Movies of “Hollow Man 2’s” ilk always make me wonder if the screenwriters are lazy or just uncreative. By which I mean, why do they always dabble in the same old B-movie cliché over and over again, seemingly unconcern about originality in the least bit? If the culprit of these movies isn’t the Guv’ment, it’s an Evil Corporation. To wit: Evil Guv’ment/Corporation, in their quest to achieve a goal (for the Evil Guv’ment it’s always to make the “perfect solder”, while in the case of the Evil Corporation it’s always to make a buck), has their Experiment Gone Awry â„¢, which results in the Experiment taking revenge by either killing or eating everything in sight, before returning to munch on its creators toward the end of the movie because, being the lazy and uncreative screenwriters they are, this is supposed to be “poetic justice” or some such.
It’s really quite amazing how these screenwriters, when they sit down to write these amazingly clich’d movies, never seem to think, “Gee, didn’t 5 million other B-movie writers already wrote this exact same movie? Maybe I should try something a little different… Naaaaaaah.” But I digress.
“Hollow Man 2”, the indirect sequel to the 2000 movie by Paul Verhoeven, stars former A-list actor Christian Slater as Michael Griffin, a Special Forces soldier who volunteers for an experimental invisible program conducted by the Evil Guv’ment in order to — you guessed it — create The Perfect Soldier â„¢. As dictated by the Big Book of B-Movie Clich’s, the experiment does indeed turn Griffin invisible, but with unexpected results. Years later, Griffin is on the loose and appears to have gone batty, and is determined to locate scientist Maggie Dalton (Laura Regan), one of the researchers on the project, and get a new batch of “buffer” drugs needed to keep him alive.
Of course, having created him in the first place for their own nefarious ends (the term “national security” is thrown around a lot, probably because the screenwriters think it makes them look “current”), the Evil Guv’ment is now out to kill Griffin in order to silence him and maintain The Evil Guv’ment Conspiracy â„¢ and all that good B-movie stuff. And since they’re so gosh darn evil and whatnot, they’re going to use poor Maggie as the bait to lure in Griffin . That is, unless loose cannon cop Frank Turner (Peter Facinelli) can save the day. (And if you were wondering, Yes, Turner is indeed fond of black leather coats and facial stubble, and he even comes complete with a by-the-book female partner and a superior officer who is constantly getting “ulcers” thanks to Turner’s loose cannon type ways.)
Cripes, they’re not even trying.
Basically a rehash of all the plot points you’ve seen countless times in other Evil Guv’ment Experiment to Create the Perfect Soldier Gone Awry â„¢ movies, plus a helping of supposedly “hard-hitting” political jabs at the current state of American national security, “Hollow Man 2” has little going for it besides the title. And considering how poorly received the original was when it premiered six years ago, you have to question even the existence of a sequel. (And judging by the ending of “Hollow Man 2”, one gets the feeling producer Joel Soisson is up to his old tricks of, “If one film is good, why not shoot two back-to-back and release them a year apart?”)
“Hollow Man 2” doesn’t even make any real great use of its invisible man, having Griffin do little more than run around choking or beating people to death — so basically it’s actors pretending to be beaten or choke to death. Whoopee-do. The film’s big action sequence happens at the end, when Turner takes the invisible serum himself and goes invisible in order to fight Griffin . The fight occurs in the rain, and one suspects that the film’s entire special effects budget was blown right there. And proving that they’ve at least seen Verhoeven’s original, there’s even a totally superfluous sequence where Griffin, on his way to get Maggie, takes a little detour to watch a couple of neighborhood kids make a porno video. The girl in the scene does flash some natural breasts, so I guess that’s something.
There’s really not a whole lot about “Hollow Man 2” to get excited about, and even Christian Slater seems to know this. As the movie’s only big name, Slater is little more than a voice, appearing briefly for a full minute of screentime before going “invisible” again. Not bad work if you can get it. Director Claudio Fah directs without any real enthusiasm, and the film itself was designed to be made on a small budget, devoid of any real “cool” moments, with the big climactic fight in the rain less than thrilling. The leads are cardboard characters running through a clich’d script, so you can’t really fault them for phoning it in. The Evil Head of the Conspiracy is played by David McIlwraith, who gets to make dire pronouncements and order people to be killed “at all costs” and all that good stuff Evil Heads of Conspiracies always do in these movies.
But since “Hollow Man 2” is such a by-the-numbers B-movie bore, it allowed me the time to think about this: Wouldn’t it be cool if someone made a movie about a place where all of these failed Evil Guv’ment Experiment to Create the Perfect Soldier Gone Awry â„¢ were stored? I mean, there must be thousands of failed experiments there, according to all the movies about them, from invisible super soldiers to animal super soldiers to half-man, half-mosquito super soldiers. I’m sure there would even be bat super soldiers, or lizard super soldiers, etc. Think of the possibilities! I’m telling you, if anyone wanted to make this movie, I’m sure the Sci Fi Channel would gobble it up in a heartbeat and make it another “Sci Fi Original Movie”.
Call me, Joel Soisson. Let’s do lunch!
Claudio FÃ¤h (director) / Joel Soisson, Gary Scott Thompson, Andrew W. Marlowe (screenplay)
CAST: Christian Slater …. Michael Griffin
Peter Facinelli …. Frank Turner
Laura Regan …. Dr. Maggie Dalton
David McIlwraith …. Dr. William Reisner
William MacDonald …. Col. Gavin Bishop
Sarah Deakins …. Lisa Martinez
Jessica Harmon …. Heather Dalton