Inspired by H G Well’s The Invisible Man, director Paul Verhooven’s hit science fiction-horror-thriller movie Hollow Man came out in 2000. Starring Kevin Bacon, Elizabeth Shue, Josh Brolin along with Kim Dickens, Greg Grunberg, Joey Slotnick, Mary Randle & William Devane. Rhona Mitra plays the rape victim in small non-speaking role, one of her first in Hollywood.
Brilliant & arrogant scientist Sebastian Caine is heading a small team in a state of the art, military funded secret underground government lab that has developed a serum that can make a subject invisible. His team of scientists, which includes ex-girlfriend Dr. Linda McKay and Dr. Matt Kensington, eventually enable the serum to work on a few animals – rats, rabbits, monkeys, dogs and finally a gorilla. After much effort and trials Caine is able to restore the gorilla back to visibility. Sebastian becomes obsessed with Linda while unbeknownst to him, she has become involved with Matt. The rest of the team, while admiring his brilliance, can barely stand his ego and arrogant mannerisms. After the initial celebrations, Sebastian states that he wants to test it on himself before they go to the military. Although apprehensive, the team agrees and it works and Sebastian is the first invisible man! However, 3 days later the reversion process fails, after causing him much pain. The team makes him a latex mask and gloves so they can see him.
Frustrated and stuck in the lab, Sebastian goes out when only the youngest member, the tech guy, is in the lab despite the protests. After having tried to take off biologist Sarah’s top while she was sleeping, he is itching for some action. He sneaks into a neighbour’s apartment and rapes her. Later he spies on the others talking about his erratic behaviour so he fakes the cc camera’s feed and sneaks out. He finds Linda & Matt making out and is enraged. The team soon discover that they have been watching a recording and that Sebastian has been escaping without their knowledge. Linda and Matt go to Dr. Kramer’s house and confess their experiments. After they leave, Kramer attempts to warn the military, but Sebastian, who followed Linda and Matt to the house, drowns him in his own swimming pool. The next day, Sebastian waits until all of the team is in the lab and then disables the phones and all of the elevator codes except for his own. He removes his clothing and latex mask and, invisible, begins to hunt them all down. He kills off everyone until only Linda & an injured Matt remain. An enrage Caine is able to fend off a torching and electrocution on him and nearly pulls Linda into a lab explosion but she pulls apart a cable dropping Sebastian to a raging fire and his death. Linda & Matt escape via the elevator duct and out to safety.
6 years later a lower budget and direct to dvd release named Hollow Man 2 was put out without any of the cast or crew from the first movie. Christian Slater, Peter Facinelli & Laura Regan star in this dismal follow up that begs the question – why bother? A year after the events of the first movie, the Reisner Institute restarted the experiments as a covertly Department of Defense funded operation to create an undetectable soldier, codenamed “Silent Knight”. The resulting serum does turn human tissue invisible, but with adverse effects: it allows light to pass directly through a person, and the radiation damages the cells and causes physical and mental degradation, killing the person slowly. Scientist Maggie Dalton developed a compound called the “Buffer” to protect test subjects from that radiation. A soldier named Michael Griffin volunteered, and the serum succeeded, but the Buffer failed and Griffin seemingly died, which in turn got Maggie fired. She believes Griffin faked his death so he could use his powers without restraint, but now needs the antidote to the radiation before he dies. However, it turns out that he was not given the buffer, unknown to Maggie, but the military personnel.
Griffin is now after Maggie, after getting to know her whereabouts from another scientist who he kills after getting the address. The cops place two detectives to protect her but neglect to inform the cops that the suspect is invisible. After killing off one of the cops, Griffin confronts Maggie, who is saved by the other cop, Frank Turner. Turner asks for more details from Maggie and sneaks her out from the police station. They go to meet a man named Ludlow, a soldier enlisted into the program before Griffin. He fled, but is now slowly dying from radiation. Ludlow has also been tracking Griffin, and reveals the true story to his supposed “death” and the program itself: Operation Silent Knight was never about national security, and Griffin was never given the Buffer, as they used him to assassinate their political enemies. Meanwhile Griffin kills his former mentor Col. Bishop for his betrayal and tries to get Ludlow’s contacts. He arrives at the hideout and attacks Turner but Ludlow gives up his life to save the detective. To lure Maggie to him, Griffin kidnaps her sister Heather and they meet at the train station where he tries to inject Maggie with the same serum. Griffins escapes with Maggie but she however she knocks the syringe off his hand. When the military guards arrive Turner uses the syringe on himself and goes to find Maggie & Griffin.
At the old lab Maggie is being forced to recreate the buffer and after injecting himself, Griffin slowly becomes visible. He then tries to kill Maggie but is attacked by Turner Maggie reveals that he has been poisoned, as the Buffer is based on rat poison; she deliberately left the doses she made from the poison just toxic enough to kill them both, and loses consciousness. Enraged, Griffin takes a shovel and attempts to kill her, but Turner stops him and kills him with the shovel. He then carries Maggie away for medical attention, leaving Griffin’s body outside in the rain. A few days later, Maggie is recovering in hospital and is poised to be released. Heather tells her that Turner has not been found. Maggie insists that he will come back to her, as she knows he needs her. Outside, they are being watched by an invisible man in a hood who then walks away.
While the first is a really good thriller that you can rewatch many times, the sequel is a lame attempt to get some cash outta the publicity & name of the first one. 8 outta 10 for the first one and a 5 for the sequel.