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At a secret military laboratory, a group of young scientists have just unlocked the secret of human invisibility. The team's arrogant leader, Sebastian Caine (Kevin Bacon), ignores the risks and decides to test the dangerous procedure on himself only to discover his fellow scientists, led by his lieutenants Linda McKay (Elizabeth Shue) and Matthew Kensington (Josh Brolin), are unable to reverse the effect. Working around the clock, Caine's colleagues struggle to devise an antidote. But Caine's intoxication with his new-found power is growing and he begins to suspect his colleagues may be a threat to his existence.

"Even mid-strength Paul Verhoeven is more exciting than most other attempts at motion picture extravaganza. His name on the credits ensures value for your entertainment dollar even with mediocre material such as this variation on H.G. Welles' The Invisible Man. If a case can be made for recommending a film "just for the special effects" this is it as scientist Sebastian Caine (Kevin Bacon) perfects an invisibility formula and decides to use himself as the test subject.

No prizes for guessing the procedure can't be reversed and side effects include homicidal tendencies that ultimately imperil the life of fellow scientist Elizabeth Shue. Unfortunately that's about as complex as the plot gets. There are hints of shady military manouverings around Caine's experiment but this potentially juicy element is never exploited fully. There's also something rather nasty in the handling of a couple of sexual assault scenes as Caine escapes confinement and begins his nocturnal prowlings.

What Hollow Man offers in compensation is a staggering display of technical trickery that outshines anything you've seen before. The gradual disappearance of Kevin Bacon and the re-appearance of a gorilla with every bone, artery and organ revealed in medical textbook clarity are simply astonishing and guarantee this film at least one Oscar. Verhoeven's robust direction gives the lacklustre script more life than it deserves and Elisabeth Shue acquits herself well as the object of Caine's twisted intentions but you can't help feeling a little disappointed she and Bacon didn't have better material to work with. The 1.85:1 transfer looks superb and the bonus material, particularly the music commentary track by the legendary Jerry Goldsmith, makes it a good value purchase."
Richard Kuipers

Published March 8, 2001

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CAST: Kevin Bacon, Elizabeth Shue, Josh Brolin, Kim Dickens, Gregg Grunberg
DIRECTOR: Paul Verhoeven
RUNNING TIME: 112 mins

DVD RELEASE: March 7, 2001

25 min Special Effects Featurette
3 Deleted Scenes
Audio Commentary by Paul Verhoeven, Kevin Bacon and Writer Andrew Marlowe
Isolated Music Score With Commentary by Composer Jerry Goldsmith
Talent Profiles
Subtitles in English, Greek, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Dutch, Icelandic, Hindi, Hebrew, Bulgarian, Turkish, Danish,
Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Arabic.
Languages: English and Hungarian (dubbed)

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