Jason X (2001)
By: Devon B. on October 31, 2005  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
DVD
Roadshow (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, English DTS 5.1, English DD 2.0. English Subtitles. 87 minutes
The Movie
Credits
Director: James Isaac
Starring: Lexa Doig, Kane Hodder, Chuck Campbell, Lisa Ryder, Peter Mensah, Melyssa Ade
Screenplay: Todd Farmer
Country: USA
Several years ago, a program arose on TV spun off from Mad magazine. Mad TV wasn't any good, but one sketch they did always struck me as very funny. The sketch was Apollo the 13th, and was set on a space ship that had more to worry about than fuel problems: A hockey-masked maniac offing the crew. Evidently, I wasn't the only person who thought the sketch was good, because somehow its premise worked itself into a feature length film.

Jason X opens with Jason being bound in some facility. I'm not sure how they got the body, but the filmmakers probably wanted to leave that unanswered so it can link up to whatever instalment they want to make next. Jason goes on a rampage in the facility (offing David Cronenberg, in a bit part), and ends up cryogenically frozen, along with the doctor who had been working on him. The pair are resurrected in the year 2455, but don't worry, there's no difficulty understanding the children of the future. I would think after four centuries people might talk a little different than today, but it seems language, and especially slang, stagnated in the early 2000s. The people who talk like they're 400 years younger take Jason on their spaceship, Grendel, a possible reference to the comic character that may have inspired Jason's new look?

Jason is thought to be dead, but of course wakes up, runs amok, and probably just wishes someone would give him a hug to ease his internal pain. He manages to rehash his rooftop fight from Jason Takes Manhattan, where a skilled fighter hits Jason a lot then gets obliterated, and Jason goes on to kill a bunch of other people in unremarkable fashion before he gets himself shot up. Jason is than rebuilt by nanobots (I don't know why, since he can body hop as shown in Jason Goes To Hell) reminiscent of the nasty pasty getting an upgrade in another Kane Hodder film, Project: Metalbeast. I'm not sure if this will be a new theme in Kane Hodder films, but I find the very concept of Kane Hodder films too frightening to give it much further thought. Anyway, the doctor that is revived with Jason is obviously superhuman, so they should have just let her deal with him. I mean, she manages to catch Jason's arm mid attack and hold it back…she must be of at least comparable strength to him!

The plot is gibberish. People still seem to be able to merely cling onto something to prevent being sucked into the vacuum of space. The acting is flat or just plain stupid, no Kevin Bacons here. There are a lot of stupid jokes, and there's a robot included solely to rip off some of The Matrix's style.

Jason X isn't all bad, and I did laugh at a few of the jokes, especially the virtual Crystal Lake satire. Jason X also meets the series' requirement of featuring a masked man killing people, but I couldn't shake the sense that if I'd been a lifelong Jason fan, I'd hate this movie. I didn't mind it as much while watching it, but I've decided just now that I hate it. I really hate it. Why? Three letters: CGI. If one fucking series should be continuing traditional makeup effects, it's the fucking series that built its entire success from traditional makeup effects. There's no place for a CG composite effect of frozen Jason severing an arm; or for CG enhanced deaths such as the frozen face smashing; and there is definitely no FUCKING PLACE FOR BAD SPACE CGI IN A FUCKING FRIDAY FILM!!!
Video
The DVD presents the film at 1.85:1, and was the first major studio film to be converted entirely into a digital medium. As a result, the print is spectacular. Depth, colour, and sharpness are all excellent.
Audio
With the option of a DTS track, Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby 2.0, the sound is also extremely good. I reviewed the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, and found it to be incredibly clear. The dialogue is all clear and crisp, and the loud bangs of explosions and gunfire are well represented.
Extra Features
Jason X has quite a few extras. The trailer is naturally included, as well as a "Jump to a Death" feature which is pointless since scene selection can pretty much do that anyway. A short documentary called The Many Lives of Jason doesn't offer up much new information but isn't too bad. At least it had Joe Bob Briggs. A "making of" is included, but there must've been some mix up, as these people seem to be describing an entirely different film. I'd like to see the film those people made because it sounded good. It was "unpredictable," had "good acting," was "very scary," and featured a villain named Überjason that rivals Darth Vader in screen presence.

Also included is a commentary featuring the director, the writer, and the producer. The commentary is okay, but it's hard to listen to people talking about Jason X in terms of quality. The guys make some bad jokes while discussing things, and the director comes across as a bit of a quirky putz, but he's not too annoying…. though he is blamed for the film's terrible "He's screwed" line, so he IS annoying and I've just decided I hate him too, now. The commentators discuss why the film is in outer space, and disclose, presumably the most horrific thing about the film for most Friday fans aside from a possible sequel, that the MPAA seemed to like their film. It's also revealed they were trying to do something new; I guess they missed that episode of Mad TV. And the endless ads that ran for it with the Apollo the 13th sketch. The commentators also seem to think that Jason's scary because he just appears, and the fear of him just popping up, seemingly impossible given his last location, puts people on edge. I think most horror fans just call that bad writing, and the only way it gets 'em near the edge of their seat is if they're about to fling their popcorn at the screen in disgust. Eventually an argument starts on the commentary, and one guy is accused, albeit jokingly, of not even having seen the previous Friday films. I was actually wondering if any of them had. The commentary is sometimes amusing, but pretty silly, just like the movie. I might have liked it, and consequentially the film, better if they'd explained what the hell Jason was doing alive (or even done an Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein and said it doesn't matter why he's back, he just is) since this was the first sequel after Jason Goes To Hell, and how that dude manages to fling himself across the void of space to grab Jason.
The Verdict
Honestly, I didn't mind the movie too much when I watched it. Going in, I new it would be shit, and it is. But I've now decided that I hate it, and everyone should boycott it. Unless you haven't seen it, in which case you should watch it so you can agree with me about how sacrilegious it is to have CGI so prominent in a Friday movie. The disc is a true special edition of high quality, though, so while I rate the film a 1, I give the DVD a 3.
Movie Score
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