Great SFX, hollow film
The special effects they got right.
Too bad no one has yet developed special effects that can take the place of good directing, writing and acting.
Animals and people aren't the only things that are invisible in Hollow Man.
Thanks to the unbelieveable absurdity of the dialogue, wooden characters and a story that goes nowhere, Hollow Man is an empty movie.
Visually compelling, this contemporary version of H G Wells' The Invisible Man revolves around Sebastian Caine (Kevin Bacon), an egomaniacal and gifted scientist working on a top-secret, Pentagon-funded project aimed at developing a process to render human beings invisible and then safely visible again.
He's the sneering, leering king of a high-security, underground research lab where he works with his ex-flame Linda (Elisabeth Shue), her new (and hidden) lover Matt (Josh Brolin), and a team of assistants who may as well have been the invisible ones, so sketchily are they drawn.
Caine recklessly tests his invisibility potion on himself and you watch the geneticist dissolve layer by layer into nothing-you-can-see, and you 'see' him walk through steam, water and smoke with tangible but transparent certainty.
So what happens when this brilliant scientist who loves playing God becomes invisible? Does he use his invisibility to steal Russia's nuclear secrets?
Does he use it to figure out Saddam's next move? Or does he blackmail senior government or military officials?
He sneaks around spying on and fondling semi-clad women. (Men!!)
And fortunately for him, there are a lot of temptresses in Hollow Man: a woman next door of Playboy proportions who can't wait to undress the minute she walks in the door and female scientists who can barely contain their bodies beneath flimsy tops that are always half-buttoned.
Linda, who has been keeping her relationship with Matt under wraps, waiting for the 'right time' to tell Sebastian, never finds it. Because, jealous about her affair and drunk on his 'invisible' power, Bacon embarks on a murderous rampage that degenerates into nothing but ugly sex and bloody violence.
In spite of some scientific mumbo-jumbo about a secret military project that's never explained and hints of political intrigue, Hollow Man is just an excuse for Caine to fulfil his luridly sexual urges and disembowel coworkers.
As for the acting, Kevin Bacon spends much of the film as a lustful invisible presence and a disembodied voice.
Elisabeth Shue, who has a perpetual bad hair day through the film, can't seem to decide whether her part is of a sex kitten or a scientist.
Josh Brolin is the nice cute guy, who wears glasses throughout to remind us that he's a scientist as well.
The rest of the cast dutifully waits around to be strangled or battered in the bloodiest manner possible.
In Hollow Man, Paul Verhoeven (Total Recall, Robocop, Basic Instinct) comes up with a movie full of flashy effects, grisly thrills, brutish sexuality and little else.
The biggest special effects attraction is the transition between visibility and invisibility: The layer by layer stripping away of skin, tissues, muscles, organs and ultimately the skeleton makes for
But great special effects do not a great movie make.
So Hollow Man remains just that: Hollow.
The Sci-fi slide show
Cast: Elisabeth Shue, Kevin Bacon, Josh Brolin, Kim Dickens, Greg Grunberg
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Producer: Alan Marshall, Douglas Wick
Writer: Andrew Marlowe
Distributor: Columbia Tristar