Hollow Man 2 (2006)

Hollow Man 2 (2006)

There’s more to terror than meets the eye

An experiment to create invisible soldiers goes wrong when the subject, Michael Griffin, quickly begins to deteriorate both physically and mentally. He escapes and goes looking for a buffer – a serum designed to slow down his death and stop him from rotting. His search leads him to scientist Maggie Dalton but she is given police protection for her own safety after Griffin kills one of her fellow team members. On the run from the invisible man, Dalton and Detective Frank Turner must battle an enemy that they can’t see.

 

Hollow Man was a decent time waster, ably lead by the always-reliable Kevin Bacon, helmed by the great Paul Verhoeven and containing some decent special effects. But sequel-worthy? I don’t think so. What bothers me with sequels like this is that the originals were pretty big budget films filled with top drawer effects and an A-list cast so what hope do these straight-to-DVD films have of recreating the same feel with a lower budget, worse special effects and bargain basement actors? Not much is the correct answer!

Perhaps I’m being too harsh on Hollow Man II. It’s not exactly Malibu Shark Attack or Ghoulies IV and I didn’t feel bored or roll my eyes in disgust whilst watching it. But there are some major problems with the film and it’s just a total waste of the invisible man idea. He’s not even the main character in this one which is a bit of a bummer as the film focuses more on the detective and female scientist (hence the reason why his name is presented as ‘and Christian Slater’ on the front cover). Even this is a tiresome retread of many sci-fi films with the military creating some form of weapon (man or monster) and it is accidentally freed to cause chaos. So the military attempts to stop it and cover everything up. Yadda yadda ya…..you’ve seen it before.

There’s little in the way of back story to this invisible man. In the original, Bacon’s character at least had plenty of human scenes to let us get to know the character. Here the guy is already a complete psycho to begin with so his degeneration into a killing machine doesn’t exactly take a big leap of the imagination…..and he’s already invisible too! So bang goes the money shot of the transformation scene! Christian Slater steps into the role of the doomed invisible man this time and at least Bacon had some screen time in human form in the original. Slater hardly appears at all here and it’s mainly just voiceover work he does. The rest of the cast is filled up with plenty of unknowns whose sole job is to pretend that they are acting in front of an invisible man. Since he hardly appears in flesh form, it’s a no-brainer that most of his ‘screen time’ is taken up with characters talking to spaces where he’s supposed to be. His voice isn’t even that imposing either so I don’t know why he was cast. The special effects aren’t particularly great but there are not an awful lot of them. At least the finale has two invisible men fighting each other in the rain so it’s easy to see where the majority of the cash was spent.

One of the problems with both of the Hollow Man films is that neither really delved into much depth about what everyday people like you or I would do if we were invisible. There are so many ethical and philosophical angles to this dilemma but the films aren’t sophisticated or intelligent enough to deal with this angle. Yes there is a dark side to everyone and so we’d do the silly, juvenile things like spy on people we fancied, maybe have some fun by playing tricks on unsuspecting strangers, etc. but what about putting it to good use? Going undercover and solving crimes maybe? Helping out businesses by acting as a lab rat for security systems? Neither film really touches upon this subject, instead letting the invisible men just run with revenge plots to get even with people who want to shut down their experiments or use it for military purposes.

Being invisible would be a lot of red-blooded males’ fantasies even if they wouldn’t like to admit it. So if this film wasn’t going to be all serious and question the morality of being invisible, then why not take it to the other extreme and go all gratuitous? Horror films shouldn’t find violence, sex and gore as essentials but many a crap b-movie has salvaged itself by featuring boobs and bloods. At least you know the director acknowledges what some horror fans want to see! There are some token kills from the invisible man (at some points this does resemble a slasher film) and there’s even a token breast shot but it’s just wasted because the rest of the film is just filled with recycled garbage full of the usual sci-fi clichés of a man-made weapon going on the loose.

 

Hollow Man II is a feeble sequel with no fresh slant or ideas on the invisible man story. It’s content to churn out the same stuff we’ve already seen and we’ve already disliked. Being invisible should never be this dull.

 

 ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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