By David Kenney
In one scene from Hollow Man, Kevin Bacon declares, "You are not God, I am." What a bad rap for God. Somehow it’s doubtful the man in charge would lower himself to parody via film. Mr. Bacon though, is a different story.
As arrogant genius Sebastian Caine, Bacon aims to become the first invisible man. Through government research funding, Bacon, his ex-girlfriend Linda McKay (Elisabeth Shue), her new beau Matt Kensington (Josh Brolin) and other scientists make this vision a reality. Then, before you can say "boo," Bacon loses his marbles.
Prior to Bacon’s invisible insanity, the audience has to endure a long period of invisibility serum testing. During this time, Bacon’s creepiness is revealed and the drama builds. However, once his physical disappearance is complete, the movie also becomes transparent.
Call it a typical tale of power versus responsibility. Man’s apparent brilliance leads to God-like powers which leads to man’s gradual loss of morals and descent into madness. It happened to the Green Lantern; it happens to Bacon.
Hollow Man adds nothing new to this theme. Bacon gets adventurous and plays the peeping tom up close. Bacon spies on his ex getting lucky and plots to kill her. Bacon decides he doesn’t want visibility and tries to kill everyone associated with his project. Bacon puts on a clean cliché performance.
Things don’t fare too well for Shue either. As Bacon’s ex, Shue does her best to hide her new lover but to no avail. Shue’s biggest mistake is allowing herself to be little more than a skin piece for the audience. Oh look, it’s Shue’s boobs. Wait, no, it’s her panties now. Ah, talent.
More attractive to the eye are the slick visual effects that flesh out an otherwise limp film. Refleshing an invisible gorilla using the visibility serum shows incredibly detailed effects. From the veins to the full gorilla, the effects team’s effort is far from hollow. Bacon’s invisible scenes are also eye candy.
The same cannot be said for the overall plot. For anyone who has followed past Invisible Man movies and TV series, Hollow Man is full of redundancy. Minus the special effects and skin, the premise is the same: man becomes invisible and decides to go on a killing spree. Ho hum, next scary movie please. Except in black and white, creepy cheesiness is a hoot.
Kevin Bacon makes one clamour for his "aw shucks," goof appeal of Footloose. Bacon as a villain just isn’t nearly as crispy. At least back in the Footloose days he gave crowds something to cheer about. Then, he was a god. Now his performances are just transparent.