the review site with a difference since 1999
Reviews Interviews Articles Apps About

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents

Hollow Man 2 (2006)

"Don't tell anyone I was here. You never even saw me."- Michael Griffin (Christian Slater)

Stars: Peter Facinelli, Laura Regan
Other Stars: Christian Slater
Director: Claudio Faeh

MPAA Rating: R for (violence, some sexuality/nudity, language)
Run Time: 01h:31m:13s
Release Date: 2006-05-23
Genre: sci-fi

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer


DVD Review

The original Hollow Man (2000) has a few things going for it that has propelled it to home video success. It has a solid cast (Kevin Bacon and Elisabeth Shue among them), big-budget special effects, and, oh yeah, Paul Robocop Verhoeven. Although it took a while, here's the sequel to that sci-fi guilty pleasure, a direct-to-video entry that doesn't bring any of the original cast, characters, or Verhoeven back, but idoes promise to offer more of the same action-packed effects-laden invisible man fun.

Forgetting the events of the original, we immediately "meet" (he's already invisible at the start of the film) Michael Griffin (Christian Slater), a US soldier who agreed to be injected with an experimental serum. This formula has not only rendered Griffin invisible, but it's quickly driving him mad as well. He is after the one person he believes can make him normal again, scientist Maggie Dalton (Laura Regan). She has enlisted the help of homicide detective Frank Turner (Peter Facinelli), who takes her to a safe place after Griffin finds Maggie's house. Frank can only protect Maggie for so long, as Griffin's invisibility makes it easier for him to get to her and track down the "cure" he seeks.

While nowhere near as awful as I expected, Hollow Man 2 the action sequences are intense enough to keep us interested, and the high technical quality of the audio and video presentations is a nice surprise. This is one of the better looking and sounding direct-to-video DVDs you'll find, but the low-budget nature of the special effects and no-name cast keep it from reaching the level of the first film, which, again, wasn't that great itself.

I was once a huge Christian Slater fan. With such promising work in Pump Up the Volume, True Romance, and the underrated Kuffs, Slater was the "Next Big Thing" of the early 1990s. Slater practically fell off the Hollywood map, at least as far as starring roles were concerned. Since then, he's shown up in minor roles, with his meatier work limited to mostly direct-to-video features. Most of what he brings to this sequel is in the form of his voice, as his character is invisible for about 99% of the feature. While such a physically "transparent" role might not be the key to getting back into the limelight, he does a fine job vocally and never wears out his welcome in any aspect of the performance.

The original's big selling point was its amazing special effects. Unfortunately, Hollow Man 2 doesn't deliver in that department either. For a film about an invisible man, the transparency effects are disappointingly sparse. There are a few instances where the outline of Griffin's body is seen, such as when he's stabbed with a pen or standing in the rain, but most of these effects are limited to wet footprints or other indentations involving his feet. Sure, director Claudio Faeh has a lot less money to work with than Verhoeven had, but a bit more flash in the effects department might have made a big difference.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: C


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The high quality of this anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen transfer makes it a shame that Hollow Man 2 never made it to theaters. Every image is razor sharp, with even the most minute detail on display, and virtually no print defects. Much of the film takes place either at night or in dimly lit rooms, and the shadow and contrast levels hold up just fine. The colors are rendered well, with no bleeding or other blemishes.

Image Transfer Grade: A

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is almost reference quaity, creating an aggressive, active surround experience. The dynamic range is amazing, with gun shots and bullets ricocheting around the room as if you were right in the middle of a chase scene or shoot-out. The .LFE adds a ton of punch as well, giving my subwoofer more of a workout than it's had in quite a while.

Audio Transfer Grade: A+ 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
8 Other Trailer(s) featuring When a Stranger Calls, Ultraviolet, The Dark, Hostel, The Fog, Freedomland, Basic Instinct 2, The Amityville Horror
1 Documentaries
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Visual FX Comparison
  2. Storyboard Gallery
Extras Review: The decent collection of extra materials begins with Inside Hollow Man II, a 17-minute documentary that mixes behind-the-scenes footage with cast (including Christian Slater, in costume) and crew interviews. This is a rather interesting catch-all making-of piece.

There's also a seven-minute Visual FX comparison, as well as a four-minute storyboard comparison. Both of these utilize split-screen to show us the various stages of the effects and what goes into drawing storyboards. A storyboard gallery gives us a look at 49 of those drawings.

A collection of eight trailers for other Sony Pictures Home Entertainment releases are included.

Extras Grade: B

Final Comments

A sequel to a guilty pleasure film, at best, Hollow Man 2 slightly exceeds the expectations one usually has going into a direct-to-video film. While not as interesting as the original, there are enough elements of this sequel to make it worth a single viewing. Sony's DVD release features excellent audio and video presentations, and they've thrown in a few behind-the-scenes extra features for good measure.

Chuck Aliaga 2006-06-02