Mark Reviews Movies


1 ½ Stars (out of 4)

Director: James Isaac

Cast: Kane Hodder, Lexa Doig, Lisa Ryder, Chuck Campbell, Jonathan Potts, Peter Mensah, Melyssa Ade, Melody Johnson

MPAA Rating: R (for strong horror violence, language and some sexuality)

Running Time: 1:33

Release Date: 4/26/02

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Review by Mark Dujsik

I don’t know if Jason X thinks it’s a comedy. I think it’s going for the self-aware horror-comedy (emphasizing the horror, of course), but until its final fifteen or twenty minutes, the movie fails miserably at it. Where it misfires is that it still takes the material seriously. There are jokes here and there, but only in the form of “clever” one-liners before, during, or after good old Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder), the hockey-mask wearing, unstoppable psycho of the Friday the 13th series, has found some inventive way of horrifically doing in one of the almost unlimited number of potential corpses wandering around a space station in the year 2455. Yes, you read that last sentence correctly. Well, Jason’s gone to Manhattan and Hell, I guess a space station in the year 2455 can be crossed off the list of ideas for the inevitable future sequels (hey, don’t shoot the messenger).

The movie starts in 2010 at the Crystal Lake Research Facility, where Jason has finally been captured. The powers that be have decided that putting the invincible mass murder to death would ruin a perfectly good research opportunity (it just makes sense—how much research presents itself at a summer camp?). That and he’s survived almost every form of execution in the book. The project leader is Rowan (Lexa Doig), a fetching twenty-something who must be far too young to be a project leader, but there you go. Of course, Jason escapes his restraints and kills everyone near him in the facility except for Rowan, who barely escapes death by cryogenically freezing herself and Jason. Cut to 2455, where yet another research team is investigating the now super-decrepit facility, discovers the two frozen bodies, and brings them back to their space station (first mistake). Then the man in charge Professor Lowe (Jonathan Potts) discovers who Jason is and that he could be worth a lot of money (second mistake). Then two of the research students run off and have sex (third mistake). Put all of it together, and of course, Jason wakes up to wreak havoc.

The problem with too many self-aware horror movies (especially this one if that’s what it is) is that they present the clichés of the genre without mocking them, as if simply piling them into the script was enough. Jason X gives us a whole bunch of annoying horror conventions. There’s the cast of fresh- and anonymous-faced actors (using the word generously) who are merely there for targets, like in a carnival duck shoot. Do we care about a single one of them enough to differentiate most of them? No and neither do the rest of the characters. Characters are introduced (again, using the term generously) out of nowhere just so Jason can have another victim. Supposedly dead characters come back to life just in time to save the day. For some reason, people always sneak up behind other people in the dark, especially when that person is carrying a weapon. Here, they’ve got big guns, which makes the whole thing even more annoying. For once, I’d like to see the person being snuck up on just turn around and shoot/stab/whatever the person doing the sneaking and say something like, “Served him right.”  You’d think they would, since Jason always manages to appear behind his intended victim.

This is all taken at face value. Whatever little irony is present comes from one-liners interspersed among the chaos. Best/Worst example: “This sucks on so many levels,” coming from a girl about to be sucked through a small crack in the space station’s hull. I’ll tell you when I stop laughing. Ok, I’m done. Then, in the final fifteen or twenty minutes, something strange happens; the movie abandons all rational forms of logic and starts going so over-the-top that it almost works as satire. After one fight leaves him missing a few pieces, Jason gets a major rehaul, turning him into a mechanical/monster hybrid worthy of the trashiest sort of horror movie. The jokes start coming much faster and with much more accuracy then before, taking shots, not at the clichés it’s mistakenly indulged in up to this point, but at the series itself. One scene in particular, in which Jason is tricked into thinking he’s back at Camp Crystal Lake with two co-eds looking to “drink beer, smoke pot, and have premarital sex,” is the best in the movie.

By this time, though, Jason X has stumbled down the wrong path for too long. Fans of the series will get a kick out of the final act, but that’s about all. The rest of us who are merely passing observers to the whole thing will only see a rather pitiable attempt to copy the self-aware horror trend that has really gone out of style well before this one’s release.

Copyright © 2002 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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