Having discovered they could turn animals invisible, a group of scientists test the subject on a human. Head of research, Dr. Sebastian Caine decides to use himself as the subject. After the experiment can't be reversed, it takes a toll on Caine's personality, causing him to hunt down and kill his colleagues
"Hollow Man" seems to improve on second viewing. Yes, it is formulaic. Yes, it is cheesy but for all that it is unabashedly entertaining. On its release it was quite a disappointment considering the talent involved. On reappraisal this film is far better than any action movie delivered by Hollywood since September 11th 2001.
Kevin Bacon is a huge talent and his performance is excellent given the limitations of the script and SFX process. Elisabeth Shue is also extremely engaging. The problem lies in the script. What needed to be explored more fully is the use of such an extreme talent. The guy is invisible. So what can he get up too? All he achieves is the molestation of the beautiful Rhonda Mitra. Kevin Bacon is portraying an eccentric genius. Can he not think of something more inventive than rape?
The direction is pretty pedestrian for Paul Verhoven considering his remarkable talent in this field. "Hollow Man" is a continuation of Paul Verhoven's love affair with Special Effects. Unfortunately the SFX appear stagy and unsubtle. Some effects are very well done but not all of them.
The best effect is a simple one and proves Verhoven as a master of the medium. Kevin Bacon leaves a celebratory dinner but we do not see him leave. Elisabeth Shue turns and is confronted with an empty chair. This simple device works remarkably well because it is rather creepy and unexpected. More moments of such simple imagination and ingenuity needed to be introduced into the proceedings rather that the complete reliance on computer effects. Less is more, as they say.
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