Hollow Man 2 (2006)

Hollow Man 2 starts off as a kind of bad-ass First Blood, with the super-soldier Michael Griffin played by Christian Slater being tracked by his former commander, Bishop, who spends a lot of time leaning over a console with a furrowed brow.  At a cocktail party of  a Washington think tank a mysterious invisible force (it's an invisible man of course) drags a scientist named Dylan into a nearby bathroom, where the mysterious force (. . . . by this two minute stage into the movie, now implied to be a person) throws Dylan around for information. Dylan mentions another scientist, Maggie Dalton, who knows the secret formula the invisible person is looking for! And we're off.  A good beginning you will think when you see it, but SPOLIER ALERT - it's probably the best bit of the film.

After that the story is wrapped up things become a little more confused I'm afraid to say, but maybe you will keep watching, just in case something momentous happens.  It's Hollow Man 2 after all.  You've seen Hollow Man with Kevin Bacon, so you're not expecting Tennessee Williams.

The problem is that although Hollow Man 2 — directed the Swiss Claudio Fäh — great name that —  is not as half as bad as reviews may suggest, but it could have been a helluva lot better. 

Much of Hollow Man 2 is shot in dark rooms, so it has a repetitive feel,  and although it hits the ground running with a stunning and violent murder, it becomes bogged down shortly after that in mucho chasing about, and the rather characterless two leads, whom it is difficult to care about. 

There’s a fine balance in the movies to be achieved between switching on and switching off.  Yeh . . . you should be switched off if the picture is good, and so switching on to ask what the hell is happening is either a sign that the movie is not for you, or sometimes that it has been poorly executed.

Christian Slater, the star of this straight to DVD romp, is a pleasure, and thankfully (as one of the incidental characters points out) he has a lovely voice, but it’s hard to know what his invisible man wants.  One thing the hollow man does in Number 2 is he tugs and pulls people about all over the place, so instead of the special effects normal to these films (floating cigars, guns, trays and other delights) actors in Hollow Man 2 constantly go flying from one side of the screen to the other. 

The dialogue taxis on the runway for most of Hollow Man 2 but sadly never takes off either.  The highest standard it achieves may have ben this bit:

Michael Griffin: Oh, you're a true hero Maggie - Just like me.

Dr. Maggie Dalton: Ok, You got what you wanted...

Michael Griffin: [Grabs Maggie] Perfection. How many people in their lifetime gets to achieve it? Perfect husband, perfect father, citizen? I'm none of these things... but I am the perfect weapon.

[Takes of glasses, to reveal hollow eyes]

Michael Griffin: And you perfected me...

Of course Hollow Man 2 lends itself kudos wherever it can by referencing it's bigger and wealthier brother, as in this crazy cast-aside gag:

Man on the street: Bacon is murder. Bacon kills

Only occasionally is it effective to have items flyting across the screen however.  Of all the scenes in general the ones worked out in a shopping mall work best, but on the whole Hollow Man 2 - - no surprise - - strikes as being cheap.  I wouldn’t have expected this to have been as good as the first Hollow Man film, but whereas the first was absolutely packed to to the rafters with special effects — even its special effects had special effects — Hollow Man 2 has virtually none. 

Yeh, there are couple of decent car stunts in Hollow Man 2, but why else are we watching?  We’re watching for special effects and they’re just not there.  Maybe we are waiting for Rona Mitra to reappear?  She doesn't reappear.

Interestingly, and speaking of nudity and Mitra, you have to be 15 in the United Kingdom to watch the version of Hollow Man 2 that I did, 18 in Ireland (prudes!) and 16 in the Netherlands.  I doubt that this has ever been an issue, but I like this sort of thing anyway.  It highlights what different cultures and administrations make of the gods of fear that adorn our small screens.  See below for more.

Things heat up in the Hollow Man 2 when another character becomes invisible later on but this movie is over very quickly; at least it seemed that way.  It’s 91 minutes long in fact which does leave it somewhere between an underdeveloped feature and an overdeveloped tv episode.  To add to the lack of glamour, the flashback scene in which Christian Slater is becoming invisible also re-uses footage from the original Hollow Man.

Peter Facinelli, who some may know from Twilight, is just about OK in Hollow Man II, and the vision that it presents of Seattle is pretty strange and lacks character — mall guards with guns?! 

On top of that, what we want most of all was lacking — answers to the age old questions of invisibility — what would you do? — how mad would to drive you? — and the delight and dismay of invisibility.  

A smashing view of the cover of Hollow Man II is available on Wikimedia Commons . . .

And if anyone is even remotely interested, since this is the Internet, I have included some of Hollow Man II’s other national ratings certificates here — they are:

Germany 16

Argentina 16

Singapore 16

South Korea 18, although a cut ‘15’ version was also sold

Sweden 15

Italy 14 (leading the way!)

and Finland 15.

 

The trailer for Hollow Man 2 (2006) shows the best bits and some of the second best bits too