Paul Verhoeven's Hollow Man didn't exactly take the world by storm, but the flick apparently sold enough DVDs to warrant this (much) lower-budgeted direct-to-video sequel. And while it's not even up to the meager standards of the first entry, Claudio Faeh's Hollow Man 2 delivers just enough B-movie sci-fi slickness to warrant a rental ... provided you didn't outright hate the first flick.
"In name only" is the phrase of the day here, as Hollow Man 2 has next to nothing to do with the first entry. This time around we have Christian Slater's voice as a psychotic inviso-man who also happens to be a former solider extraordinaire. In an effort to combat the side effects of the inviso-serum (apparently it makes you decay or something), Michael Griffin must track down the team of scientists who dabble in high-tech transparency ... and kill them all. (I think.)
Let's just say that Joel Soisson's screenplay is not the main selling point of Hollow Man 2. The plot is convoluted and the flick's not edited particularly well -- but the basics are laid down with just enough clarity to keep things decipherable. Basically, it goes like this: Inviso Psycho is chasing Lady Scientist ... who is sticking close to Hero Cop ... who is being framed by Evil Politician ... who wants to kill Inviso Psycho. Imagine Memoirs of an Invisible Man with fewer intentional laughs (and some extra unintentional ones) and you're close to getting what Hollow Man 2 is all about.
Christian Slater gets top billing, despite having maybe 91 seconds of screen time. Hero Cop is played by the less-expensive Tom Cruise (Peter Facinelli), and Lady Scientist is portrayed by the expressionless Laura Regan. The principals do what they can to breathe some life into the proceedings, but it's pretty clear that the special effects are the star of Hollow Man 2 -- some of which are surprisingly cool (a final rain-shower battle between two Inviso Men is pretty slick indeed) while others are hilariously cheap-looking.
Essentially a goofy little matinee flick for the FX geeks and the schlock-obsessed sequel-lovers, Hollow Man 2 isn't nearly as bad as it could have been ... but it's pretty darn disposable all the same.
Video: Anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) and pretty slick across the board.
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, with optional English subtitles.
The 17-minute Inside Hollow Man 2 is a solid little behind-the-scenes piece with interviews from a few members of the cast and crew. Slater earns a few chuckles by showing up "invisible," while several other participants dole out some dish on how the flick got made.
There's also a 7-minute Visual FX Comparison (which I dug), a Storyboard Comparison, a Storyboard Gallery, and a bunch of Previews for When a Stranger Calls, Ultraviolet, The Dark, Hostel, The Fog, Freedomland, Basic Instinct 2, and The Amityville Horror.
More of a semi-watchable chase thriller than any sort of horror movie, Hollow Man 2 is a fairly mindless, yet admirably efficient, little piece of Sequel We Didn't Ask For. Fans of this sort of low-end genre fare might find it just a little more entertaining than they were expecting ... but you're not likely to mistake it for a particularly well-made film.