Saturday, August 4, 2018

Military Man, Mad Man: Hollow Man II (2006)

Hollow Man II (2006)
Rating: ***
Starring: Christian Slater, Peter Facinelli, Laura Regan

I fondly remember Hollow Man (2000) as a kid for (its time's) impressive special effects and I still find it a fun watch to these very days for it's easy-to-digest slasher-friendly modernized The Invisible Man plotting and hammy Kevin Bacon acting. Hollow Man II, however, didn't came to my full attention until a year or two ago when I finally decided to give it a whirl as a possible coverage for this blog. I was aware of its existence around its time of release, but after sitting through some terrible DTV sequels back then (namely Mimic 3: Sentinel and House of the Dead 2), this sequel hardly became a priority and, after seeing it, I can honestly say it still isn't.

Still, I wouldn't say it's not without its own set of good notes.

Linking itself to the first Hollow Man film by a shoestring, Hollow Man II follows the desperate and murderous escapades of one Michael Griffin (Christian Slater), a soldier-turned-assassin handpicked by the US government to undergo the same invisibility experiment being perfected back at the first film, as he kills his way to get a cure for his condition, finding himself slowly rotting away as his cells slowly dies as a side effect of having too much sunlight passing through his body.

After crashing a cocktail party attended by a scientist who knows the whereabouts of a formula that can prevent his body from going full mush (and killing him after for good measure), Griffin proceeds to target Maggie Dalton (Laura Regan), the very biologist who can concoct the cure he is looking for. Unbeknownst to him, the military is well aware of his rampage and sends out Detective Frank Turner (Peter Facinelli) as an impromptu bodyguard for Dalton without divulging too much info with what he'll be dealing with, which of course leads to Griffin killing Turner's partner and the detective-biologist duo going on the run.

Comparing this to the original, Hollow Man II's budget is noticeably lower but it did find a way to make it's invisible assassin concept work as well as it can with what little it have. In fact, cut out the matter that this movie is supposed to be a sequel and we still get a solid standalone scifi horror thriller with a few decent kills, passable special effects and a serviceable story expanding the Hollow Man universe quite a bit. With its stable pace and very able casts, the movie's direction gave this direct to video flick a smooth and polished look, all the while evoking a few fair scares and tension so while it is flawed, it is far from being the suspected trash I thought it'll be so many years ago.

I guess a better set of kills and attacks would have made me like this film a lot more, but the real nitpick I have here is Slater's uneven take on his invisible killer: during the scenes he is visible, he does an okay job being a creep, but come the parts he is transparent and he simply sounds like your typical B-grade homicidal thriller villain from the 90s. Cocky and brash with a hint of  cartoonish ham. Nevertheless, it dents the film very lightly so no big deal.

Definitely could have been a lot better, Hollow Man II is a fairly conceptualized either ways and could worth an hour and a half of your time if you have little to do for the moment. Wouldn't say it's a keep, but it does make a fun rental!

1 male had his throat cut with a broken cellphone
1 female bludgeoned with a lamp
3 males seen murdered
1 male stabbed on the eye with a letter opener
1 male seen strangled (flashback)
1 male had his neck broken from falling down a flight of stairs (flashback)
1 male mentioned drowned
1 male had his neck broken
1 male hit by an incoming car
1 male hacked with a shovel
Total: 12

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