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Hollow plot and characters but visually fantastic
bob the moo14 November 2003
Sebastian Caine and his team have worked tirelessly to develop a formula that can not only turn animals invisible but also bring them back to normal at will. With Governmental pressure on them to show results, Sebastian decides he will be the first human to try the formula. He becomes invisible for a short time, however efforts to bring him back fail and he finds himself stuck. As work continues on the formula, the others in the lab begin to notice him becoming increasingly unhinged.

From director Verhoven the norm is to expect great special effects and violence. He has also been known to integrate themes and good stories into these mainly effects driven films. On this occasion however he fails to really do that and is left with a fast paced and enjoyable film that makes up in effects what it lacks in substance. The plot is pretty basic and never goes deeper – Sebastian's descent into madness is not really a descent so much as a short trip that is not really built to so much as just delivered. In it's placed though, the effects are really impressive and make the film worth seeing simply because, not only are they great, but they are also used very well in the action rather than just being the film in themselves.

The cast is OK but don't really have much to work with in terms of material. Bacon is much more interesting when not on screen than when he is. His character is too thin and he fails to portray any sort of `descent' in his character's behaviour. Shue is pretty good and seems to enjoy running round with a flamethrower. The rest of the cast are OK but basically just act as fodder in the way that a normal slasher movie will have actors to be disposed of as the film rolls.

Overall I really enjoyed this film as it is a very expensive special effects movie which relies on spectacle to keep things moving. The effects are great and take the mind away from the lack of real substance and the action at the end is very enjoyable. A really good special effects movie as long as you don't expect anything more.
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Gruesome, Spine-Tingling, Invisible Man Gone Mad Flick
ShootingShark12 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
A Pentagon science team seem to have perfected a serum which causes invisibility but when the lead boffin tries it out on himself he can't reverse the process. Frustrated and drunk with power, he turns psychotic in the classic H.G. Wells tradition.

This is a gleefully horrible Invisible Man story, delivered with relish by the ever-tasteful Verhoeven and Bacon as the genius-turned-loonytoon-maniac. As with much of Verhoeven's work it has a terrific unrestrained sense of Boy's-Own comic-book adventure (the secret underground lab where the scientists work is just wonderful) combined with the most horrific and depraved visuals (women in their underwear being groped and attacked by an invisible fiend, animals beaten to death, literally gallons of blood and wholesale slaughter in the last two reels). Whilst the story doesn't ring any new twists on an old idea, the CG special effects by Scott E. Anderson are eye-poppingly brilliant as we see veins and arteries, cardiovascular systems, muscles, tissue, bones and flesh all literally appear out of nowhere. In particular, a sequence where the team bring a gorilla back from the invisible state and the scene where Bacon drowns Devane in a swimming pool, are absolutely breathtaking in the detail and artistic invention of the effects. The film also has a great soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith and classic horror-movie photography by Jost Vacano. The young cast are pretty much overshadowed by the movie's technical pedigree, but both Shue and Dickens are impressively out of their depth. This is a great fun nasty movie.
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Goes from being a decent look at an interesting theme to a predictable B-grade slasher
TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews14 March 2004
This could, and should, have been an interesting look on the idea of invisibility. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, they ran out of ideas and decided to just kill everyone off and have it end in huge explosions, demonstrating a total lack of creativity. Too bad. It could have been great, were it not for the total lack of good acting, the one-dimensional characters, the corny lines and the general lack of anything worthwhile in the movie at all, other than good special effects. I feel bad for Paul Verhoeven; he used to make great movies; RoboCop, Basic Instinct & Starship Troopers were all way better than this mainstream garbage. The only good thing about this movie is the special effects, and, believe me, they are good. They are just not good enough to distract the viewer from all the negative points about the movie. It's really too bad that they couldn't make a better movie about invisibility; we've never had a truly good movie dealing with the rush of power it would be to be invisible. This movie tries, but it just falls short. All those great special effects, and no good movie to back them up. I'd only recommend this to special effect nerds, people who'll watch a movie regardless of quality just to see good special effects. I can't imagine anyone else actually enjoying this movie. I gave it a 6/10, but only because of the special effects.
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Good, but not great.
bat-55 August 2000
Hollow Man boasts some pretty impressive visual effects and does have an intriguing story. Kevin Bacon plays Sebastion Caine, an arrogant scientist who develops a serum for invisibility. Withholding information from his superiors, Caine tests his serum on himself and undergoes a transformation that is quite visually arresting. It's like an anatomy book come to life. But while Caine's transformation and subsequent experiments with his new found power prove interesting, the movie fails to capture what it feels like to truly be invisible. Caine says to his colleagues, "You have know idea how much fun this is." In truth, we don't. We see Caine slowly going mad and trapping his fellow scientists in the lab when they threaten to go public. But, we don't get any sense of power from Caine. True he does venture out into public and enters the apartment of his very fetching neighbor, but that's about all the real world we see with Caine. It would've been interesting to see Caine in the real world, and what would've been done to capture him. Instead, we have Bacon, Elisabeth Shue and Josh Brolin and a few others mixing it up in a hidden lab somewhere in D.C. While the actors try to make the best with what they have, Paul Verhoeven tries to goose us a little. He succeeds in a few instances, and he does manage to hold your attention for a while, but the ending is the weakest link in the movie. Had there been a stronger ending, the movie would've been a little better. As it is now, it's a good exercise in visual effects territory, but there are so many other possibilities that lay with the story of an invisible human being.
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Hollow Man takes an abundance of fantastic special effects and narrative possibilities and reduces it all to an expensive but cheesy horror movie.
Michael DeZubiria7 April 2002
Ever since the original Halloween was released in 1978, there have been countless imitation films that desperately, although primarily unsuccessfully, attempt to feed off of the success of that film by copying its premise of a faceless and unstoppable killer. In the late 90s, there have been a resurgence of these films, such as the Scream movies, which started off good and then went sharply downhill with each additional sequel, Urban Legend, and I Know What You Did Last Summer (as well as, God willing, it's only sequel, I Still Know What You Did Two Summers Ago). Hollow Man is a film that takes a fantastic premise and reduces it to yet another of these cheap imitation slasher films.

Sure, the whole invisible man thing has been done before. Done to death, if you include literary examples. But let's face it, the possibility of human invisibility is one of the most fascinating premises that you can possibly tell a story about. The unfortunate thing about Hollow Man was that no one involved with the making of the movie seemed to realize that. What you have here is the development of an invisibility serum (as well as a reversing visibility serum) by a brilliant scientist, who successfully uses it on a gorilla in some of the best special effects scenes to date, and then uses it on himself. Well, of course he uses it on himself, what scientist could possibly resist? And why would any scientist WANT to resist? Well, the reason may be that, evidently, invisibility serum turns even the most intelligent scientists into raving madmen.

The absolutely infinite amount of possibilities for an invisible character are completely ignored here in favor of turning him into yet another bland faceless killer. This time, we may know who it is that's trying to kill people, but what we don't know is why he completely ignores the outside world. This is the greatest scientific discovery of mankind, and this bonehead decides to use it to become a peeping tom and to spy on his girlfriend. This vast and hugely unfortunate simplification of the potential for the story of an invisible man is both bitterly disappointing and more than a little insulting. As Roger Ebert mentions in his review of Hollow Man, it seems that director Paul Verhoeven, who directed such great films as RoboCop and Total Recall, seems to think that his audience is so intellectually dim that they prefer a mindless killer to the incredibly imaginative villain (or protagonist) that Dr. Sebastian Caine could have become.

Hollow Man is an absolutely fascinating display of brilliant special effects, which seem to map out internal anatomy just as good as any medical textbook, and is also a great deal of fun as the visible characters desperately try to make Dr. Caine visible again, but it is a dismal failure on the story level. The film starts out with a gigantic amount of intelligence, both that required for the development of an invisibility serum and that involved in the brilliant premise of the story, but winds up in the end as nothing more than yet another mindless thriller, completely lacking in thought and intrigue.
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It's good, it just isn't scary
Shecky J. O'Pootertoot12 August 2000
Hollow Man is a ride, baby. It isn't scary as the ads would have you believe, but I'll be dammed if it isn't one of the most entertaining horror flicks I've seen in a while. In this age of computer generated, digital effects I have a hard time telling good special effects from bad (they all start to look the same after a while), but this one has a few of the most impressive sequences I've ever seen on film. I assume this is one of the most special effect-intensive movies ever attempted (aside form the latest Star Wars), and they do dazzle, so it's a shame the story doesn't quite measure up. It starts to get a little tired in the third act, but what the hell, I was entertained.

Aside form Kevin Bacon, there were no real stand-out performances in Hollow Man. The invisibility serum seems to bring on severe emotional instability in animals, so Bacon's character decides to try it out on himself. Problem is, Kevin is already nuttier than squirrel turds so this is not the smartest of decisions, but he runs the project, so he calls the shots. Mayhem ensues. This is a really clever idea for a horror film, and the smart ways the scientists think of to detect Bacon in his invisible form never ceases to impress. It's nice to see technology has finally made it so that they can do just about anything you can think of in film.

Paul Verhoeven is what makes this movie most attractive for me. I really love his go-for-broke, over the top directing style, and it's put to good use in this one especially. He took a step in the right direction by distancing himself from hack-supreme Joe Esterhaus in the entertaining but flawed Starship Troopers, and now he's back on his feet again. I can just picture him screaming like a madman on set, frothing at the mouth for "more blood, MORE BLOOD!". He doesn't shy away from gore, violence, sex, or anything. He just jumps right in. I like that. This movie is worth about an 8/10 stars. Worth the price of admission for the effects alone. G'night!
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Shallow Man
mjw230513 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Hollow Man has the most basic of plots, a team of scientists are working on a formula to make living beings invisible, the leader of the team decide to try it out on himself, he goes mad and people die; it's as simple as that.

OK this movie is lacking in plot, but it still entertains with its action, suspense, thrills and superb special effects; not to mention that the cast are pretty good in their ultimately shallow roles.

For some easy on the eye and uncomplicated fun, Hollow man is not the worst choice you could make, it delivers most of what you need for an enjoyable action thriller, and the lack of depth doesn't take away from the fun all that much.

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Cheesy and Hollywood yet entertaining!
njmollo20 June 2007
"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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For fans of the sci fi and slasher genres, and fans of Kevin Bacon
lemon_magic6 November 2005
"Hollow Man" has enough strong performances, nice moments, and interesting plot turns to make for an mildly enjoyable film, as long as you don't think too hard about the plot. Visually, it is quite appealing and effective, and the soundtrack (especially the opening themes played over some effective and atmospheric opening credits) does a great job of adding some "oomph" to the action of screen. Keven Bacon is his usual on-screen self, and carries the film effectively, which is no small feat when consider that half the time he is either invisible or covered up in latex, which deprives him of most of an actor's most effective tools (his eyes and his mouth).In the scenes where he is covered in bandages, he has to get the character's emotions and presence out with body language and vocal cues, and even this is filtered through SFX. So I give him kudos for a professional, effective job in a difficult environment.

So why only a score of 5 out of 10? Having admitted that the film is enjoyable if you don't think too critically about it, I am now going to think critically about it for a minute.

Problem number one is Elizabeth Shue. Don't get me wrong, I think she is a very attractive woman, and she can hold her own as an actress in most movies. But she is horribly miscast here as a "top level research scientist" (just as she was in "The Saint"). She may come across as more than a typical "dumb blonde", but she's a clothes-horse, pure and simple, and I can't believe for a moment that she could get a PhD in the physical sciences. She's far more believable fending off Bacon's advances than she is playing "Pentagon Barbie". (The other two supporting actresses, who are by no means ugly or haggard, but still have considerably less "Vogue" cover potential, are quite believable in their roles).

Problem number two is a certain weakness in the script regarding how and why Bacon's character goes around the bend. The movie implies and foreshadows all kinds of reasons: Bacon is already a creep with a God-complex; the serum which turns him invisible is affecting his brain's neurochemistry; being invisible confers addictive power and opportunity he doesn't want to give up; invisibility creates an alienation and isolation from society...etc. But the script doesn't really drive any of these points home, and just flits from idea to idea without doing real justice to any of them. A line of dialog or two is meant to imply a whole series of attitudes and moral values changing, ("It's easier to sin when you don't have to look at yourself in the mirror", etc.), and even a pro like Bacon can't manage it in the space he is given.

Problem number three is (are) the escalating misogyny and graphic completeness of the voyeurism, molestation, and finally rape scenes included in the movie to convince the viewer that the Hollow Man is becoming a human monster. The first two scenes were bad enough (especially the CGI of a sleeping woman's bare breast being fondled), but perhaps necessary, but the final full blown rape scene was way too mean and misogynistic for my sensibilities. That scene didn't need to be there, and its inclusion makes it hard for me to recommend it to my more conservative friends...they would be angry at me if they watched this on my say-so and came upon these scenes unprepared, and they wouldn't buy or rent this movie if they knew these scenes were in it.

Problem number four is that the movie producers overreached themselves a bit with the invisible SFX...some of them, especially the transformation scenes, don't quite work. The figure struggling on the table is very plastic and inorganic-looking and doesn't convince. (Ironically, the first transformation scene, with the gorilla, works much better, possibly because our human eyes aren't as familiar with the textures and shapes of the simian physique). And here and there the articulation of the shoulders isn't quite right, or the swing of the hips. These deficiencies seem to be a common problem for 3D computer graphics of the human form, and they dog the animators here. Sometimes the animators get it, but sometimes they don't. I know it wasn't easy, but if they couldn't pull it off, they shouldn't have used it.

The last major problem was that the movie should have ended when Shue does her wonderful "base-stealing" slide into the elevator and hoses Bacon's character down with her home made flame thrower. That was a great moment, and should have been the climactic payoff for the film. Instead the movie staggered on for another 10-15 minutes in "Friday the 13th" territory with the Hollow Man popping back up from what should be mortal injuries again and again - who knew that naked invisible men could be so resilient?

So that's why only 5 out of 10. Too many problems and weakness to score this as a classic. But I do own this movie (bought it used) on VHS, and will buy it (used) on DVD if I find it cheap enough. Enjoy the eye candy and strong supporting performances and the many nice little touches here and there...if you are into that sort of thing.
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Entertaining Verhoeven Film
E. Catalan21 February 2004
It seems a lot of IMDB comments on this film are biased, in the sense that they try to compare it to an older version. True, "HOLLOW MAN" is a remake of sorts of "THE INVISIBLE MAN", but that's where the similarities end. "HOLLOW MAN" is an entertaining movie,period. If you watch a movie with the intention of finding as many flaws as possible, then you shouldn't watch movies in the first place. True, some movies are plain horrendous and unbearable, but "HOLLOW MAN" manages to entertain and make you think what YOU would do if you were invisible and if you had your ex getting laid with one of your friends. Kevin Bacon stars as a eccentric scientist who, along with a team of collaborators, discover the way to make animals invisible. Now his mission is to make them visible again. When this team of young scientists (working, as you might guess, for the Pentagon)think they have the formula for making animals visible again, Kevin bacon volunteers to be the first to try the new experimental drug. After that, of course, things go wrong, as Kevin Bacon remains invisible for the rest of the movie and is obliged to wear a latex mask, so his collaborators know where he is. Feelings of paranoia and desperation begin to take over Kevin's character, and when he finds out that his ex girlfriend AND collaborator (Elisabeth Shue) is having a torrid affair with another of the young scientists in the team, he finally snaps. The movie then turns into a hybrid of "ALIEN" and a slasher flick, but that's not saying it's a bad turn. There are scares and chills and the movie moves at a nice pace. The special effects are top notch (a quality always prevalent in ALL of Paul Verhoeven's films)as we get to see some "body reconstitution" sequences never seen on a movie before. If there's anything to complain about, perhaps, is the predictability of the situations herein; by the first hour of the movie you KNOW Kevin bacon will make the jump from being weird and eccentric to being a homicidal lunatic in the end. And the ending is a bit abrupt, but despite this, HOLLOW MAN is still worth watching. If you want to know what a TRULY bad movie is, then waste your money on "FEAR DOT COM" (With Stephen Dorf) or the even worse THE UNTOLD (or "Sasquatsh", with Land Henriksen). Now THAT is "hollow"! 8* out of 10*!
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"It's amazing what you can do when you don't have to look at yourself in the mirror anymore." I liked it.
Paul Andrews29 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Hollow Man starts as brilliant but flawed scientist Dr. Sebastian Caine (Kevin Bacon) finally works out how to make things visible again after having been turned invisible by his own serum. They test the serum on an already invisible Gorilla & it works perfectly, Caine & his team of assistant's celebrate but while he should report the breakthrough to his military backers Caine wants to be the first invisible human. He manages to persuade his team to help him & the procedure works well & Caine becomes invisible, however when they try to bring him back the serum fails & he remain invisible. The team desperately search for an antidote but nothing works, Caine slowly starts to lose his grip on reality as he realises what power he has but is unable to use it being trapped in a laboratory. But then again he's invisible right, he can do anything he wants...

Directed by Paul Verhoeven I rather liked Hollow Man. You know it's just after Christmas, I saw this a few hours ago on late night/early morning cable TV & worst of all I feel sick, not because of the film but because of the chocolates & fizzy pop I've had over the past week so I'll keep this one brief. The script by Andrew W. Marlowe has a decent pace about but it does drag a little during the middle & has a good central premise, it takes he basic idea that being invisible will make you insane just like in the original The Invisible Man (1933) film which Hollow Man obviously owes a fair bit. It manages to have a petty successful blend of horror, sci-fi & action & provide good entertainment value for 110 odd minutes. I thought the character's were OK, I thought some of the ideas in the film were good although I think it's generally known that Verhoeven doesn't deal in subtlety, the first thing he has the invisible Caine do is sexually molest one of his team & then when he gets into the outside world he has Caine rape a woman with the justification 'who's going to know' that Caine says to himself. Then of course there's the gore, he shows a rat being torn apart & that's just the opening scene after the credits, to be fair to him the violence is a bit more sparse this time around but still has a quite nasty & sadistic tone about it. Having said that I love horror/gore/exploitation films so Hollow Man delivers for me, it's just that it might not be everyone's cup of tea.

Director Verhoeven does a great job, or should that be the special effects boys make him look good. The special effects in Hollow Man really are spectacular & more-or-less flawless, their brilliant & it's as simple & straight forward as that. There's some good horror & action set-pieces here as well even if the climatic fight is a little over-the-top. I love the effect where Kevin Bacon disappears one layer at a time complete with veins, organs & bones on full show or when the reverse happens with the Gorilla. There's a few gory moments including a rat being eaten, someone is impaled on a spike & someone has their head busted open with blood splattering results.

With a staggering budget of about $95,000,000 Hollow Man is technically faultless, I can imagine the interviews on the DVD where some special effects boffin says they mapped Bacon's entire body out right down to he last vein which they actually did because you know everyone watching would notice if one of his veins were missing or in the wrong position wouldn't they? The acting was OK, Bacon made for a good mad scientist anti-hero type guy.

Hollow Man is one of hose big budget Hollwood extravaganzas where the effects & action take center stage over any sort of meaningful story or character's but to be brutally honest sometimes we all like that in a film, well I know I do. Good solid big budget entertainment with a slightly nastier & darker streak than the usual Hollywood product, definitely worth a watch.
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Fast-paced and occasionally exciting, but ultimately disappointing.
Li-112 April 2003
** out of ****

I've seen Hollow Man twice now, the first time in theaters, where I had the distinct impression that I'd seen a fast-paced thriller that was nonetheless entirely disposable and unfulfilling. Seeing the film again, I had the exact same feeling. Hollow Man is a film of great potential, packed with terrific special effects and a surprisingly engaging cast (the exceptions being Josh Brolin and Elisabeth Shue). So when the movie goes to cliche hell in its final 1/3, you'll be very disappointed even though the action is still entertaining.

Kevin Bacon stars as Sebastian Caine, a scientist working with a diverse crew in an underground laboratory on a military project. The goal: to achieve the power of invisibility, as well as the ability to return to a visible state. Caine, being the egotistical hothead that he is, performs the procedure on himself, but finds he is unable to return to his human state. With Caine growing further and further mad, the rest of the crew try to find a way to revert him back to his normal state, not knowing Caine is beginning to prefer his invisibility and will do anything to keep it.

The first half-hour of Hollow Man is the best, when we're introduced to these wow-inducing, eye-popping visual effects. This is also the point where the story holds the most potential, before devolving into B-grade land. Now, most people seem to agree that the film would have worked a lot better if it had focused on Bacon brandishing his invisibility on the outside world, and there is a ten-minute segment where he does do this, but it's also arguably the film's worst part.

The reason? That's easy, it's because he rapes Rhona Mitra. Apparently, director Paul Verhoeven seemed very satisfied with just presenting this rape, as if though to make a statement about man's human nature and what we'd do if we didn't have to face up to the consequences. That's fine and all, I'm for a little depth here and there, but it disturbs me that he doesn't address Mitra's character further. Here's a woman who's been raped by an invisible man, and we're simply supposed to accept this scene and not wonder about the effect this will have on her psychological state (think about it this way, unless the military goes public with all the invisibility stuff, there's no way she wouldn't know if she'd be attacked again). This is where the movie truly goes awry.

The last half-hour is essentially Caine going around, knocking off all the lab workers, and while it's uninspired material, it's still rather exciting to watch, if only because Verhoeven is a skilled action director who really knows how to make us squirm and cringe at the sight of blood and guts. But by the time it's all over, though I found myself mildly entertained, there was still a bad taste in my mouth from the filmmakers' poor decision-making and routine route they chose for the film.
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A very good B movie
hung_fao_tweeze2 October 2009
True - this seems like a modernization of 'Invisible Man'. I enjoyed the 'Invisible Man'. I enjoyed this movie, too. (This is along the lines of the old 'The Thing From Outer Space' compared to Carpenter's 'The Thing'. Both movies work.) Don't try to look for any hard-core explanations of the technical-kind here. Ultimately it is a really good B movie along the order of something fun or entertaining to watch on a boring Sunday like we used to when we were kids. Yes, you know what's going to happen (Just like B movies) - the villain dies...duh! But getting there was fun. Very good special effects - probably worth the viewing alone. Top notch gorilla suit!! Kevin Bacon is good though the character is a shallow vehicle to carry the story. Every one else is slight as well but the story carries just fine. I'll watch it again for sure.
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Remember 1933? Well, neither do I.
Jack the Ripper188830 July 2002
Warning: Spoilers
HOLLOW MAN is one of the better horror films of the past decade. The sub-plot is original and the main plot is even better. The special effects are brilliant and possibly the best I have ever seen in a horror film. Kevin Bacon proves again that he can handle any role that comes his way.

Claude Rains shocked the world with THE INVISIBLE MAN in 1933, well now, Kevin Bacon has shocked *us* with HOLLOW MAN. One of the most thrilling horror films ever. The action is intense and the chills are true. You may actually find yourself jumping if you are watching it in the dark on a stormy night. The supporting cast includes Elizabeth Shue, Josh Brolin, Kim Dickens, Joey Slotnick, Greg Grunberg, and Mary Randle. All of whom do an exceptional job.


Dr. Sebastian Caine (Kevin Bacon) and his team have discovered the secret to making someone invisible. After animal testings, they move on to human testing. But someone has to be the subject. Volenteering, Caine is turned invisible. But when his team is unable to bring back into visibility, Caine is driven mad by his condition as he seeks his revenge...*end spoilers*

The film has created memorable shock sequences and is destined to become a classic well into the next century. Becoming the basis for a spoof joke in SCARY MOVIE 2, this film grabs you by the throat and never lets go. The first 45 minutes or so are slow, developing the characters and showing how their experiments work. The second half is exciting and appealing to most action and horror fans. Think of DEEP BLUE SEA. Then change the sharks into an crazy invisible man. And then change the water into fire and explosions. A rehashing of a killer shark movie. Interesting... HOLLOW MAN gets 5/5.
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Superman and Wonder Woman
Mickey Knox12 December 2000
Warning: Spoilers
(some spoilers) - as if you wouldn't know how it'll end

My expectations for HOLLOW MAN were high. A very good commercial, a director like Paul Verhoeven and actors like Kevin Bacon and Elisabeth Shue, plus a very interesting theme - invisibility. Every premise for a great movie was accomplished. Unfortunately these things didn't matter at all. The movie was very very week, without suspense and awfully predictable.

It's all about a bunch of scientists who discovered invisibility. After the tests on animals succeeded, Kevin Bacon decides to test it on himself. Once he's invisible, he changes completely, realizing the advantages of not being seen. From this to murder there's a very thin line.

Hollow Man is an ill movie. It suffers of the disease that many new movies have: the special effects. From a challenging theme that could have lead the producers to a great tensed psychological thriller, Verhoeven ruins everything focusing only on special effects, without giving a damn about the real value of the movie. I must admit, the fx are awesome, probably the best i have seen since Matrix, but that's not enough to make a movie good. Actually that's the problem with the movies today. Just like Verhoeven, most directors care only about spectacular scenes - and nothing more. The exceptions are very few, and probably the Matrix is the only movie that combines perfectly fabulous special effects and great plot.

After Starship Troopers, Verhoeven disappoints again. In stead of a great film, HM is cr*p. There are only 2 reasons why you could watch this movie: 1. the special effects 2. the joke with Superman and Wonder Woman (i won't spoil this moment for you...)

Okay, so what went wrong with the movie? Everything. Let's see what i can remember.

--- It's not tensed at all. It should've been, but it's not.

--- It's too predictable . You know from the beginning who will die and who will live.

--- In stead of focusing on the psychological part, Verhoeven cares only about the effects.

--- Very many cliches.

--- Of course the bad guy wakes up a few times before dying.

--- Just like in every low quality horror, the first rule is to let the characters separate as much as possible. Every time there is somebody alone in the lab, perfect victim for Bacon.

--- Some holes in the plot. Example: at the beginning, Bacon has to scan his finger to enter the lab. After he's invisible, how can he do that?

--- The ending: absolutely horrible.

--- After Shue hits Bacon in the head, Bacon falls down to the ground. Then Shue and Brolin leave quietly and slowly, without looking back. Is that normal? Then Bacon gets up, attacks them, they "kill" him again. And then Shue screams "I heard an explosion" (happened minutes ago), and they suddenly run inside. Didn't she hear that explosion some time before?

--- There's a scene in which you can see the microphones hanging above the actors. Come on, Mr Verhoeven , i expected much more from you!

So that's about Hollow Man. What was supposed to be a great movie turned into a scam.

Vote: 4 out of 10 (for the special effects)
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"What bothers you most?" This movie...
Ryan13 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The Invisible Man is a fantastic movie from 1933, a cutting edge film for it's time where objects appeared to rest on top of a man who was truly invisible. Go ahead, take a look at the film, you will be shocked that it was made in 1933, it was the first true special effects movie. Come 2000, computer aided special effects seem like child's play, audiences are not blown away by special effects, instead they are disappointed if they are not done right. The special effects in Hollow Man, the update of the HG Wells story, are OK, but not the biggest problem with this film directed by Paul Verhoeven, who you might remember from Showgirls and Total Recall. Kevin Bacon plays Sebastian Caine, a scientist dabbling in the world of bio-invisibilation (yeah, I know that's not a word) but of course is battling higher ups who are threatening to take away the team's funding. So, as movie characters who are about to have their funding cutoff are prone to do, he makes the ultimate sacrifice and becomes a guinea pig for the invisibilation (yeah, I know, I used that non-word again) process. The process has dire consequences, no Caine does not die, but instead becomes a horny, violent creature, aka a guy. Now that he's invisible, Caine stalks a sexy neighbor, a co-worker, former girlfriend Linda (Elisabeth Shue), and the man who took away his funding. Then a funny thing happens, Caine becomes a new supernatural being, "The Thing That Won't Die." Laughing in the face of all things natural, Caine faces down death and spits in it's face, as it take what feels like hours for this creature to die, dragging the ending of the movie out. The movie is silly, stupid, and finally laughable with the way realism is sometimes used, sometimes not. There are neat possibilities in Hollow Man, but of course, not one of them is explored. For a more interesting look at an invisible being, get ready for some good old-fashioned black and white cinema, and check out the 1933 Invisible Man. Kevin Bacon will still be invisible when you come back, probably still alive at the bottom of a volcano.
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It's About Time For A Great Sci-Fi Film!
julianhwescott6 April 2001
I received this film as a gift and really wasn't expecting it to be so great but I was suprised as I began watching it and really got involved. Most science fiction fare of today isn't that good, however while watching, I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next. I began thinking that it is about time for a good sci-fi film with so much suspense. My heart was racing and my brain was running amok with every frame of this film. I don't know why most people didn't like this movie that much since the acting is good, the script is brilliant, the special effects are great, film editing is outstanding, and you have to admit that the cinematography is beautiful--look at the vivid colors all throughout the film! The storyline has enough blow-aways and suprises to keep my interest. Who could ask for anything more? An excellent film definitely worth seeing!
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It's amazing what you can do... when you don't have to look at yourself in the mirror any more.
Spikeopath1 July 2015
It was the film that convinced director Paul Verhoeven to leave Hollywood and take a break from film making. His reasoning being that any Hollywood director could have made Hollow Man, a big effects led movie that made a lot of cash at the box office. It's this that is the main problem with the picture, it lacks some of the director's bite and satirical savagery, even the souped up sex (natural or deviant) that often comes with his productions. Yet devoid of expectations of a Verhoeven masterpiece, and the crushing realisation that it basically wastes its potential and plays out as a haunted house stalk movie - it's a good energetic popcorner.

It quickly becomes obvious that we are entering special effects extravaganza, the opening credits are dynamite, sci-fi sexy, then the opening gambit sequence literally grabs us and a rodent by the throat. From here on in we are treated to grade "A" effects and some genius ways of exposing "the invisible" Sebastian Caine (Kevin Bacon) to us and the prey he soon comes to hunt. Unfortunately the whole cast performances are a much of a muchness, and playing a roll call of sci-fi stereotypes. All involved here have done much better work in their sleep, but they put the bums on theatre seats and ultimately this works as one of those movies designed to thrill and awe the senses - but not the brain. 6.5/10
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You won't find anyone more disappointed with Hollow Man than Paul Verhoeven
TheMarwood25 December 2014
Paul Verhoeven has said he made Hollow Man for all the wrong reasons and this studio hack job is definitely his least personal work. Missing is his usual satirical wit and replaced with a brain dead screenplay about a hot shot scientist who turns himself invisible and goes bananas. The first thing Sebastian does as an invisible man is feel up his co-worker's breasts and then follows that with raping his beautiful neighbor. This sounds like prime deranged Verhoeven comedic stuff, but this is so poorly executed and so bereft of his skills that it plays out as by the numbers trash. The characters are all unlikable and Elizabeth Shue is downright awful as the lead. Whether it's a smug smirk or embarrassing dialogue delivery, she gives a terrible performance. The rest of the cast can never rise above the junk plotting and wretched dialogue. Hollow Man turns into a slasher by the second act and the film goes on autopilot - dispatching of less important characters, which can come as a welcome relief as we'll never have to listen to their awful characters speak again. This is D grade material, with scientists that wouldn't tax the smarts of your standard hormonal idiot in a slasher film. The vfx are well done, but Verhoeven's talents are wasted on this nonsense.
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Entertaining just enough, but ultimately hollow
Wuchak12 September 2014
I remember really looking forward to "Hollow Man" when it came out in 2000 because the idea of becoming invisible is intriguing. I was entertained when I saw it, but also somewhat disappointed; an odd mix. Viewing it again last night I was wondering if I'd have the same impression and the answer is yes.

The story revolves around a group of young-ish scientists (who are too edgy and "hip" to be believable) working on a serum for the government that can make people invisible. Their secret lab is underground in an industrial sector of Washington DC. They've been experimenting on animals, including a gorilla, with some success, but the group leader, Sebastian (Kevin Bacon), wants to take the next step by prematurely experimenting on himself. Havok ensues.

Elisabeth Shue and Josh Brolin play key teammembers, Linda and Matthew. Linda is also Sebastian's ex-girlfriend who's secretly seeing Matthew, which stirs Sebastian's jealousy when he finds out. (But why should he care since he's no longer seeing her?)

I don't know if it's the fault of the director or writer, but they go a little overboard in trying to make the protagonists edgy (overkill cussing, etc.) to the point that the characters somewhat lose the viewer's sympathy. Thankfully, it's just a little overboard because most of the rest of the researchers are likable beyond Sebastian. And Linda and Matthew weren't really doing anything wrong by seeing each other since, again, Linda was no longer Sebastian's babe.

Even though one member of the team morphs into the villain, he's not without interesting qualities in the first half of the movie. In fact, I can't help but respect his "we're the originators of this project so we make the rules" attitude and his consequent refusal to submit to the manipulative authorities over him.

While there are some outside sequences (shot in DC and L.A.) the bulk of the film is confined to the underground lab, shot on sets in Culver City. The good thing is that these sets are excellent, as far as underground labs go, but it makes for a one-dimensional viewing.

Memorable and amusing parts abound, however, like the excellent F/X of the partially appearing/disappearing gorilla and, later, Sebastian. Also, the amusing way invisible-Sebastian has some fun with a couple of kids in another car. There's also a laugh-out-loud joke about Superman, Wonder Woman and the "Invisible Man," crude though it may be. I also like the double meaning of the title: Sebastian isn't just a hollow man literally, but also due to his ignoble character -- arrogance, lust, etc.

While "Hollow Man" is a sci-fi/thriller it takes on horror elements and clichés in the final act as the researchers are wiped out one by one. Who will survive? So, while "Hollow Man" is worth watching, it's far from great, mainly because it fails to take advantage of the promising material and essentially becomes a one-dimensional boogeyman movie.

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Not a 'Hollow' Thriller
Derek Rushlow26 August 2005
"Hollow Man" is about an arrogant but brilliant scientist (Kevin Bacon) who leads a team of other scientists (including former girlfriend Elisabeth Shue and her new flame, Josh Brolin) on a quest to develop a serum that can make people invisible. When Bacon becomes invisible, however, chaos ensues.

The film was a lot of fun, with excellent special effects and a thrilling ending. The concept that "Do you REALLY think you're along?" works very well here, and is emphasized in many scenes. When he was interviewed, screenwriter Andrew W. Marlowe said that he wanted to go more for the psychology of it. It just doesn't work as a sci-if/action thriller, it also has some psychological thriller overtones.

Even though it gets increasingly bloody as it goes along, "Hollow Man" still manages to deliver the goods. The film also stars Kim Dickens, Greg Grunberg, Joey Slotnick, and Mary Randle as the scientists, and William Devane as their boss. It was directed by Dutch director Paul Verhoeven (Total Recall, Robocop).

If you like science fiction, action, and even psychological thrillers, "Hollow Man" is for you. It also works well as a 21st-century twist on the H.G. Wells classic "The Invisible Man."
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kurtman-34 August 2000
The Hollow Man was a great film. It was scary and an on the edge of your seat thriller. Kevin did a great job as the scientist with a god complex and Elizabeth Shue also did a good job as the big breasted bimbo who had brains. Yes a bimbo! Most of the clothes she wears are tight and meant to show breasts. The beginning is good, with more character development in it then usual for this kind of film. While the end turns into a fantabulous horror film with blood galore. Mix in some female (some women) and male (Kevin Bacon) nudity we got ourselves a great film. The only bad thing was that the highly touted special F/X where Kevin turns invisible were only good not great and for the hype they should have been better. The movement of the character was good but it just didn't look real enough for me but don't worry about it because the rest of the special effects are very good and the action is excellent. I give this film 3* out of 4*.
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Hollow reviews don't a hollow picture make
Chris_Docker29 August 2000
Oh dear, many people are not going to take kindly to this Verhoevenesque update on the Invisible Man. Verhoeven makes blockbusters, and Hollow Man will be as vilified as his earlier Basic Instinct, Starship Troopers, or Total Recall - whilst at the same time raking in the box-office takings. If you accept the genre where plot and dialogue are allowed to be thin, some gratuitous nudity can be woven seamlessly as one of the 'success' ingredients of the popular movie, and the stars cavort with explosions and optically-challenging special effects, then you can sit back and enjoy this sci-fi horror flick without feeling guilty. On that level, I thought it was superb. Elizabeth Shue and Kevin Bacon give energy-packed (if "hollow") performances and the scary bits made me jump enough times to make me feel I'd got my money's worth. Hollow Man often appeals to the lowest common denominator in audiences but if you don't think that prohibits it from being good entertainment, go out and enjoy it!
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How Did This Make It To Cinema?
rob_fernandes8 October 2000
Warning: Spoilers
I get to the cinema every week or so, and regularly check out this site, but never before have I felt compelled to comment on a film.

To my all time list of shockingly bad films - Last Man Standing, Spawn, The Bone Collector - I can now add the drivel that was 'Hollow Man'.

From the awful opening titles - a ridiculously over-long run through of cast and crew put together with alphabetti spaghetti - through to the insulting finale - a world record number of cliches and some of the most absurd dialogue and acting to have ever made it to cinema - this film is dismal, and only the impressive computer graphics keep you from walking out long before the end.

This isn't just my opinion - it was that of my friends, and everyone around us. When large sections of an audience are laughing and groaning during and after a serious thriller, its clear that the film is hopeless.

Not only that, it was sick too. The director took the action beyond the bounds of realistic fare for a violent film, and into the realms of an over the top blood soaked B-movie. It's difficult not to imagine the director as some sort of dirty old man, because the extent of the invisible man's forays out of the lab and into the outside world extended only to two attempts at having a feel of some breasts. Perhaps sex could well be the first thing on a bloke's mind if made invisible, but aside from the aesthetic pleasures of the ladies involved, it hardly makes entertaining cinema.

Get past the films sick exterior, and things are even worse. Whilst Kevin Bacon does a good job of acting increasingly twisted as 'hollow man', the rest of them - perhaps handicapped by a dire script - do an even better job of being hollow cast. One long time member of the team is found strangled in a locker by the invisible man, "He's finally snapped" shrugs one colleague without a hint of emotion. This is par for the course, and the lab team swing between sheer terror and complete indifference with such speed that you wonder how they got into acting. They pad their way through the lab corridors terrified, guns poised, but then seconds later one of the crew skips happily off back down the corridor to get blood for a hurt colleague. The lead female treats the invisible man with courtesy and good humour even after he's insulted and abused her, and there seems to be little reaction to his breakouts, even after he drowns the Pentagon chief, "He drowned in his pool last night" reports the same female, spectacularly failing to put two and two together.

The script is littered with this kind of badly acted pedestrian dialogue, and the rest is just an A-Z of film cliches, which get laid on thicker and faster as the film progresses to the point of complete disbelief and amusement at the end.

The 'eureka' moment at the computer, the female undressing at the window, the looped security video - the list really is endless - the predictable disregard for strength in numbers, the decision not to kill the two main stars but just put them in a place of probable impending death and leave them to their own devices, the almost-dead good guy appearing out of nothing to save the woman, the bomb and ubiquitous countdown timer, the fireball explosion which just burns up before reaching the heroes, the falling lift which just stops before hitting them, and more than anything else, the immortality of the bad guy.

The invisible man is burnt to a shred with a makeshift flame-thrower, electrocuted, whacked round the head with a bar which had just sliced straight through one of the lesser actors, and then having apparently survived the explosion, fireball and total destruction of the labs, has more than enough life left to climb up through the fireball for one last pop at the films heroes - by which stage the disbelieving audience are cringing and looking at their watches.

That this exceptionally bad film actually made it to the cinema is astounding. Even the name of the film is as hopeless as the movie itself, and not even impressive special effects come anywhere near saving this one, which should be avoided at all costs.
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