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Overall Rating

Awesome: 6.47%
Worth A Look: 17.99%
Average: 28.78%
Pretty Bad31.65%
Total Crap: 15.11%

9 reviews, 85 user ratings

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Hollow Man
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Hollow movie."
2 stars

Any movie calling itself 'Hollow Man' dares to make itself the biggest critics' target since 'A Goofy Movie.'

You'd think the filmmakers would do whatever they could to avoid cheap shots -- by making the lead character as complex and human as possible. But no. This is yet another multi-million-dollar Hollywood thriller that has plenty of time for elaborate special effects (many of which are eye-popping) but very little time for characterization. The movie could be called Hollow People.

Does that matter? Do we go to see a big-budget invisible-man movie for its profound understanding of the human struggle? No, and if we agree we're not here for that, then the movie had better at least be fun. Roughly the first half of Hollow Man is agreeably trashy, like an over-amped remix of David Cronenberg's The Fly crossed with John Carpenter's Memoirs of an Invisible Man. But once we see where it's going -- a showdown between the protagonist/villain and a rapidly dwindling team of former colleagues in a locked-down lab -- we may sink into our seats in frustration. All this magical computer-generated whiz-bang, and they can't do more with it than a climax ripping off your choice of slasher movies and Alien films?

Kevin Bacon, the poor guy, wrote an engaging two-part Hollow Man diary for Entertainment Weekly detailing the nightmarish preparations -- the smelly latex, the tedious hours of CGI mapping -- he had to endure to play the lead, Sebastian Caine, a military scientist looking for a way to make people invisible. Bacon went through such hell for the role that it almost breaks my heart to say all his effort comes to very little. It's not his fault; the script (by Andrew Marlowe, of Air Force One and End of Days) won't let him develop Sebastian in any meaningful way. He goes from being a two-dimensional obsessed scientist to a two-dimensional psycho once he's invisible.

Sebastian's loyal crew of scientists, including former flame Elisabeth Shue and her new lover Josh Brolin, are worried about him: They can't find a way to make him visible again, and we've seen that lab animals who went invisible for too long became aggressive and violent. So, too, does Sebastian, who very quickly devolves from a voyeur and groper to a possible rapist-murderer (he pays a visit to a nearby woman; we never find out exactly what he does to her). Psychologically, Sebastian's shift into evil might make better sense if he were a sexually repressed nerd, a loser jealous of his ex-lover's new boyfriend, but Bacon plays the pre-invisible Sebastian as a virile scientist hunk simmering in his own ego. So we don't feel that being invisible puts him in touch with his id, his darkest unacknowledged desires.

The unfairly ignored Memoirs of an Invisible Man, structured as a comedy, nevertheless tapped into curious areas of sadness as well as prurience; this may be the only time in film history that Chevy Chase has given a better dramatic performance than Kevin Bacon. The moment when Daryl Hannah renders Chase visible by gently applying foundation to his face is absurdly moving, and Hollow Man could have used more human touches like that. Instead, Bacon stalks around behind an expressionless latex façade, further underscoring Sebastian's indebtedness to masked slasher-film psychos. Well, John Carpenter did that better, too.

Granted, you don't expect subtlety from director Paul Verhoeven, the man who gave us RoboCop, Total Recall, Basic Instinct, Showgirls, and Starship Troopers -- most of which (I exclude the clownish Showgirls) are cheerfully over-the-top, winking at themselves and at the audience, and highly enjoyable. I don't see Hollow Man joining the Verhoeven pantheon of well-loved trash. The becoming-invisible and becoming-visible-again scenes have some of Verhoeven's charged-up showmanship; the rest of the movie is a lumbering haunted-house flick with an oddly sour, vindictive tone. Did Verhoeven think he was taking the moral aspects of invisibility seriously? A serious movie doesn't give us peeks at naked women, as if we were pubescent boys, and a serious movie doesn't have Elisabeth Shue announce "We're gonna take him down" and punctuate it by cocking her gun.

I like Verhoeven's cheese as much as anyone, but this movie is the wrong kind of cheese.

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originally posted: 01/03/07 14:34:08
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User Comments

10/30/16 morris campbell dull sadistic crap watch the invisible man instead 1 stars
1/19/14 Luis Paz Awful, awful movie. The scientists in this film have to be the stupidest people ever. 1 stars
10/23/09 Gangster21 Thank you for having the courage to resign, and to bring this scandalous behaviour to light 5 stars
9/21/09 Vrachah,avromView my complete profile This blog is dedicated to commentary on all aspects o 5 stars
8/30/08 Shaun Wallner Well Made! 4 stars
4/11/08 R.W. Welch Nifty F/X. Little else of interest. 3 stars
3/02/08 Pamela White suspense with no reason 2 stars
2/11/08 Mark Great movie, violance, nudity and a suspense, I loved it... 5 stars
1/27/07 action movie fan a phenomenon today as well! good invisible man update, one of the best of 2000 4 stars
12/27/06 William Goss An admittedly entertaining hunk of B-grade cheese with superb effects. 3 stars
7/20/06 faraz khan brilliant fiction 5 stars
12/28/05 Sugarfoot The perfect root for the bad guy movie, afterall Kevin Bacon is the only one who can act... 3 stars
8/11/05 ES it's good, its cool, oops it all falls apart, tsk, tsk 2 stars
6/10/05 Indrid Cold Something like this would have been a phenomenon 30 years ago, but it totally sucks now. 2 stars
1/31/05 New Jersey Rules One of the shittiest movies, ever. 1 stars
10/24/04 LUCAS awesome 5 stars
8/27/04 American Slasher Goddess It's decent with some good F/X 3 stars
1/15/04 Samuel Actuallt, a pretty good movie and some good effects 4 stars
1/07/04 John pointless - too bad 1 stars
11/25/03 homer J. Simpson It could have been great, what were you thinking people, elizabeth should have been naked 2 stars
11/04/03 jason Rhona Mitra's nude action was explosive 5 stars
10/01/03 Jinnvisible More like the invisible pervert,,man gains invisibility & turns knickersniffer 1 stars
9/16/03 Charles Tatum Great special effects in a big piece of sci-fi cheese 4 stars
8/04/03 Double G im watching it right now so far it sucks 1 stars
5/06/03 John Bale Great special Fx but pervy and nerdy script makes this teenage fodder. 2 stars
4/29/03 Jin Almost as shitty as Wild Things. Acting was atrocious. 2 stars
3/22/03 Jack Sommersby Vile stuff with nary a whisper of imagination. 1 stars
12/10/02 Garbo Yau Mun this film was great 5 stars
8/05/02 KMG HOLLOW HEAD 3 stars
5/15/02 Blake This movie was okay but it had too much profanity. 4 stars
3/01/02 Andrew Jarret It was crappy, it will be better if they make the raping scene longer and her naked 2 stars
2/28/02 Alan Smithee Starts out good, quickly turns unbelievably dumb. Ms. Shue doesn't get naked either...... 2 stars
2/27/02 Sklorsh Could have been much better - More boobs 2 stars
2/25/02 Jenny Tullwartz STIR OF ECHOES, WILD THINGS, now this - Will Kevin Bacon ever get out of purgatory? 1 stars
1/16/02 David A. Interesting. Also, I loved the joke about Superman and Wonder Woman. 4 stars
12/01/01 Scottish Kilt Starts well, then becomes too predictable, and turns into utter pish. 2 stars
11/14/01 Mike Good effects. Tired story. Crap out ending. 2 stars
10/31/01 Monster W. Kung Good effects, but the script blows. First part OK, the rest is trash. 2 stars
10/16/01 Mr. Hat An awesome gem for the first hour and 15 minutes, but the rest sort of weighs it down. 4 stars
5/05/01 The Moorhen I can't believe I bought this. Rhona Mitra (shower chick) is the only good bit. 2 stars
4/24/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Starts Sci-Fi thriller, ends Slasher Flick. That concept usually works better in reverse. 3 stars
4/22/01 sequoia if you wnat an exciting movie with a great plot......see something else! 2 stars
4/11/01 Jesse L Only way to save it was to go for full nudity.. It was awful.. 1 stars
3/21/01 Thomas J. movie is about as useless as Tipper Gores ovaries! 1 stars
1/11/01 Matt69 Piece of shit, except when he bangs the hot bitch across the street 2 stars
1/06/01 I love movies no story. NO STORY! Just a stupid Superman joke! 1 stars
1/04/01 The Bomb 69 good throughout but the ending was a letdown 4 stars
10/31/00 joe if you go expecting a mad slasher movie with some spectacular effects , you'll like it. 4 stars
9/14/00 Ground Zero a rehash of the classic Invisible Man flick 3 stars
9/10/00 bullit17 Great special effects. Entertaining. Not much of a plot, but what is these days? 4 stars
9/07/00 Wafer This is my bottom 5 of all time. seriously 1 stars
8/28/00 coby de beer it,s very good 4 stars
8/25/00 matthew smith visually, very impressive 4 stars
8/16/00 PhilmPhreak Not as bad as everyone says it is. 4 stars
8/14/00 Truckgirl held my attention til the very end when it got a little crazy... 4 stars
8/13/00 Bueller Woulda, coulda, shoulda, mighta, oughta have made a better movie! Hollow plot and acting! 2 stars
8/12/00 Robert Sharp WAIT UNTIL IT COMES TO VIDEO 3 stars
8/12/00 Zaccone Truely horrible 1 stars
8/10/00 pipeman Watchable until the last 15 minutes when all hell breaks loose with the script and dialoge. 4 stars
8/10/00 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi Even with the hella special FX and talented cast, the movie seems, well...hollow... 3 stars
8/09/00 Poetcdh Cliche, cliche, cliche--wait for it at the $1.00 movie 1 stars
8/09/00 Ilia Rogachev The freezer cooling fans had an on/off dial on them as plain as day. No hair circulation. 1 stars
8/09/00 PJ So So Bad! it's O.K. Campy crap done well 3 stars
8/09/00 Sarah Johnson If you are expecting a well thought out suspensful thriller this is not it. 2 stars
8/08/00 Captain Highcrime Great FX, Shitty dialogue/acting: about as scary as power failure in the daytime. 4 stars
8/08/00 KoHawk Great effects, but we're stuck in a science lab for 2 hrs. Tell me he wouldn't go to city. 3 stars
8/08/00 TheAngryMob Loads O Fun! 4 stars
8/08/00 JussMatt Plenty of T&A, and special effects, but with all that $$ you think they could find a plot!! 3 stars
8/07/00 Doctor Collosus Needs more T&A dammit. 3 stars
8/07/00 Gil Carlson Mindless and gratuitous 3 stars
8/07/00 Marv Albert...SUpa Pervert! give me T&A and i'll be a happy camper 4 stars
8/07/00 Barry Pretty damned special effects yet and good storyline as well! 5 stars
8/06/00 mahone Hollywood: spend money on scripts!!! 3 stars
8/06/00 Georges'sThumbInMyBumb um, just another flick for kevin to try to flash his more then tiny dong 1 stars
8/06/00 Tony The Lurch I've lost my faith in "Erik the Movieman" this movie truly blew 1 stars
8/06/00 chuck Should have waited for the $1.00 movie theater 2 stars
8/06/00 ILuvADrugDealer Script&ending are kind of crappy, but special effects were *AWESOME*! 4 stars
8/05/00 **~**yeah and he was gay**~** interesting, but still lacking, the special fx saved this movie 3 stars
8/05/00 Dr. King Amazing fx and trashy fun. Plus Kevin Bacon needs an Honorary Oscar for his hard work 5 stars
8/03/00 Jokko Hilariously bad. I mean BAD. I had no idea they could put out Battlefield Earth II so fast. 1 stars
8/02/00 Rue the Whirl Pure Hollywood trash. 2 stars
8/02/00 Tim Ryan So bad, seeing it for free was still a rip off. 2 stars
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  04-Aug-2000 (R)


  24-Aug-2000 (MA)

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