Hollow Man

Movie Review by Nigel A. Messenger

Starring: Elisabeth Shue, Kevin Bacon, Josh Brolin
Director: Paul Verhoeven

HOLLOW MAN is basically an updated re-working of the classic INVISIBLE MAN. Kevin Bacon plays a scientist Sebastian Caine, working on a Government project to “phase shift” living beings to become invisible to the naked eye and bring them back again to normal existence completely unharmed. His lab is a secure underground complex protected by armed guards and a high tech security system located under an innocent looking warehouse.

From the beginning of the movie we realise that he and his small team have already achieved the first stage of the project, to achieve invisibility, but only on animals, and with side effects. In a late night breakthrough Sebastian finally achieves the final stage, to bring his animal subjects back from invisibility, but in a Government funding committee meeting he denies the breakthrough in order to secure more funding and keep control of the project. His actions pulling his fellow scientist and ex-lover Linda McKay (Elisabeth Shue) into the conspiracy together with another senior team member Matt Kensington (Josh Brolin), who unknown to Sebastian is also Linda’s new love.

It soon becomes apparent that his motives are more personal than anyone realises as he decides to test his discoveries on the first human subject, himself. Claiming to the rest of his team that human testing has been sanctioned by the funding committee, the experiment goes ahead and Sebastian becomes the first invisible man.

However things start to go wrong, and the fun really begins. Sebastian can’t return to normal, and as the experiment goes beyond it’s scheduled duration the side effects of an unstable personality begin to kick in. His aggression increases, his sexual urges get out of control, and his invisibility gives him the means to satisfy his curiosity about the women around him.

Meanwhile his unwilling co-conspirators must reveal the actual extent of the experiment to the Government committee, a move which will sacrifice Sebastian’s career as well as their own. Sebastian still invisible must stop them at all costs, and cover up the truth, an easy task for an invisible man with increased strength and aggression, and the ability to trap the team in the underground complex and cut communication with the outside world. Now the team led by Linda McKay (Elisabeth Shue) must stop Sebastian in order to survive.

HOLLOW MAN is a sci-fi movie about the ability to become invisible, which explores some of the possibilities that being invisible would bring about, but it turns into an action thriller about a group of people who must escape an isolated compound while fighting an invisible enemy set on their destruction.

This is a tense exciting movie that’s well acted with a good cast. Elisabeth Shue in particular shines through as she seems to exude energy in her role and is genuinely at home in both the sci-fi and action genres. A film to recommend to your friends, with excellent effects thrown in.

5 out of 6 stars

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