative.  The positive out of it is that he succeeds in becoming the first invisible man.  The negative, well, he ends up murdering people and I’m pretty sure he rapes a woman.

The objective of making people invisible is being funded by the military; go figure right?  Who would ever imagine anybody would want an invisible army?  Caine has to report where the progress stands in the project and denies it’s been completed numerous times on primates.  Linda McKay (Elizabeth Shue) isn’t pleased and makes it known to Caine.  Although he scuffs it off like a genuine cool guy claiming he wants to be the first human to be made invisible then visible again.  It’s quite a risky venture and his team reluctantly goes along with him.  As far as I can tell the primates became hostile and violent while they were invisible so keep that in mind as I go forward.  Does it affect your brain by making you aggressive or are the primates simply annoyed they can longer see themselves?  Those seem like interesting questions right, well you’ll have to answer them for yourself since the movie fails to do so.

The experiment is a success with the scene being somewhat intense as Caine nearly dies from it but instead just passes out.  That’s not a surprise though as we know he is the main character, so it’s a false suspense.  He ends up having a bit of fun at first enjoying the perks of being invisible.  Now the team has these infrared goggles that detect heat that they demonstrate at first but usually fail to use throughout the movie.  Why would you not constantly have them on to keep a watchful eye on Caine?  He generally is a bit ornery and has a dark side that is clearly evident in the early going of the story.  I would also leave them on to make sure he doesn’t pass out in some remote area of the lab compound and can’t be found.  For being scientists they aren’t very bright most of the time.  They do set up a camera that detects his heat signature pointed toward his bed.

The soon troubled Caine gets cabin fever and also tires of being a lab rat since being reverted back to the visible state has failed.  They set him up with a disguise to wear to look more like a normal person but he takes that as a way to head up to the surface to run around in freedom. Caine also is quite a pervert and adds scenes that derail the flow of the story numerous times.  He essential rapes his neighbor after becoming invisible and often gropes his co-workers throughout, the females of course.  I guess when a scientist who is bent on becoming invisible finally does; he also becomes a man who has increased hormonal levels?  I don’t get the placement of all the scenes that’s all. I do understand a man would be tempted but Caine really gets focused on it.

Then you have Matt Kensington (Josh Brolin, not a fan) who is as Caine describes a man riding his coattails.  Caine has an obvious dislike for the man, which creates enough tension.  Matt is also sleeping with Linda or some type of sexual relationship exists anyway.  Caine and Linda used to be a couple before the events of the movie so that creates some unnecessary drama for a movie that doesn’t need it.  Matt and Linda are main characters and their constant bad acting drives me up a wall.  There is a terrible scene in which they are out in the city looking for invisible Caine and are about to kiss when they awkwardly state that he might be watching.  Really?  At a time you have a crisis of an invisible man running around the city you’re worried about your drama crap?  Also, where are your stupid infrared goggles at so you can actually see him?      
You’d think Caine would be actively trying to find a way to come visible again.  Instead he opts to let his second banana Matt try to come up with a way to make him visible.  Caine is so obsessed with his own genius that it doesn’t make sense why he is letting Matt try to figure it out without at least helping him.  If he did help out it’s not shown in the movie.  The team eventually decides to lock down the lab compound after discovering Caine had murdered one of the suits at the meeting at the beginning of the movie.  Caine snaps and decides it’s best to kill everyone and flee the scene.  At that point it’s actually reasonable for Caine to do this, as he is a murderer anyway.

Caine changes the temperature in the lab compound up to apparent body heat so the goggles everyone is wearing can’t detect him due to interference from the heat blasting from the vents.  Although the movie shows a clip where Matt still sees Caine easily enough through the added heat.  That’s an excuse to have everyone abandon the goggles but it still makes far more sense to keep them on since Caine has went homicidal.  Nobody is sweating either so I doubt the temperature is that high but these are mere observations not to be considered right?  Ha-ha!  Caine really had them all beat in the end when Linda goes complete MacGyver and opens her frozen prison to thwart Caine.  Caine trapped them inside a freezing storage room.  Please don’t ask me to explain how she escaped.  Matt was brutally stabbed and patched up with duct tape.  He ends up surviving somehow and helping kill Caine eventually after scenes and scenes of ridiculousness.  You can tell so quickly who will die and who won’t.  The death scenes are lacking and it’s just blood, blood, and more blood.  The special effects and CGI did well so there aren’t any complaints in that department.  I would love to see a great invisible man movie but this isn’t it.  Bacon provided a solid role but the rest was awful.  It’s not a movie I’d recommend unless you like a splash of horror to take over a film already headed downhill.

Rating: 4 of 10

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