| Hollow Man
Director Paul Verhoeven
Writer Andrew W Marlowe
Stars Elisabeth Shue, Kevin Bacon, Josh Brolin
Running time 93 minutes
Made US 2000
Reviewed by El Topo
Eccentric genius Sebastian Caine (Kevin Bacon) leads a seven-strong team of scientists on a top-secret Pentagon funded project into "reversion" - i.e. invisibility.
The team - which includes his former lover Linda McKay (Elisabeth Shue) and her current beau Matthew Kensington (Josh Brolin) - have cracked making animals invisible. But making them reappear has proved more difficult and the traumas of the procedure have tended to make the animals suspiciously aggressive.
Finally, with their military sponsors' patience almost at an end, the team manages to reverse the process on a gorilla. Caine, worried about losing control of the project, conceals their apparent success and decides to run a human test, using himself as the subject.
Unfortunately, the subtle differences between man and beast means that his invisibility can't be reversed. And, predictably enough, the stresses of, and opportunties afforded by, his conditions drive Caine mad...
For a smart guy (he has a doctorate in Mathematics and Physics), Paul Verhoeven makes some incredibly dumb films. Or perhaps, as he sometimes argues, it's just that audiences tend not to appreciate their ironies.
Sadly, though Verhoeven cites Plato's ring of Gyges in his notes on the film, there's little evidence of Socratic method in this by-the-numbers, effects-driven BLAM.
But, while Hollow Man might not have the depth of Robocop - with its imaginative reworking of the Frankenstein myth - or Starship Troopers - with its foregrounding of the fascistic elements in Henlein's novella - it is equally entertaining.
Marvel at the invisible man effects - kudos to the SFX team - or the stunning performance by Shue's breasts. And see if you can guess the order in which the other members of the research team will be picked off by Caine and which characters will make it to the end credits.