Main cast: Kevin Bacon (Sebastian Caine), Elisabeth Shue (Linda Foster), Josh Brolin (Dr Matthew Kensington), Kim Dickens (Sarah Kennedy), Joey Slotnick (Frank Chase), Mary Randle (Janice Walton), and Greg Grunberg (Carter Abbey)
Director: Paul Verhoeven
There’s an invisible man lying in your bed – who do you call?
Ray Parker Jr may not be thinking of Hollow Man when he sang that line. The movie indeed does evoke the fear women always have of unseen sexual predators, but it isn’t an intelligent metaphor for sexual abuse. It’s a 13-year old boy’s wet dream of violence, rape, and misogyny. It’s also a glorification of the true celebrities of this film – Kevin Bacon’s penis (impressive even when rendered in infrared) and Elizabeth Shue in too-tight white tops.
Yes, what do I expect from Paul Verhoeven, eh? But Hollow Man isn’t even campy, trashy fun – it is so clumsily executed all the way to the inept final confrontation that it is just one big, skilfully filmed exercise in relieving horny boys of their adolescence frustrations.
Sebastian is an egocentric scientist who tests an invisibility serum on himself against his research mates’ advice. Ta-da, he can’t reverse the effects, and so, instead of robbing banks, he goes around fondling women in their sleep and (maybe) raping a neighbor woman. See what I mean about a pubescent boy’s X-rated fantasies? That’s the plot. Our heroes and heroines stupidly sit around, oblivious to the mayhem Sebastian is committing until they realize time is running out – twenty minutes more, people! Let’s go kick Sebastian the Horny Toad’s ass! Elizabeth Shue’s white top gets tighter and she flashes her skimpy undies, some disposable female extras flash their nipples, Kevin Bacon flashes his thingie in all its infrared glory, and I don’t want to even think about what those young boys behind me are groaning about or why they are groaning. Gross.
If this one is an exercise in sleaziness, the least it could do is to be campy. It isn’t – the script just plods, relying on their actors’ flashing tendencies to mask the fact that the story doesn’t go anywhere at all. Then again, with Ms Shue in her thong thing and that almost see-through (wet) shirt, I doubt many people in the audience care really.