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this is an adaptation of h . g . wells' acclaimed novel 'the invisible man' .
the actors are kevin beacon and elizabeth shue .
the director is paul verhoven .
that , plus a quick demonstration of the amazing special effects in the trailer , should be enough to lure us into the theatre .
the problem is to keep us there .
i can't imagine anyone who would like to see this movie a second time .
working on a top secret military project , sebastian caine ( kevin beacon ) -- an eccentric genius , that calls himself " god " , has discovered the secret to invisibility .
the first two faces are completed .
now , it is time for " the next logical step " -- human .
caine volunteers for this risky experiment .
but when he is made invisible , something goes wrong .
while his ex-girlfriend linda ( elisabeth shue ) desperately tries to find something to return him to normal , he learns that invisibility is more of a prison than a superpower .
but that's not the bad thing -- an unexpected side-effect of the drug sends him careening into paranoid megalomania .
he is naturally given a couple of modest superpowers , just enough for him to survive immolation from a flame thrower and an explosion of about a quart of nitroglycerine .
soon every sense of decency is forgotten .
the little intelligence that was left disappears as verhoven looses control and the film turns into an alien-rip-off , where caine is walking like a half finished terminator , spooking , scaring and killing everybody .
though it's based on a novel called 'the invisible man' , the title has been ironically changed to 'hollow man' that sums up the film very nicely .
this is a very silly production .
laughable , actually .
apparently verhoven's imagination doesn't stretch too far .
for him the only worthwhile reason to become invisible is so you can case the girls' locker room undetected .
it is this primitive schoolboy mentality that eventually kills the movie .
being invisible , gives you the opportunity to be who you are , to do what you want without being influenced by society .
in many ways it gives you an illusion of having a life without consequences .
the nature of man and his place in society is what the novel is truly about .
all that , the depth and true horror of the book is gone and only special effects make you remain in your seat .
caine does use his power voyeuristically in hollow man .
but since this is a modernization , in other words a dehumanization , he doesn't stop there .
he becomes a rapist .
and then , of course , a murderer .
you'll start wondering why such actors as beacon and shue found themselves in such film in the first place .
shue's talent is barely seen , josh brolin is underused and the rest of the cast suffer mostly for the lack of talent .
kevin beacon is the only one that performs gracefully .
his face is not seen for the most part of the film , and the only way he exists is as a disembodied voice .
there are times when his presence actually saves the film from being completely embarrassing .
in the end the effects are the only reason to see this film in the first place .
being probably the best technical achievement since " jurassic park " , they are absolutely amazing .
we observe the layers of skin , muscle , tissue , and bone being peeled away as a body is slowly rendered invisible .
we see a beating heart , inflating lungs , and veins pulsing with newly-pumped blood .
there are a couple of inventive shots with smoke , fire , air and water , but are a few scenes like that worth attending a movie for ?
what is truly disturbing is that with a great book , talented actors and a grand budget , this could have been so much more .
pretty much like jan de bont ( " twister " , " haunting " ) , paul verhoven has never made anything extraordinary .
he was responsible for several good films ( " basic instinct " and " starship troopers ) " and some incredibly bad films ( " showgirls " , " total recall " ) , but he has never made anything that was great .
in a way " hollow man " fits perfectly in this collection .
it's not better or worse than verhoven's average film .
he proves once again that he is incapable of handling more complex issues .
and so , instead of depth and chills , verhoven inserts some of his trademarks : stupid dialogue , and lot's of dull action with blood and naked bodies .
he even throws in some of the worst of film clich ? s - the slowly advancing fireball , the villain who comes back from the dead , etc , etc . - and tops the whole thing off with one of the most ridiculous endings of the year ( you'll be screaming " nooooo ! "
and attempt to run towards the exit in slow motion ) .
and all we can ask is why ?
the answer is simple .
though hollywood is a movie producing machine , the business of moviemaking has to be about something more than money .
it has to be about telling stories , not marketing them .
it has to be about transporting us to a different place , to dazzle us with magic and cleverness .
to make us care , to make us think and feel .
verhoven has obviously missed that point and this film is a proof of that .
it's all flesh and bones , but no soul .
a void where its imagination should be .