HOLLOW MAN II
Hollow Man II is a sequel that has been made directly for dvd. Hollow Man was not a particularly great film but one had a sinking feeling about Hollow Man II from the moment they saw Joel Soissons name on the credits. Joel Soisson, usually under the banner of Neo Motion Pictures, has variously written or produced and occasionally directed a mountain of cheaply-made sequels to other peoples genre films including A Nightmare on Elm Street Part II: Freddys Revenge (1985), Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence (1992), Highlander: Endgame (2000), Mimic 2 (2001), Piranha 3DD (2012) and various of the latter sequels in the Hellraiser and Children of the Corn series. Soisson had also been responsible for creating/producing three entire ongoing series of his own with The Prophecy (1995) and sequels, Dracula 2000 (2000) and sequels, and Pulse (2006) and sequels. To be fair, some of Joel Soissons films are not too bad he did produce Bill and Teds Excellent Adventure (1989), the first The Prophecy and the fine Dean R. Koontz adaptation Phantoms (1998).
However, there is not much to Hollow Man II, least of all as a story. Hollow Man at least had its dramatic focus on a group of scientists trying to find a maddened invisible man who was trying to kill them. By contrast, Hollow Man II descends into a dreary chase movie interspersed with random killings. The plot is contrived in its reasons to get Peter Facinelli and Laura Regan on the run from both the law and the invisible man. Hollow Man concerned an invisible madman and Hollow Man II seems to take this even further there are times it feels like it could almost be on the verge of becoming an invisible man slasher film. Claudio Faehs direction broods with horror movie music and looming suspense sequences. There is even a gratuitously silly slasher-type sequence with the invisible man lurking around a teenage couple (Nolan Funk and Zara Taylor) as they fool around and take their clothes off in front of a video camera. Other than that though, there is not even the gratuitous sadism and voyeurism that Paul Verhoevens set-pieces had.
One of the biggest disappointments about Hollow Man II is its failure to provide any adequate invisible man effects. The film seems to avoid most opportunities to show any invisibility effects all we get are a few shots of the invisible Griffin splashing water on himself, bleeding or picking objects up. The only sequence of any note is the climax involving two invisible men fighting while outlined in the rain. The biggest cheat here is when it comes to replicating the novel effects sequence that became a talking point about Hollow Man of seeing an invisible man recreated from the skeleton out to the epidermis. We get a few brief glimpses of such effects here ... but the big cheat is that Hollow Man II has taken all of these from the original film. There are no original transformation sequences at all.
The producers have made the point of casting the film with young good-looking leads. The downside of this is that hero Peter Facinelli looks barely old enough to be out of college let alone a seasoned detective. Laura Regan is supposed to be a brilliant scientist but once into the action she becomes neurotic and fades anonymously into the scenery. The invisible man is played by Christian Slater who was once a name of note but seems to be slumming it this side of the 00s see also Alone in the Dark (2005). Slater has about five minutes screen time and for the rest of the film gets to literally phone in his performance. In an overly tired gag that has been done by just about every invisible man film, Christian Slaters hero is named Griffin after the first ever invisible man in H.G. Wells novel The Invisible Man (1897).