Hollow Man II – USA, 2006 – reviews

Hollow Man II is a 2006 American science fiction horror feature film about a detective and a biologist on the run from an invisible assassin gone rogue. The movie was promoted as Hollow Man 2.

Directed by Claudio Fäh [as Claudio Faeh] from a screenplay written by Joel Soisson from a storyline by Gary Scott Thompson, the movie stars Christian Slater, Peter Facinelli, Laura Regan and David McIlwraith.

Review:

Admit it, you were thinking, if only for a moment, that a better title might have been Hollow Man II: Invisible Boogaloo. This unnecessary followup to filmmaker Paul Verhoeven’s slick, sick theatrical feature Hollow Man (2000) went direct-to-video in most of the visible world. Relation to the earlier invisible-man thriller is rather… diaphanous, one might say.

An invisible murderer is killing people around Seattle, seemingly zeroing in on government scientist Maggie Dalton (Laura Regan). Homicide detective Frank Turner (is assigned to keep watch over Maggie, an assignment he continues on a rogue basis when swarms of US military goons turn up with guns blazing, and the invisible guy kills Turner’s partner.

In a real thanks-for-small-favours salute to the name of the original H.G. Wells 1897 character of the Invisible Man, the menace is a loose-cannon commando called Griffin, who was one of series of experimental test subjects rendered unseeable by the Pentagon using the dangerous technology unveiled in Hollow Man (although the two processes don’t look quite the same now that the budget’s been downsized).

Viewers who thought the first movie shortchanged them by remaining egregiously restricted to slasher-style murders in a sealed, underground lab could here be sated by the idea of invisible Griffin running riot throughout streets of a major city, the F/X created by CGI, trick props, wires and pantomiming by the other performers. Director Claudio Faeh, working on a smaller-screen budget (but still with a cast of attractive actors recruited largely on how good they look with very few clothes on), does a few clever bits, including an unexpected (but inconsequential) bit with a blind woman. And there’s a finale that maybe could have kicked the Verhoeven movie into another realm if it had been tried. But it does point the way to a Hollow Man 3 and there can’t be much said for that…

…Except for this. Invisible men are the ultimate in cheap casting. Christian Slater, occasionally visible, is the transparent chap here… but why could it not be anyone? Marlon Brando! James Dean! Laurence Olivier! Bruce Lee! Rudolph Valentino! All it would take is a clever sound engineer to repurpose pre-existing audio dialogue by those departed actors to match new scripts and – presto, future Hollow Men instalments would well resurrect all cinematic greats (Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly join Gregory Hines and Michael Jackson as dancing invisible men). I do hope Movies & Mania copyrights the idea.

Charles Cassady Jr.

Other reviews:

“There is one major plot twist in the film, which I must admit, I didn’t see coming […] There is a less shocking twist at the beginning of the film, but otherwise, the story moves in a linear fashion. Things get a bit redundant in the second act, as Turner shoots at every sound thinking that it’s Griffin.” Jackass Critics

“While clearly made for a helluva lot less than the first film, it’s still a handsomely put together and what visual FX are in play are done well enough, if not as CG-centric as before. Where a bit more investment could’ve helped is in the script itself, which, although armed by a good enough story built around the future of the project (events from HM1 are briefly referenced), there doesn’t seem to be very far to go with it.” Vegan Voorhees

“Plot-wise, it is all pretty much par for the course but at least it’s more than the first film’s standard slasher recipe. Our hero cop will eventually have to sacrifice himself with the irreversible invisibility serum which shouldn’t make the villain any easier to find, jump on, and beat up, but it does.” Weird Wild Realm

Recent release:

On 8th July 2019, 88 Films released a 3-disc set comprised of Hollow Man and Hollow Man II. Buy from Amazon.co.uk

Disc One: Includes Director’s Cut of Hollow Man

  • Optional English Subtitles
  • English LPCM 5.1
  • HBO First Look Special – Hollow Man: Anatomy of a Thriller Featurette (15:04)
  • Fleshing Out the Hollow Man: Behind-the-Scenes, Includes:
  • Paul Verhoeven-Hollywoods Mad Scientist,
  • The Invisibility Formula,
  • The Muscle Man,
  • The Human Bubble,
  • Thermal Imaging,
  • The Smoke Guy,
  • The Gorilla Suit,
  • The Mask,
  • Flaming Sebastian,
  • Elevator Finale,
  • Ape Reversion Storyboards,
  • The Underground Lab,
  • Reversion Progressions,
  • Invisibility Progressions,
  • Digital Body Parts Montage.

VFX Picture-In-Picture Comparisons: Includes

  • Kramer’s Death,
  • Sprinkler Attack,
  • Sebastian’s Demise

Disc Two: Includes Theatrical Cut of Hollow Man

  • Optional English Subtitles
  • English DTS-HD MA 5.1
  • Audio Commentary by Director Paul Verhoeven and Actor Kevin Bacon
  • Isolated Score with Commentary by Composer Jerry Goldsmith
  • Disappearing Act – The Genre Jaunts of Paul Verhoeven: An Interview with Critic Kim Newman about the Hollow Man Legacy and the career of director Paul Verhoeven
  • Hollow Man Trailer

Disc Three: Includes Blu-ray Debut of Hollow Man II

  • Optional English Subtitles
  • English DTS-HD MA 5.1
  • Inside Hollow Man II Featurette
  • Storyboard Comparison
  • Visual FX Comparison
  • Hollow Man II Trailer
  • Limited Edition (3000) Slipcases Enclosed Fold-Out Digipack

Cast and characters:

  • Christian Slater … Michael Griffin
  • Peter Facinelli … Frank Turner
  • Laura Regan … Maggie Dalton
  • David McIlwraith … Doctor William Reisner
  • William MacDonald … Colonel Gavin Bishop
  • Sarah Deakins … Lisa Martinez
  • Jessica Harmon … Heather Dalton
  • Sonya Salomaa … Trophy Wife
  • Terri Anne Welyki … Pearl Girl
  • John Shaw … Doctor Devin Villiers
  • David Abbott … Elderly Husband
  • Hamish Cameron … Washroom Man
  • Colin Lawrence … Capt. Rollins
  • Zara Taylor … Ashley
  • Nolan Gerard Funk … Josh (as Nolan Funk)
  • Jamie Bell … Slum Resident (as James Bell)
  • Bruce Dawson … Capt. Harrison
  • Dean Paul Gibson … Desk Officer
  • Dean Redman … Police Guard (as Dean L. Redman)
  • Mike Dopud … Officer Chesley
    Alana Husband … Reisner Aide
  • Yee Jee Tso … Lab Technician
  • Michael Kopsa … Man at Gas Station (as Mike Kopsa)
  • Woody Jeffreys … Agent Moore
  • Chelah Horsdal … Blind Secretary
  • Darcy Belsher … Meth Head
  • Darcy Laurie … Timothy Laurents
  • Ted Friend … The Senator
  • Dagmar Midcap … Field Reporter
  • Stefano Giulianetti … Security Guard
  • Karen Holness … Saleslady
  • Jianna Ballard … Little Girl
  • Mark Ferns … SWAT Commander

Filming locations:

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Technical details:

  • 91 minutes
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35: 1
  • Audio: Dolby Digital

Trivia:

  • Hollow Man II is based on the very first draft of the original Paul Verhoeven Hollow Man film.
  • There were only 250 visual effects shots in the whole film, and 80 of them were simply wire removals

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