Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Jason X

Well…as one of the longest lasting slasher film franchises, this one finally jumped the shark by doing something very drastic and very risky.  Like the lesser-known Leprechaun franchise, the Friday the 13th filmmakers—the second go-around with New Line Cinema—decided to send their series icon, Jason Voorhees, into outer space.  Although not one of my favorites, I like what they did here and enjoy it for what it is: a mindless romp filled with special effects and Jason Voorhees letting loose on a spaceship in 2001's Jason X.

Now, I must say, there are a lot of things wrong with this film, but they’re mainly little things I can nitpick and useless stuff that can be easily overlooked.  For the most part, this film is very entertaining and New Line definitely made up for the Jason Goes to Hell debacle.

The film takes place in the near future, where the government has actually caught and imprisoned Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder, reprising his role), keeping him in a research center near Crystal Lake.  The lead scientist, Rowan (Lexa Doig), wants to cryogenically freeze him since attempts to kill him have failed, as he’s able to regenerate and come back to life.  Of course, Jason is able to break free of his confines and run amok, killing everyone in the research facility, leaving Rowan as the last one alive.  She’s able to lure Jason
into the cryo area and lock him into the chamber as she starts the process to freeze him.  As she looks into the chamber, Jason slams his machete out into her, causing the chamber to leak.  As a result, not only does Jason freeze, but so does Rowan.  Cut to 447 years later, with a group coming into the research center, discovering both Rowan and Jason.  They take both of them and bring them onto their ship, flying off into space.  It’s explained that Earth has become too barren to support life, so humanity has moved to another planet called Earth Two.  The medical staff on board is able to revive Rowan, but decide against bringing back Jason, citing that his cells appeared to be too deteriorated to reanimate.   But he awakens anyway and goes after everyone on board, killing anyone in his way.

Now, I said I have some nitpicking about this film, so here they are.

First off, why couldn’t they get Jason right?  The Jason that always scared me is the ones where you really couldn’t see his eyes, being shadowed out in the hockey mask’s eyeholes.  In this film, they actually show a close-up of his eye and, knowing Kane Hodder’s appearance so well, I just saw his eye and not Jason’s.  Not only that, but did they give Jason a full head of hair?  Looks like it in some shots.  Basically, it looks like they just put the mask over his face and didn't bother to put the latex bald cap and prosthetics on his head.  A very shoddy job indeed.

Secondly, did no one else know about this research facility?  How is it possible that Rowan and Jason are cryogenically frozen and left there for 447 years?  Nobody ever came by to check on the place?  It just sat abandoned for four and half centuries?  What about the power to run that freezer?  Wouldn’t the power company come by and disconnect them for non-payment?  I don’t know…maybe it was nuclear and just ran forever.

Lastly—the dialogue.  Again, they get a little too comedic for my taste. When the girl’s about to get sucked out of the ship and into the vacuum of space, she yells out, “This sucks on so many levels!”  Really?  That’s the best you can come up with?  The lines in this movie almost left my eyes permanently rolled up into my brow.

Other than those few critiques—and even with them—I thoroughly enjoyed Jason X.  I like the concept of taking Jason to space, using futuristic concepts like the nanotechnology for medical purposes (and to create an Über-Jason) or the cryogenics in the beginning of the film.  Overall, the film is much like the first Alien film, where everyone is crammed into these tight quarters of the ship, wondering where the threat is and when it’ll strike.  Of course, the best concept filmmakers have ever come up with—since, of course, giving Jason the hockey mask to wear—is the creation of Über-Jason.  Yes, using the nanotechnology as the McGuffin in this film, they’ve produced an even more unstoppable killing machine.

After watching Jason X I kind of wished that they would’ve continued with this and gone on to make more sequels.  The conclusion of this film definitely left room for another to follow, but I guess they’d decided that staying in the present was the way to go.  How cool would it have been to see the new Über-Jason on Earth Two, dealing with a new futuristic world and finding a new place to call his territory, killing anyone who comes his way?  I would’ve paid to see that, specifically if it had been done right. 

It’s really hard to believe this is where the franchise went, especially when I remember the first few films.  It just shows that this little small-budgeted film really went places and made a lot of people money.  Gone, however, are the days of teenagers flocking to the theaters to watch the newest Friday the 13th film.  I think the last time I had to wait in a long line to see a movie is when the first Spider-Man film came out back in 2002, but that’s because it was a big budget film.  Since the 80s, I haven’t seen a rush to the movie houses to see the latest horror movie.  Even when the Friday the 13th remake came out in 2009, not very many people went out to see it.  I just think the heydays of theater-going are long gone.  With the technology of computers and phones, people really don’t see the need to go out and watch the latest film…they can probably find an illegal download of it and just keep entertained until the film is released on home media.  Even the exhilaration of watching a flick on the big screen has vanished since most people are able to afford to buy huge screen televisions to watch shows and films at home.

But, I continue to watch the art of film in a comfortable setting, being all too happy to plop down ten to fifteen bucks a go.  I still get a flutter of excitement when the lights start to dim and the previews begin to roll as I sit back and enjoy everything.  To watch a film, particularly a horror film, with a crowd of people who are into it as much as I am sends a tingle throughout my body and it’s a feeling that has never been matched.

Okay, enough of my rambling.  What, pray tell, is my final “bit” on Jason X?

Jason Voorhees runs amok in outer space!  That’s all I have to say!  Watch this film…it’s a fun ride!

As a side note, the final sequel to the original Friday the 13th series, as well as the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, Freddy vs Jason, was discussed in my look into the A Nightmare on Elm Street retrospective back on August of 2013.  Check it out here if you want to read about my discussion on the final sequel to all this.

Thanks for reading…and I welcome any comments!

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