Hollow Man (2000) / Horror-Sci Fi
MPAA Rated: R for violence, nudity and language
Running Time: 112 min.
Cast: Kevin Bacon, Elizabeth Shue, Josh Brolin, William Devane, Mary Jo Randle
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Screenplay: Andrew W. Marlowe
Here's my pick for perhaps the dumbest title given to a movie in 2000. Personally, I would have chosen my own title, Out of Sight, Out of My Mind. Heh. Ahhh, what the hell do I know? I wouldn't have made this movie to begin with.
With the exception of Showgirls, Paul Verhoeven had never let us down before. Sure, he has created some bad movies, but they are so far over the top, they become fun and entertaining bad movies (Total Recall, Robocop, Starship Troopers, Basic Instinct). However, those films were knowingly schlock, but reveled in the fact. Hollow Man isn't a good bad film; it's a bad, bad, very bad film. The fact that it's even worse than Showgirls, a so bad it's almost enjoyable film, makes it all the more inconceivable.
This one stars Kevin Bacon (Stir of Echoes, Apollo 13) as Sebastian Caine (yes, it's another typically "cool" movie villain name), an eccentric genius that has been working diligently on a formula to make living things invisible. Making them invisible proves to be the easy part; the tough part is making them visible again. Now under pressure by fthose funding the project to deliver the goods, Caine decides to go invisible himself while he can, and soon after, his personality becomes as unstable as his molecules when he can't become visible again. To exacerbate the problem, his ex-girlfriend (Shue, Palmetto) has been sleeping around with the lab partner (Brolin, Best Laid Plans), causing an already demented Caine to go "coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs".
Hollow Man features some outstanding special effects to be sure, but what's oddly missing from the delivery is the trademark irreverent humor by Verhoeven, who turns in his least stylish film ever. What is here amounts to little more than fairly routine "ghost in the building" horror, with not much in the way of scares due to some poor plotting, as well as the fact that Kevin Bacon just isn't all that scary no matter what he looks or doesn't look like. This also marks two consecutive duds for the once-promising Air Force One screenwriter Andrew W. Marlowe, who just comes off of the equally horrible, End of Days.
Hollow Man never gets off the ground, soon becoming boring, until finally falling completely apart with a final half hour of unpleasant images and ridiculous booga-booga horror clichés. The only thing hollow about this film are the heads of those that created such lackluster entertainment.
©2000 Vince Leo