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

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents

Hollow Man: Director's Cut (2000)

“You don’t make history by following the rules, you make it by seizing the moment.”- Sebastian Cane (Kevin Bacon)

Stars: Kevin Bacon, Elisabeth Shue
Other Stars: Josh Brolin, Kim Dickens, Joey Slotnick, Mary Randle
Director: Paul Verhoeven

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (graphic violence, adult language)
Run Time: 01h:59m:08s
Release Date: 2007-10-16
Genre: sci-fi

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ C+A-A- B-


DVD Review

Director Paul Verhoeven made a name for himself, internationally, at the helm of acclaimed Dutch films like Soldier of Orange and Spetters. After a successful Hollywood debut with Robocop, Verhoeven’s been a mainstay in the mainstream limelight with numerous ups and downs, with Showgirls being one of the latter. One of the other misses was 2000’s Hollow Man, a critical flop that couldn’t make back its nearly $100 million budget at the box office. Still, the film has enough of a following to warrant a new DVD release sporting a new, Director’s Cut that runs eight minutes longer than the theatrical version.

Sebastian Caine (Kevin Bacon) is an acclaimed scientist working on a US-funded project to develop a way to make humans invisible. His partner is his ex-girlfriend, Linda (Elisabeth Shue), and the pair has, indeed, developed such a serum that, upon self-testing, turns Sebastian into an invisible man. The mind-altering affects of the serum combined with the knowledge that he can’t reverse the effects turns Sebastian into a psychopath. Now, no one is safe as he goes after the rest of his team of scientists, Linda, and even her current boyfriend, Matthew (Josh Brolin).

This is far from Verhoeven’s best (those are arguably Robocop and Starship Troopers), but the film does have some redeeming qualities. For one, pacing is never an issue as we jump right into the invisibility testing, and it isn’t long before the big accident that transforms Sebastian. This also introduces us to the amazing special effects work which dominates much of the rest of the film. There were complaints, upon the film’s theatrical release, about the excessive reliance on this CGI and green-screen work, but in this case, they’re necessary, given that we have to believe we’re seeing an actual invisible man wrecking havoc everywhere.

The film’s problems stem from a few areas, including the actors. Performers have been working with green-screen and CGI effects for many years now, but Bacon, Shue, and company seem incredibly uncomfortable here. It doesn’t help that the characters are written as dull, caricatures from every other sci-fi movie ever made, with unnecessary romantic relationships thrown into the story for good measure. Still, we could have gotten a bit more from the actors, with Bacon giving one of the worst performances of his career, Shue giving wooden, deer-in-the-headlights looks throughout, and Josh Brolin (No Country For Old Men) making us appreciate his recent career resurgence even more after revisiting his work in this.

Sony’s latest double-dipping effort is really only for the die-hards and Verhoeven completists. The main differences between this longer cut and the theatrical one involve seven minutes of footage that don’t really add much to the original version. Actually, these additional minutes have been seen before, in that they’ve been included as “Deleted Scenes” on a previous DVD release. Still, it’s always great to have a director’s original vision in its entirety, and when the movie isn’t that great to begin with, anything usually helps, if only a little. Whether that’s enough to make fans trash their older disc and grab this new one is a question that is to be left up to the individual, but it’s a tough sell in my book.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: C+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The film is presented in an anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio that is very similar in quality to the older DVD release. Images appeared sharp and detailed throughout, with only a few instances of softness on display. The colors were bright and vivid, with accurate, natural flesh tones, and solid, deep blacks. There weren’t any print flaws such as dirt or grain, nor is there anything to hinder the look of the special effects.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The only audio track is a Dolby Digital 5.1 offering, and it’s an impressive, active mix that enhances the movie’s intense action sequences. All of the speakers are used quite a bit, but are quiet at the appropriate times. The poorly-written dialogue is always easy to hear and understand, with no hissing or other audio distortion to report.

Audio Transfer Grade: A- 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Korean with remote access
10 Other Trailer(s) featuring Pumpkinhead 4: Blood Feud, Wind Chill, Kaw, Resident Evil & Resident Evil: Apocalypse Deluxe Edition DVD 2-Pack, Rise: Blood Hunter, Hostel Part II, Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Ultimate Edition, Ray Harryhausen in Color, The Company, Seinfeld – Season 9
2 Documentaries
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. VFX Picture Comparison
Extras Review: Along with a bunch of previews we also get a few worthwhile extras, including Hollow Man: Anatomy of a Thriller. This 15-minute piece is a standard making-of segment that mixes cast and crew interviews with on-set and special effects footage.

Fleshing Out the Hollow Man runs for just under 40 minutes and focuses mostly on the technical aspects of the film. We also get more cast and crew interviews, but this is a great look at the amazing special effects that were employed.

Finally, we’re treated to a “VFX Picture Comparison,” which looks at three specific sequences from the film. At just over four minutes in total length this is a great way to get a feel for the extensive detail that goes into creating the effects for a short portion of a movie.

Extras Grade: B-

Final Comments

Falling into the borderline-necessary DVD re-release category is Sony’s Hollow Man: Director’s Cut. This flawed Paul Verhoeven sci-fi opus has never been overly well-received, but it does have a few merits, including some impressive special effects. This single-disc features excellent audio and video, and we don’t really get anything new on the extras front.

Chuck Aliaga 2008-02-29