Hollow Man (2000)

Hollow Man is a 2000 science-fiction film directed by Paul Verhoeven. Taking place in a top-secret military lab, the film follows Sebastian Caine (Kevin Bacon) as a scientist working on making objects invisible, as well as bringing them back. The latter is apparently much harder, but once the team of researchers finally figures out a way to do it with an ape, Caine decides that he should be the first human to test this new procedure. He is to stay invisible for 3 days, before being brought back to normality. This is when things start to go wrong.

It turns out that Caine is actually more arrogant and full of himself than we were initially led on to believe. Now that he’s invisible, he can basically do whatever he wants, without the restrictions of society. What does he do? If you really want to know, watch the movie, as spoiling it would take away what little the film actually has to offer its viewers. See, Hollow Man, like the title indicates, is a fairly shallow, hollow film. It doesn’t have any real depth. Not in the characters or plot, anyway. The only praise the film can be given is for (some of) the special effects.

As for the effects, they are hit and miss. At times, they look fantastic, while others, they make you want to laugh. The invisible scenes do look fairly good, though, and the filmmakers have to be given credit for the job they did turning things invisible. Not much for the turning process itself, however, as when a character is actually undergoing the process, it stands out that it was basically all CGI.

While there is something to be said about the invisible scenes, I can’t help but think that it only seems really good, because it means we don’t need to see much of Kevin Bacon. He’s only in human form for the first part of the film and is invisible for the rest. Sure, he wears a latex mask for a lot of the time, but it still is better than watching Bacon try to bring life into the film. He isn’t any good in the role he is given, and neither is the rest of the cast. They all seem lifeless, and none of them make you want their characters to survive to the end.

Hollow Man started out with an interesting premise and managed to make it not only uninteresting but also very boring.

The apathy I felt towards the characters certainly isn’t helped by the lackluster acting job, but it isn’t like the actors were given much to work with. The characters aren’t developed upon at all, and they stay at pretty much the same depth throughout. There just isn’t anything there. Sebastian Caine himself is the biggest example of this. While his actions do change throughout, we aren’t really given any explanation for this occurrence, save for a couple of off-hand comments that are fairly easy to miss, and don’t actually bring any really answers; they are only speculation.

The film tries to being forward the question of “what would you do if you were invisible?” but that is also something that is never really explored. Caine does do some pretty demonic things with his new ability, but for the average person, this doesn’t mean much. The average person wouldn’t go to nearly the same lengths that he does, especially without any reason. Instead of exploring what it actually would be like to be invisible, Hollow Man shows us what mentally ill people would do if there were no consequences. These concepts are similar, but different all the same.

What’s really sad about the film is how boring it actually is. The plot is fairly straightforward, with you likely figuring out the twists far in advance. It also becomes far worse near the end, where all restraint is taken away, and the film turns into a standard horror film that is neither scary nor entertaining. Characters you expect to die do, and the ones that you think will make it likely will. There just isn’t anything there, and the ending of the film, drawn out as it is, only serves to put an end to the film.

Hollow Man started out with an interesting premise and managed to make it not only uninteresting but also very boring. It doesn’t have interesting characters or plot, and while it looks nice for the most part, some of the CGI used looks really fake. There just isn’t a lot there. The acting isn’t good, the “twists” are obvious, and it ends up degenerating into a really bad attempt at a horror movie.

Conclusion: Hollow Man wastes its good premise.

Recommendation: Hollow Man is not worth your time. I’ve heard its sequel is even worse.

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