'Jason X' offers few
chills, plenty of pain
April 30, 2002
By Franklin Harris
It's easy to imagine the pitch the producers of "Jason X" made to New Line Cinema. It probably went something like, "Let's take 'Friday the 13th' and combine it with 'Alien.' It'll be great!"
Alas, the result is anything but great, unless you follow-up "great" with "big mess."
"Jason X," the 10th installment in the threadbare "Friday the 13th" franchise, offers little new in terms of slasher-movie chills. And when it finally does poke fun at its own cliches, it does so too late to redeem the previous hour and 20 minutes of pain.
Photo Copyright © New Line Cinema|
Even in the future, Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder) is a homicidal maniac looking for a hockey fight.
This time, Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder), the unstoppable killing machine of the previous "Friday the 13th" films, gets turned into a Popsicle, thanks to the wonders of cryogenic technology.
Jump to the 25th Century, when some archeology students find Jason and an equally frozen scientist (Lexa Doig).
Of course, the students have no idea what they've discovered, so they load their finds onto a spaceship and blast off for home.
They manage to revive the scientist, who warns them to ditch Jason as soon as possible. But if anyone actually listened, the movie would be about 20 minutes long. So, as always, we do things the hard way.
Jason thaws out, wakes up and promptly goes on yet another killing spree.
The victims come in two flavors. First, there are the soldiers, obviously modeled after the marines in director James Cameron's "Aliens." As in "Aliens," one of them is named Dallas, just in case you didn't get the connection.
The soldiers don't last long.
Next, we have the students. (Why are soldiers and students on the same ship anyway? The movie never tells us, and the filmmakers probably hope audiences are too stupid to ask.) And teen-agers in the future being pretty much like teen-agers today, you can guess that there are some extracurricular goings on. But as anyone who has seen any of the previous "Friday the 13th" movies knows, having sex is the surest way to wind up with a machete through your skull.
Fortunately, the teens have an android named Kay-Em 14 (Lisa Ryder) to protect them. Unfortunately, as anyone who has seen the original "Alien" knows, that trick never works.
And just when the "Alien" references run out, Jason "gets an upgrade," and we get a riff on "The Terminator."
"Jason X" does have one clever killing, involving a head, liquid nitrogen and a large countertop. And there is an amusing virtual-reality sequence late in the film. But neither is enough to save the film from its own lack of imagination.
This is a franchise that ran out of ideas long ago. Unfortunately, like its main character, it just won't die.
Trivia: Two of the stars of "Jason X," Doig and Ryder, star together in the syndicated TV series "Andromeda." Dr. Wimmer, who dies in the film's first few minutes, is played by David Cronenberg, who directs good movies, like "eXistenZ," and acts in bad ones.