have to respect a killer so dedicated to his craft that he tries never
to kill the same way twice. At least, not twice in one movie. And if
today's technology provides some limitations, the only logical move
is to go into deep freeze and wait for it to catch up with you.
Actually, the deep
freeze isn't exactly Jason Voorhees' (Kane Hodder) choice. As scientist/cop/hottie
Rowan (Lexa Doig) explains to their future rescuers, they "…tried hanging
him, shooting him, gassing him, nothing worked." With Jason's amazing
regenerative abilities, the only solution is to put him on ice until
something can be guaranteed to kill him. Of course, unscrupulous scientists
(led by horror film director David Cronenberg) want to study him first,
a move that can only end in tears. And violent dismemberings.
As a result, Jason
and Rowan end up frozen together, past the time that Earth becomes unlivable.
Archaeology students from Earth 2 discover them while on a dig. Even
450 years in the future, young people in horror movies follow the rules
of stupidity. When a frozen Jason still manages to slice off
gawky Azrael's (Dov Tiefenbach) arm, the students don't take the hint
that this thing would be best left to the cockroaches.
Being as it is
the future, such ignorance may be forgivable. Jason's hockey mask is
of great interest, as the sport was outlawed in 2020. No doubt these
kids have never actually seen a splatter movie. But they have mastered
cellular regeneration, replacing Azrael's arm and reviving Ripley. Whoops.
I meant Rowan. They consider Jason's body too far gone, little realizing
that all he needs is a little time to himself.
From here on out,
any and all resemblance to the Alien series is purely intentional.
The filmmakers just hope that we won't notice. Instead of dangerous
super-bugs, we've got an unstoppable killing machine. And frankly, this
way is more fun.
We learn very little
about the culture of the future. People are still horny (thank heavens,
else what motivation would Jason have?). You can even program your own
robot mate, in this case super-vixen Kay-Em 14 (Lisa Ryder), complete
with magnetic nipples. Savor that a moment. Videogames utilize holographic
technology, but then, Star Trek taught us that. And money still
Just as in Aliens,
the guy running the operation, Professor Lowe (Jonathan Potts), is far
more interested in keeping the killer alive. Some government somewhere
can use a super-psycho-soldier, and will pay handsomely for it. Too
bad Lowe hadn't seen any splatter movies, either; he'd know that only
the noble survive. Sometimes not even them.
plays by all the rules, and thankfully with a sense of wit, even revisiting
the killings of an earlier Friday the 13th movie. (It involves
sleeping bags, and taken out of the Crystal Lake context, it's pretty
funny.) With a mute killer, it falls on the rest of the cast to drop
snide bon mots, which they do. But one-liners never overpower
the action or feel out of place.
As for the violence,
most of that plays out cleverly, too. For a seemingly single-minded
killer, Jason has an artful sense. I've seen one of this movie's killings
done as a magic trick by Melinda, Mistress of Magic, in Las Vegas. Melinda
survived. Jason's victim doesn't.
Most of the film,
by the way, does not need the amped-up super-Jason that the advertising
campaign promises. Though the upgrade does happen, it's in the last
quarter of the movie. Don't get tense waiting for it. Jason X is cool
(no truth to the rumor he was originally known as Jason Aqua), but Jason
Classic gets the job done just as well.
The actors themselves
deliver the biggest surprise. Most of them don't suck. They could have,
and it wouldn't have mattered. But still they actually come off believably,
especially Doig. In a couple of scenes, everyone seems strangely relaxed,
but that seems more an effect of awkward scripting or directing than
an actor's choice. Even when the other characters believe they have
Jason beaten, Rowan never loses her underlying edge.
It's not great
art. The ships and space stations all look a bit cheesy. On the interiors,
the corridors and rooms have a suspicious sameness to them. And in the
wake of all the real violence we've seen in the last year, it's hard
to take something like this too seriously.
As Fat Lou the
engineer (Boyd Banks) says after seeing the remains of the ship's pilot,
"of course, I've seen worse." But if Jason X does well, we might
finally get to see that long-rumored Jason vs. Freddy movie,
especially with both franchises in the hands of New Line Cinema. If
we don't, at least this one has breathed some new life into a dead franchise.
But then, Jason
can't die, can he…?
What's It Worth?