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Hollow Man

Kevin Bacon does a memorable high-tech disappearing act in the latest transparent attempt to update the invisible-man genre.


Arrogant scientific genius Sebastian Caine (Bacon) has perfected the means to make living creatures vanish from sight -- described straight-faced as "a quantum shift out of the visible universe" -- and naturally, he decides to test the process on himself. But when he starts having a little too much fun making unseen mischief, his more responsible assistants (Elisabeth Shue, Josh Brolin) find themselves with a crisis on their hands.


Bacon, smartly cast here because of his equal talent for playing heroes and villains, brings much-needed edge to the project as a charismatic rule-breaker tempted by the darker possible applications of invisibility. He dominates the picture even when he's see-through. The lightweight Shue is a lot harder to buy in a lab coat - didn't the filmmakers bother to review her similarly unconvincing work as a nuclear physicist in "The Saint"?


Slick sex-and-violence exploiter Paul Verhoeven ("Basic Instinct," "Starship Troopers") stages the piece as a straight sci-fi thrill show. Characteristically, he's much more in tune with the erotic possibilities of having the title character play peeping Tom with a succession of attractive women than the psychological ramifications of the situation on the script's hollow characters. On the other hand, the director of "Total Recall" and "RoboCop" knows how to get the maximum punch out of the film's big-budget special effects, the most elaborate that have ever graced an invisible-man movie.

Bottom line

It's incredible: The more you watch "Hollow Man," the more obvious it is that there's nothing there.


Starring Kevin Bacon, Elisabeth Shue, Josh Brolin, William Devane and Kim Dickens

Directed by Paul Verhoeven. Written by Andrew Marlowe. Based on the story by Douglas Wick. Produced by Douglas Wick and Alan Marshall. Released by Sony Pictures.