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E.C. McMullen Jr.
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E.C. McMullen Jr.
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A SIERRA NEVADA
(MICHAEL MADSEN & JOHN SAVAGE).
"He's an unstoppable killing machine. He's not dead."
When it comes to Horror movies that take place almost exclusively in outer space, it's either a "stand or fall" situation. More often than not, it's a fail all the way around. The film makers who produce these films make them silly as they possibly can, not knowing that when they are playing something for cheap laughs, they could just as easily have made that scene something to write home about.
Think about it: you are surrounded by all sorts of horrific material. The only thing separating you from sure death outside in the cold vacuum of space is a metal hull of a star ship. You have limited places to run and hide, should you have a very real threat aboard, such as a hostile alien life form. When it is played right, you can convey this well.
Ridley Scott knew all too well back in the day that such was the case. Fear of the unknown, certain death coming at you from numerous directions and the characters having to rely on their own skills and wits to get them out alive. There was to be no Deus ex Machina, situation to haul your ass out of the proverbial fire. This is why ALIEN, worked so well. Little humor was present in the movie, no cracking jokes when the situation was completely hopeless, just human beings trying to deal with a creature that none of them had any experience dealing with. Plain, simple and to the point.
ALIEN is a fine example of Science-Fiction/Horror done right. Sadly, however, this lesson has failed to catch hold with many film makers. There are some that get it. John Carpenter's THE THING is one, Philip Kaufman's INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1978) is another. Both, hopeless situations: Both, with little to no humor. Both, classic films. And finally, both are examples of how to make these type of films and really have something to show for it.
JASON X doesn't even come close to comparing to the aforementioned films. The studio and film makers just took Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder in his fourth outing) and stuck him in space. Period. Nothing more, nothing less. Have the Crystal Lake Killer rack up a huge body count and call it good. Cut. That's a wrap.
The story starts off with a captured Jason about to be cryogenically frozen for posterity and to study, when a certain Dr. Wimmer (David Cronenberg: SCANNERS, VIDEODROME, THE FLY , NIGHTBREED, BLOOD & DONUTS, EXTREME MEASURES, LAST NIGHT ON EARTH, TO DIE FOR) tells Rowan (Lexa Doig: TACTICAL FORCE, BA'AL, SECOND SIGHT, THE TRACKER, NO ALIBI) who heads the project to freeze Jason, to basically bugger off, he's taking charge of the killer. He has the military to back him up. Predictably, Jason escapes and starts slaughtering soldiers. An incident occurs that causes the facility where Jason is somewhat contained to shut down and turn the entire place in to a deep freeze.
Four hundred years later, some space kids find the facility and take both Jason-sicle and Rowan-sicle onboard their spaceship, Grendel, for research, and/or revival. Rowan comes around first and is rightfully disoriented and shocked to learn the year and where she now finds herself. She wastes no time telling the others to get rid of Jason before he awakens. They blow this off, of course, telling her he is quite dead. She thinks otherwise and tells them so and how unsuccessful that others were putting him down. Again, her warnings fall on deaf ears.
Well, as we who know how our boy from Crystal Lake operates, Jason is up in no time. And it doesn't matter who is around, space kids, soldiers, holographic images, or even an android, Jason doesn't discriminate. They're all dead meat as far as he's concerned.
After Jason does in most of the crew of the Grendel, he finally runs into something that is his match, at least close to, and has his ass readily handed to him. Our space kids rejoice that the killer is no longer a viable threat, as he is in pieces and scattered about, they get ready to take the shuttle and exit the ship.
These people have access to nano tech. Jason's corpse, or what's left of it, is quickly reformed with bionic enhancements and armor plating, and thus UBER JASON is born! If you think he was unstoppable before, you ain't seen anything yet.
Yes, the body count continues. Like with the other entries in the FRIDAY THE 13th series, people make stupid mistakes, and seemingly more so in the future than in any other time period. Their shortsightedness and careless demeanor costs them. Dearly.
Inevitably, a few survivors make it off the doomed ship when another ship, the Tiamat, answers Grendel's distress signal. Jason isn't so lucky. But have no fear. The ending is left wide open for another resurrection.
Another thing that gets me is how future folk, being a so-called advanced civilization, always come off as dumb as a fence post. You would think they would have several solutions should any expected, or unexpected problem arise. They never do. How the hell they made it so far up the evolutionary chain without becoming extinct, never fails to baffle me.
This flick came off to me as an extra long episode (albeit, a bloody one) of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION. It didn't help matters that we had Commander Data's (Brent Spiner) sister, Kay-Em 14 (Lisa Ryder: FOREVER KNIGHT [TV], CITY OF DARK, EARTH: FINAL CONFLICT, ANDROMEDA [TV], ENDLINGS) adds to that overall illusion. I'm being facetious here, of course, but Kay-Em 14 would have fit perfectly on that show when it was still running. Her transition would have been completely flawless.
Now comes the question: Did I like anything about this flick?
I can always find something to like no matter what I might think about it in its entirety. I dug the David Cronenberg cameo, Jason killing people who collectively had the IQ of a raisin, one of the best killings in the series, the opening scene of the movie. Other than those things I mentioned, I can't really get behind anything else. Although JASON X is marginally better than the two entries before it, FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN and JASON GOES TO HELL: THE FINAL FRIDAY, that's not saying a whole lot. Given my druthers, however, I will take this movie any day of the week and twice on Sunday, rather than watch its two predecessors ever again.