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Hollow Man

Imagine a new film where the main character becomes invisible. Now imagine this film as seen through the eyes of a teenage boy. The result is Hollow Man, a great looking film with eye-popping special effects and a juvenile script. Invisibility is a fascinating subject, and Hollow Man tries sporadically to examine its psychological effect, but does not quite succeed. The invisible man this time is Sebastian Caine (Kevin Bacon, Stir of Echoes, My Dog Skip), a brilliant but arrogant scientist. Caine and his team successfully concocted a formula that renders subjects invisible, but a second formula that makes them visible again is eluding their grasp. When they do discover the latter, Caine is eager (a little too eager) and volunteers himself as the first human experiment.

Of course, the antidote does not work on him, leaving him invisible. Andrew Marlowe (Air Force One, End of Days) and co-screenwriter Gary Scott Thompson portray Caine as unbalanced. Prolonged invisibility tips the scales even more. The first thing he does is fondle a coworker. Later, he sneaks in for a closer look at his perennially undressing voluptuous neighbor. Real high brow stuff here. He also enjoys listening to his coworkers and playing tricks on them. His ex-girlfriend and fellow scientist Linda McKay (Elisabeth Shue, Cousin Bette, Molly) is secretly seeing another researcher, Matthew Kensington (Josh Brolin, The Mod Squad, Best Laid Plans). The other people in the lab are the typical throwaway characters that appear briefly only to be savagely murdered later when Caine inevitable goes crazy and decides to kill everyone. Caine, McKay and Kensington are only too eager to throw medical ethics out the window in favor of potential fame later. The script relies too often on typical horror movie cliches and ignores any opportunities for original thought. None of the actors are credible as scientists, and there is little science in the movie. And for interested women, Kevin's "bacon" (last seen in Wild Things) also makes an unintentionally amusing cameo.

This is the latest movie from Paul Verhoeven (Showgirls, Starship Troopers), who is sometimes able to create new and unique worlds (Robocop, Total Recall). Here, it is just a spiffy lab underneath a run-down warehouse. The redeeming factor in Hollow Man is the special effects. Thanks to Scott Anderson and Imageworks, Caine miraculously disappears in front of his coworkers' eyes, one layer at a time. It is an eerie sight, watching his skin, then muscles, blood vessels, organs, and lungs slowly disappear, leaving the impression of his body on a bed. The only way anyone can see Caine is with the use special goggles that can detect heat. Later, he dons a latex mask with eyeholes. Look into the holes and all anyone sees is the back of the latex mask. When Caine passes through smoke or splashes water on his face, and eerie likeness appears, and it actually resembles Bacon. What most filmmakers seem to forget is that special effects cannot always save a movie from a bad script. In this case, the script is not bad, it's just overly familiar, leaving Hollow Man hollow, man.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 54 minutes, Rated R for strong violence, language, and some sexuality/nudity.

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