Plot: Dr. Sebastian Caine (Kevin Bacon) and his team of workers have been funded by the military to unlock the secrets of invisibility. This sounds rather complex, but they have already been able to grant primates invisible status, though they haven’t mastered the art of making them visible again. But Caine and his team push forward and after some successful tests, the time has come to report the good news to their committee that funds their work, but Caine lies instead. Caine is an arrogant man with a bad attitude and since he wants to be the first human subject, he keeps their progress under wraps. He then volunteers to be the test subject and when the first phase is complete, it seems as though the process will show no flaws when tested on humans. But when the time comes for Caine to rejoin the visible realm, problems surface and he is forced to remain invisible. He starts to slide downhill mentally and soon, his levels of aggression start to peak. Soon enough, Caine begins to escape from the lab for periods of time and gets more & more risky in his actions. With no real identity in his mind, will Caine run loose and cause chaos? If so, will anyone be able to stop him, since no one can see him?
Entertainment Value: Hollow Man is a dark, nasty take on the invisible man premise, one that slants toward horror/thriller and despite some awful visual effects, delivers a memorable experience. The narrative takes the invisible man concept into the 00s tech world, as a lab tries to develop an invisibility serum for the military, but things take a sharp turn toward the madness you’d expect. The old invisible man movies often hinged on the lead trying to race for a cure before the madness took over, but here Caine is deep into psychosis before he even undergoes the process. This means we leap right into his creepiness and he wastes no time before using his power to further his depraved sexual desires. Of course, things escalate as time passes, but Hollow Man is nasty right out of the gate and rarely relents. Kevin Bacon has the lead and revels in Caine’s sociopathic ways, in a performance that horrifies, but is also wildly entertaining, as he seems to have so much fun as this brutal villain. Elisabeth Shue and Josh Brolin also have prominent roles, as more positive characters, while Kim Dickens, Rhona Mitra, and Greg Grunberg also appear, with master Paul Verhoeven in the director’s chair. The dark, ruthless approach taken might steer some folks away from this one, but I think Hollow Man is a wild, fun thriller with some strong horror vibes.
The nakedness here is fairly frequent, including a wide scope of visions of Kevin Bacon’s junk. This includes heat vision, sneak peek, CGI cloak of invisibility, and more, as Bacon shows off his stuff in several scenes. I mean, if heat vision dong doesn’t deserve some points, what does, right? There’s also a lot of creepiness, as Caine sneaks around to leer at women, toy with them, and eventually cross all lines, in one of the movie’s more horrific sequences. The female nudity here covers a peeping tom topless scene, the infamous rape scene, and some special effects wizardry that finds an invisible Caine copping a feel. There’s some wild violence as well, with an invisible gorilla on the prowl, some crowbar hijinks, a nasty pipe to the neck, strangulation, and a pretty intense beatdown at one point. The blood isn’t overly graphic, but more than you might think and the visual effects are memorable. Some of them look horrible, but even the crappy CGI is fun to watch, so it adds to the fun. The dialogue is fine, with Caine’s sleaziness and smarminess as the main draws. He has some fun lines and Bacon’s over the top turn helps eke all the campiness the script has to offer. On the general craziness side, we have the outlandish visual effects, outrageous villain, nasty violence & creepiness, and just weird vibes throughout.
Overall Insanity: 5/10
The Disc: Hollow Man hits Blu-ray as part of a 6 Degrees Collection, which houses six of Kevin Bacon’s movies in one set. The visual treatment is reasonable, but is unlikely to make much of an impression. The depth is better than DVD to be sure, but the movie could use a new scan or remaster, as the image looks detailed, but doesn’t pop like it likely could. The colors look bright and natural however, contrast is accurate, and overall the movie looks fine here. So you can upgrade your DVD if you’re inclined, as this offers a decent step up.