US Release Date: 08-04-2000
Directed by: Paul Verhoeven
- Kevin Bacon, as
- Sebastian Caine
- Elisabeth Shue, as
- Linda McKay
- Josh Brolin, as
- Matthew Kensington
- Kim Dickens, as
- Sarah Kennedy
- Greg Grunberg, as
- Carter Abbey
- Joey Slotnick, as
- Frank Chase
- Mary Randle as
- Janice Walton
Elisabeth Shue and Kevin Bacon in Hollow Man.
There are a couple of things hollow about Hollow Man, the disappointing new thriller starring Kevin Bacon, the script and the direction. Together they combine to turn an intriguing idea into a disappointing, lifeless mess.
The movie tells the story of Sebastian Caine (Kevin Bacon), a cocky, ego-driven scientist, assigned by the Pentagon to come up with the means to turn soldiers invisible. Also working on the project, are Bacon's former girlfriend (Elizabeth Shue) and her current boyfriend (Josh Brolin), among others.
After the successful completion of their experiment on a gorilla, Sebastian decides he wants the honor of being the first human to become invisible. He then discovers, too late, that the serum they created to turn the gorilla visible again does not work on humans.
It is here that the movie starts to go wrong. Rather then enjoying his newfound power, Sebastian spends the rest of the movie growing angrier and angrier over his predicament. Even the audience is denied the pleasure of enjoying his invisibility, as his contact with the outside world is incredibly limited. So limited in fact, that if you've seen the previews, you've seen all of his scenes outside the lab.
The film hints at some voyeuristic moments and even one that crosses that line completely, but even these scenes are short and without joy. At least, more scenes along these lines might have kept my attention longer and even stirred up some controversy. Anything to liven up the plot.
Instead of what could have been, an entertaining and fun movie with possibly dark undertones, we are left with a typical, group of people trapped in a sealed area being stalked by a mad killer, type of film. And a second rate one at that.
There is one notable and outstanding quality to this movie and it is almost enough to hold your attention throughout the movie: The Special Effects. The transformation scenes from visible to invisible and back again are amazing to watch, as skin, muscle, veins, and bone slowly disappear. And the ingenious ways of showing Kevin Bacon when he is invisible; a puff of smoke, water from a sink, and the fumes from a fire extinguisher, all of these are done convincingly and are a treat to watch.
As a movie, Hollow Man has little to offer beyond these special effects, and all but Kevin Bacon fans (if there are any) should stay away.
It is always hard to write the second or third review on this site if the movie is a real stinker. The first reviewer gets to point out all of the bad stuff. Where does that leave me?
Hollow Man is so hollow. Oh wait, Scott already used that line. The plot of several people trapped in a location with a mad killer is so unoriginal. Anyone else ever see Aliens? Yeah Scott has already made that point as well.
Alright then, I will address the acting. Elizabeth Shue once won an Oscar. Could have fooled me. Here she is just your average horror movie screamer. Josh Brolin, you better keep hitting the weights and shaving your chest, because once your looks go, you may have to find yourself a sugar mama like your dad did. I would discuss Kevin Bacon's acting if he did any. He plays the same cocky, arrogant character he always plays. In Animal House he played an arrogant frat boy. In Footloose he was the cocky bad boy. In A Few Good Men he was an arrogant JAG Officer. In Apollo 13 he was the cocky, arrogant astronaut. Makes you wonder what he is like in real life. He has made quite a career on his smirky grin.
The dialogue is routine stuff. Bacons says at one point, "You don't make history by following the rules, you make it by seizing the moment." I think that was said by someone at my high school graduation. My favorite bit is when Bacon says, "How come when you say "Yes, Sir" it kinda sounds like "Fuck you!" " and Sarah responds, "Practice!"
Now to agree with Scott again, I will write that the effects are all that and a bag of chips. If you look close and quick you get to see Kevin Bacon's penis minus any skin. Actually that is not a plus. I saw enough of his dick when he played that arrogant, cocky detective in Wild Things.
Kevin Bacon gets stripped down to the bone in Hollow Man.
My brothers see more new movies in theaters than I do. This results in the fact that I often write third reviews for movies they both saw and reviewed years ago. Scott and Eric reviewed Hollow Man way back in the summer of 2000, just a few months after the three of us launched this site. Finally, after nearly a dozen years, I'm adding my two cents to the mix.
If anything, this movie has only gotten worse with time. Plot wise it remains as “hollow” as ever but the one thing my brothers praised about it – the special effects – are now hopelessly dated and cheesy looking, right down to Kevin Bacon's skinless penis. This is farther proof of my belief that special effects driven movies age worse than any others because no matter how cutting edge they appear at the time of their release they will always look more and more primitive with the passing years.
This generic rip-off of H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man goes for cheap thrills instead of intelligent discourse and is too damn serious. Where's the sense of fun? As Scott pointed out, Bacon's character pulls some minor peeping tom hijinks but he goes from cocky genius to mad scientist so quickly that it makes little sense.
And the ending is ridiculously over-the-top. Eric compared it to Aliens, but the climax, where Kevin Bacon gets burned and beaten and then somehow survives an explosion to keep relentlessly pursuing Shue and Brolin up that elevator shaft, reminded me of the Terminator movies. I agree about the clunky dialogue as well. At one point Brolin says, “My 5th grade teacher told me that 'Genius is the ability to go from A to D without having to go through B and C.' Sebastian can do that, but for me, I gotta have the B and C.” Sounds like a 5th grader wrote it.
I'm so thankful (but not at all surprised) the 2006 sequel starring Christian Slater went direct to video.
Photos © Copyright Columbia Pictures Inc. (2000)