Saturday, November 13, 2010

Review: Hollow Man 2 (2006)

Director: Claudio Fah
Starring: Christian Slater, Peter Facinelli, Laura Regan

You know those crap films you see at every Blockbuster that nobody ever rents, so they’re just left sitting there on the shelves to rot day after day? Yeah, that’s Hollow Man 2. Because…I guess they couldn’t even come up with a creative title to balance out the supreme boredom of the movie they put out. I guess after the first film was such a riveting tale, some asshole at Sony decided it was time to make a sequel to it. And a Direct to DVD one at that! Is it worth talking about? Not really. Are you going to agree with me that someone should be put in prison for this later? Yes.

As you can plainly see by the opening scene, this movie decided it would be a good idea to start at a fancy party that the filmmakers probably couldn’t afford to get into with the money made for this movie, and probably had to prostitute their wives for on the streets in order to use. This one scientist named Dylan tells this woman that all he does is kill monkeys. Because…that’s a good pick up line, right? No? Well, no wonder those women I told that to didn’t go out with me! Why didn’t I watch this movie before now to find this out?

Anyway, he starts getting beat up by some unseen force that baffles and perplexes everyone in the audience. While most everyday scenarios would just pass this off as a drunken stunt to get some laughs, the film suggests that it’s actually the invisible man, who apparently really didn’t find Dylan’s pick up lines about killing monkeys that funny. He takes him into the bathroom and we hear that his voice is that of Christian Slater. Because I guess having Kevin Bacon in the first film set the bar so high for this one that he was the only one they could get!

Slater the Invisible Man slits Dylan’s throat with a cell phone after Dylan tries to call for help – I guess this is the movie’s attempt to stay relevant with an anti-technology theme. It must be trying to tell us all that cell phones are bad, and that we’ll get our throats slit in the bathroom if we use them for the wrong reasons. That makes sense! A truly worldly, helpful message for us all.

So after that we’re introduced to our main character, Turner, and his partner Lisa. They’re assigned to protect another scientist who the government believes Slater is going after next, based on the dying words of Dylan the monkey slayer, who I guess felt the need for his last words on Earth to be extremely convenient to the loosely thought out plot. But enough about that. Let’s have a memorial service for dear Dylan, who put down many deserving monkeys in his short time on Earth. Let us have a moment of silence for him, for he was truly a glorious specimen.

Okay, well anyway, after some arbitrary and blandish scenes with Turner and Lisa socializing with Maggie, who of course succumbs to the usual Hollywood cliché of being just about the hottest scientist in the universe:

Slater sneaks in at night and kills Lisa with a lamp cord. Here’s a question for you, filmmakers: How come nobody ever bumps into these invisible guys and disturbs their brilliant plans? Wouldn’t that just be priceless? Slater’s walking along, stealthy and silent, until Maggie comes out of the bathroom looking to pose for some more GQ covers and she rams right into him, knocking him over and giving her ample time to flee and tell the authorities?

And apparently the entire thing was a set up all along for the government to lure Slater out so they could track him. Maggie gets arrested for questioning but Turner breaks her out because he doesn’t like the station’s policies with how they’re treating his partner’s death. He basically kidnaps Maggie and makes her tell him everything: basically the government used Slater, an ex-army vet, for an experiment to turn him invisible just like Kevin Bacon in the first movie. They had him kill off political enemies of theirs until he started going crazy and killing people for no reason instead. Now, they want him back. There, that’s it; the entire backstory in 3 sentences. Much easier than filling up an entire pointless scene with it.

It does raise some questions though – Maggie says that the government wanted to create ‘undetectable soldiers.’ Now, that’s all fine and well, except…it’s not really true with what we’re shown here, as clearly the soldiers are easily detectible with a heat seeking device or even just some night-vision goggles! That makes this entire plot device of invisibility more of a small, nagging annoyance than anything, at least as soon as the enemies figure out what the government is doing. It’s just silly.

So then they go to this other guy who has been mysteriously texting Maggie over the last few months, which she decided wisely to NOT tell anyone about until now. Oh, so he stopped for a while. Well that makes it OK. The scene is pretty much pointless and I’m not going to go into it, because it seems to be here just for a gross-out moment with this guy who was also an experiment of the invisibility project:

After that, Slater goes to the government building and starts killing off everyone he can find…except for a blind woman who can’t tell he’s invisible. So let’s look at the moral scale of the Hollow Man movies: Killing dogs and raping and molesting women who can’t defend themselves is OK, but blind people? THAT WOULD JUST BE SCANDALOUS. Off with the heads of anyone who dare harm a blind person, even if just in a crappy direct to DVD sequel to a movie that was never any good in the first place!

Slater then kidnaps Maggie’s sister, using her as bait to make Maggie do what he wants. He makes her strip down to her underwear, because I guess the movie needed its obligatory fanservice, even though it never had any fans. His plan is to turn her invisible to get her out of the building without anyone noticing, and if she resists, he will kill her sister. Luckily Turner stops them in time, and then turns himself invisible in order to escape the government, who are looking for him now, too. That’s pretty drastic.

So Turner attacks the lead government guy who mistakes him for Slater, which leads to one of the movie’s most predictable moments when he finds out who it REALLY is. He’s so surprised that he backs up into the street and gets hit by a car, killing him instantly. Boy! Truly the finest of the finest, people! Truly an intelligent human being who is deserving of a spot on the governmental board. I mean, come on. It’s a Darwin Awards candidate! It’s entirely laughable.

Then Maggie gives Slater the serum to heal him, also injecting it into herself to show how serious she is. Slater fights with Turner in a truly riveting battle of invisible men – shock and awe! Seriously, how is this supposed to be engaging when we can’t even see them? It’s about as productive as showing two fire ants duking it out in the middle of a crowded New York subway. Slater turns visible again but is then killed, as it’s revealed that Maggie had also put rat poison in the serum she gave him! She faints too as she also gave it to herself, and then the movie cuts to a hospital, where Maggie is told by her sister that Turner still has not been found. Cut to outside where, ooooh, an invisible man that we can assume is Turner is watching from the ground!

Wait, what was this trying to get across again? I don’t know why Turner being invisible is supposed to be important and I don’t have a damn clue what the movie wants me to feel about it! The entire movie is like that! I guess Hollow Man 2 is pleasant while it’s on, but it leaves no lasting impression and is not entertaining at all. This is one of those movies that has nothing to say and has no idea where it wants to go. It’s just a space waster from beginning to end. Except for Dylan the monkey slayer. He was cool in my books.

So that's the Hollow Man series, and, surprise, it sucks. The first one is just awful, with such a lack of dignity that I'm surprised it hasn't been banned in any countries yet - but then, that would require some degree of popularity, and this series had about as much as the fat kid in the corner who plays Magic the Gathering all day. And the second one, I mean really? It took you six years to make this? It's got about as much edge to it as a balloon; it's just ineffective as hell! Neither of these movies are any good and I highly advise against a watching of either one. No good can come of it.