MSRP: $24.99

The Pitch

“Twice the invisibleness of Hollow Man, and half as interesting!”

The Humans

Peter Facinelli, Christian Slater (ostensibly), Laura Regan

Th Nutshell

Some time after the crazy-Bacon results of the first Hollow Man experiment, a secret government “think tank” has revived the transparency project and used it for military applications – namely turning a soldier named Griffin (Slater) invisible and theoretically creating the perfect assassin. But since invisibility also breeds insanity (fact!), the now-unstable Griffin has gone from killing his assigned targets to tracking down those responsible for his unseen state, including cute biologist Maggie (Regan).

Seattle cop Frank (Facinelli) gets assigned to protect Maggie (along with his partner, but naturally she gets invisibly strangled mere moments after her introduction), and their attempt to reconcile the clandestine matter draws them into contact with a cooperative/expositional third subject of the deadly science (apparently when the invisibility serum’s effect wears off, you reappear as a Stargate extra). Ultimately and predictably, our hero injects himself with the serum to rescue Maggie just in time for the climax, which consists of the dueling invisible dudes throwing barely perceptible knuckle sandwiches at each other in the rain.

Pete wished he had listened to the warnings of Skeet Ulrich and Monica Potter: kinda-sorta looking like a more famous and successful celebrity was indeed insufficient for a prosperous career.

The Lowdown

As someone with an appreciation for B-movies, I was somewhat anticipating Hollow Man 2 despite the original Verhoeven misfire and the sequel’s straight-to-bargain-bin stature. Director Claudio Faeh showed he could make amusing cheese and stretch a miniscule budget with the Clayton Rohner flick Coronado, and who wouldn’t want to see (um…) plummeting star Christian Slater as an insane invisible assassin?

But even modest expectations were unreasonable, as it turns out. For starters, Slater literally has two brief scenes in the movie totaling around a minute of screen time, and doesn’t first appear in the flesh until halfway through the movie (and in a flashback) and materializes again at the very end – the remainder of his performance is listlessly delivered voiceover work (he could have literally phoned it in). And then there’s the “special effects”, which mostly involves actors unconvincingly pretending to react to being shoved around by an invisible guy, or guns and other objects hovering threateningly in midair, all of which was already done to better low-tech effect in Carpenter’s unfairly maligned Memoirs of an Invisible Man.

"Yeah, umm… don’t take this the wrong way, but I don’t think you really get the whole Hollow Man gag."

The concept of a rogue super-soldier seems like prime B-movie material and the notion of a cat-and-mouse game between two rival invisible men is certainly intriguing, but erase it from your head because the hero doesn’t disappear until the last five minutes of the movie. Even aside from Slater’s lugubrious line reading and the perpetually dour Facinelli as our protagonist (at least Regan is pert where it counts, but her character is strictly damsel-in-distress stuff), the general lack of enthusiasm is as evident as the crunched budget — the best utilization of invisibility the filmmakers conceive is Griffin getting stabbed by a pen (with what must be the biggest ink reservoir in history), the ink slowly absorbed through his vascular system as he moves about the room. For a killer-on-the-loose movie with horror origins, Hollow Man 2 is also surprisingly bloodless, obviously earning its R-rating entirely from the language and the ridiculously gratuitous scene of Griffin slipping through a teen couple’s bedroom while they film some night-vision homeporn.

Star in another Uwe Boll movie or have your blood replaced with a ginger-bologna slurry? Not really much of a dilemma.

The Package

The sound and picture are of admirably direct-to-video quality, and if you want to know how they accomplished some of the film’s groundbreaking special effects, there are a couple of behind-the-scenes featurettes that include almost as much Slater as the finished product.

4.0 out of 10