Wednesday, July 11, 2007

One Hell Of A Wakeup Call

Jason goes to outer space. Who’da thunk it? Well, you have to admit—it’s creative. In 2002, after quite some time languishing on New Line Cinema’s dusty shelf, JASON X hit theaters. Yes, it’s a stupid title, made even more stupid by the fact that it’s actually pronounced “Jason Ex” instead of “Jason Ten” for some reason I can’t even imagine.

For awhile, it looked as though we Americans may not see JASON X at all. It opened in Europe during the summer of 2001, but it wasn’t until almost a year later that New Line released the film on 1800 screens in the U.S., where it was the #3 grosser. JASON X isn’t really very good, but I was surprised that I liked it as much as I did, and I’d rather watch it again than, say, HALLOWEEN H20 or I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER.

That hockey-masked madman, Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder in his fourth straight outing), is back at it again, escaping certain death to slice and dice more beautiful young people in a secluded setting--this time in outer space. Jason, along with a comely scientist named Rowan (cutie Lexa Doig from the ANDROMEDA TV series), was cryogenically frozen in 2008 and then thawed out more than four hundred years later--2455--by a spacefaring research team comprised of horny teenagers and gung-ho space Marines. You would think that, four centuries from now, young people from Earth would have gotten smarter and less obnoxious, but nooooooo. Something else you would naturally assume is that they would no longer wear 21st-century hairstyles and fashions or use 21st-century slang, but you’d be wrong there too.

As ridiculous as the premise is, where else could Jason go by this point in the series except outer space? He’s more powerful than ever, resisting a barrage of gunfire and even a frontal attack by a sexy robot (!), the mega-powered KM-14 (Lisa Ryder). The big disappointment comes near the end, after Jason has been chemically transformed into a super-Jason. RoboJason, if you will. RoboJason receives precious little screen time and proves surprisingly easy to dispatch. Don’t get me wrong. RoboJason (or, as I think he’s called in the press notes, UberJason) is not a terrible concept. Silly, of course, but not much so when you consider all the FRIDAY THE 13TH films that came before this one. At this point, hell, why not a superpowered Jason? The problem is that the transformation doesn’t occur until very late in the movie, and very little is done with him. RoboJason does endure a pretty goofy death scene. I can’t imagine how any screenwriter could write his way outta that one.

Of course, Jason can never die so long as executive producer Sean Cunningham smells a buck, and the blade-slinger soon returned to battle Freddy Krueger in FREDDY VS. JASON, which may have been the most anticipated battle in modern monster-movie history.

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