In Paul Verhoeven's appropriately shallow Hollow Man
, Kevin Bacon plays a bad-boy egotistical scientist who heads up a double-secret government team experimenting with turning life-forms invisible. How do we know he's a bad boy? Because he (a) wears a leather overcoat, (b) compares himself to God, (c) drives a sports car, and (d) spies on his comely next-door neighbor while eating Twinkies. Sadly, this is the most character development anyone gets in this undernourished action/sci-fi thriller, which boasts some amazing special effects and some amazingly ridiculous plot twists. After experimenting rather ruthlessly on a menagerie of lab animals, Bacon finally cracks the code that will turn the invisible gorillas, dogs, and so on, back into their visible forms. Does it work on humans? Faster than you can say "six degrees," Mr. Bacon appoints himself human guinea pig, strapping down for an injection of fluorescent-colored serum. Thanks to some phenomenal, seamless and Oscar-worthy computer effects, Bacon is indeed rendered invisible, organ by organ, vein by vein. And what's the first thing you'd do if you were invisible? Why, spy on your female coworkers in the bathroom and molest your comely next-door neighbor, of course! Soon, Bacon is thoroughly psychotic, and it's up to Elisabeth Shue (Bacon's coworker and ex-girlfriend) and hunky Josh Brolin (her current snuggle bunny) to defeat the invisible man, who's picking off the science team one by one. You'd think this would be a prime opportunity for copious amounts of cheesy sex and aggressive violence--which Verhoeven served up so well and so exuberantly in Starship Troopers
and Basic Instinct
--but if anything, the director seems to tone down the proceedings, and really, who wants a muted Paul Verhoeven movie? Shue (who got top billing and a bad haircut to boot) and Brolin (who, yes, does take off his shirt at least once) generate little heat, and while Bacon does give an effective, primarily voice-oriented performance, his character is so underdeveloped that, well, you can see right through him. --Mark Englehart
What would you do if you were invisible? How far would you go? After years of experimentation, Dr. Sebastian Caine, a brilliant but arrogant and egotistical scientist working for the Defense Department, has successfully transformed mammals to an invisible state and brought them back to their original physical form. Determined to achieve the ultimate breakthrough, Caine instructs his team to move on to Phase III: human experimentation. Using himself as the first subject, the invisible Caine finds himself free to do the unthinkable. But Caine's experiment takes an unexpected turn when his team can't bring him back. As the days pass, he grows more and more out of control, doomed to a future without flesh as the HOLLOW MAN. Kevin Bacon, Elisabeth Shue and Josh Brolin star in this intense thriller filled with extreme suspense, terrifying twists and incredible special effects.