The only thing that strikes the imagination in this invisible man saga is the manner in which the subjects are made to disappear and reappear. Beyond that, “Hollow Man” is gory and annoying.
Kevin Bacon plays Sebastian Caine, a hot rod of a research scientist working on a highly classified project in the bowels of an abandoned warehouse in Washington D.C. Sponsored by the Pentagon, Caine’s task is to render beings invisible and then bring them back in one piece. He’s still in the animal testing phase and we discover that making things disappear is a whole lot easier than bringing them back without turning them into gory blobs of meat. In his underground lab, he is aided by a slick group of ever-so-young colleagues that make you wonder why the Pentagon would entrust such a dangerous and important project to this major bunch of whippersnappers. Second in command is Linda McKay (Elizabeth Shue), Sebastian’s former girlfriend, who is now having a secret affair with co-worker Matthew Kensington, well played by Josh Brolin. This paves the way for some major conflict later on.
As we very soon discover, Sebastian has a God-complex. He believes he is one and even states it on several occasions. “I’m a god…..genius” he says. Oh yeah, then why didn’t he figure out what was going to happen when he injected himself with the invisibility serum? There sure were enough clues around, like the gorilla named Isabelle who became exceedingly aggressive and mentally unstable when she was invisible for too long. Voila, Sebastian turns into a demented fiend. And his co-workers thought he was a pain in the butt before!
Of all the interesting things a brilliant scientist could do with being invisible, Sebastian’s only creative moments are rustling his colleagues’ hair or worse, sexually abusing women. Included are the beginnings of a rape scene. It’s all pretty revolting.
The flaws lie in the story, mainly predictable and in the casting with the exception maybe of Brolin who was both amiable and serious. Bacon’s okay, but we’ve seen him in all too many loony films before. I didn’t believe for one minute that Shue was a top researcher or that perky Kim Dickens as Sarah was supposed to be an extraordinary veterinarian on staff. William Devane has a bit part as a military man in charge of the project and he’s always good. Too bad the part wasn’t larger. As for the acting, someone should tell Shue that when you’re locked in a freezer wearing only skimpy clothing and it’s 20 degrees and dropping, she should be chattering uncontrollably despite the need to creatively get out of there and Brolin needs to remember that someone with a major gash in his stomach isn’t going to leap tall buildings in a single bound afterwards. Back to Acting 101.
Lotta says this could have been a good psychological thriller, but instead it’s a stupid gore-fest and I did not appreciate the cavalier attitude of animal research.
R-rated for violence, language, sexual situations and nudity.