Sunday, October 21, 2012

Jason X

Whoever thought of the idea of putting Jason into outer space deserves a bloody high-five; and to give credit where credit is due, that man would be Todd Farmer. The Friday the 13th movies had long since gone stale, and if they were going to do another one, a radical new approach would be needed. Jason X is an original idea only as far as the franchise goes. It’s a twist in the concept, moving from horror, to science-fiction/horror, a combination of two great genres. Borrowing heavily from Alien, yet sticking to the formula of a serial killer offing attractive young adults, it delivers suspense, campy fun, action, and even a scare or two. The bottom line is that this film is enjoyable, and you won’t end it feeling like you just wasted two hours of your life. Let me clarify, at least you wont regret wasting two hours of your life. This is a slasher film, after all. 
The movie is filled with sci-fi clich├ęs to be sure, such as the android character’s curiosity about humanity, and the attraction her maker has towards her. Her requesting to have nipples put onto her breasts is actually quite touching, as her reason is simply because the other women have them. Why this movie works better than the previous seven in the franchise is through scenes like that where we get to know some of the characters as human beings, even though this one involves an android. By getting to know a character, we start to care what happens to them, which is an essential part of building up suspense. If we don’t care about a character, then we won’t care if they live or die. This movie gives us some likable characters, but it also gives us a few too many who are introduced, than quickly killed off. If I could’ve given Mr. Farmer some advice, it would have been to lower the body count. I know that seems contradictory to what a slasher movie is all about, but I’ve never been a fan of the excess. The security team on board the ship was not necessary, as they would not have been needed for the groups intended mission, and was only introduced to up the kill ratio. I also didn’t appreciate the pilot character, as he could have been combined with the engineer, and with more screen time, would have produced a more meaningful killing.  
The character that works the least is the villain, Professor Lowe. I have to differentiate between he and Jason as to who the villain is. Jason is the antagonist, and in this universe, sometimes the purveyor of justice. The professor is a greedy, lecherous, manipulative man, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Unfortunately, I didn’t like disliking him. In fact, I didn’t even dislike this character; I simply found him annoying and repulsive and wanted him off the screen. Rooting for the killer is never a good thing. I’m rather uncomfortable with it, and when it happens, there’s been a blatant failure with humanizing a character. The actor who portrays him tries to approach the role with a sense of humor, but it only makes him more of a caricature than a villain. One of the common mistakes actors make is going over the top. It’s usually a problem with stage actors who haven’t learned to tone it down yet. I’ll put the blame on the director for this though, he should have recognized when things were getting stupid.
Two of the stars went on to work together again in the sci-fi series Andromeda, Lexa Doig and Lisa Ryder. Here, Doig plays the heroine, while Ryder plays an android. In Andromeda those roles would be reversed. The same casting agency must have been involved with both projects, as the filming of this movie happened almost immediately prior to Andromeda. Usually, the acting abilities of the cast are secondary to other considerations in these types of movies, but this group does show a decent level of ability. Ten years later, nobody in the cast has become a Kevin Bacon, but Hollywood is a tough place. Most of them have appeared to have continued working as much as actors generally do, with a higher than normal concentration in the sci-fi field. The guy who played Jason, Kane Hodder may be working the most out of all of them, usually answering the casting call for “someone big.”

I know that the budget for this film was not high, but you wouldn’t know it from the special effects. They aren’t impressive, but they work, and that’s all they need to do. We get some CGI nanobots and holograms, combined with futuristic sets and costumes, with old fashioned fake blood and body parts littering the area. It’s all enough to bring Jason into the 25th century.

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