by Eric D. Snider
Released: April 26, 2002
Consider now "Jason X," the long-awaited sequel to Spike Lee's "Malcolm X," this time biographing the militant Muslim's even more unreasonable brother.
I am kidding, of course. No one could be more unreasonable than Malcolm X.
In truth, "Jason X" is "Friday the 13th Part 10," the 10th installment in the unending series of slasher films regarding one Jason Voorhees and his peculiar tendencies toward murder and antisocial behavior.
Part nine, which was called "Jason Goes to Hell" with the optimistic but false subtitle "The Final Friday," ended with Jason being dragged down to the Hades by what appeared to be Freddy Krueger. This occurred after much elaborate explanation as to why Jason had not been successfully killed before, and how it could actually, finally be accomplished. Several people went to a lot of effort to arrange the situation properly so that Jason's death would, indeed, be the end of things.
Imagine their disappointment, then, to find that in "Jason X," he is alive and well, none the worse for having spent some time in the realm of Lucifer. In fact, he seems positively invigorated. If I were the blood relative who killed him with a special knife in Part 9, I would be very angry to see him up and running around now.
Anyway, Part 10 skips the part where Jason comes back to life, the filmmakers apparently realizing that 1) no explanation would be plausible and 2) it doesn't matter. It is the year 2010, approximately, and Jason is being kept alive and studied by some scientists who are understandably impressed by his regenerative powers and seeming immortality. A hot young scientist named Rowan (Lexa Doig) warns them to simply destroy Jason before he breaks free and kills them all. They ignore her warning, and Jason immediately breaks free and kills them all.
Before he can kill her, though, Rowan leads him into a cryogenics chamber, where Jason and Rowan are both frozen solid. Next thing you know, it's 2455, and a group of science students on a field trip (I'm not kidding) stumble across the Crystal Lake Research Facility and the two Popsicles.
Let us discuss the teens of the future. Neither time nor evolution has diminished their libido nor their dim-wittedness; if anything, they are hornier and stupider. They are not camping by lakes anymore, what with Earth being uninhabitable. Instead, they are conducting research -- not in white lab coats, like real scientists, but in trashy teen clothing. Essentially, all we've done in 400 years is move from a summer camp to a spaceship laboratory.
Also, we've made some pretty life-like robots, including the fetching Kay-Em 14 (Lisa Ryder), who will prove to be Jason's most formidable opponent yet. But we are getting ahead of ourselves, because Jason and Rowan are still frozen.
Rowan gets thawed and warns everyone on the spaceship not to thaw Jason, because he will just kill them all. Her warnings go unheeded, Jason gets thawed, and he kills them all. The end.
OK, OK. The students' teacher, Professor Lowe (Jonathan Potts), wants to revive Jason and sell him on some kind of black market where unfrozen people from centuries ago are a hot commodity. (Apparently, once you've been frozen a few centuries, you become community property, free to be bought and sold by anyone who happens to stumble across you. The laws of the future are vague on the matter.) Professor Lowe is an amusing character in that his dialogue is limited to famous last words. He only says things like, "I'm sure everything will be fine" and "Finally, we can relax" and "There's no way Jason can get in here and cut off my head."
So Jason wakes up, and the big, dumb animal's as cranky as ever. Honestly, the guy is like Godzilla: If you'd just let him SLEEP, he WOULDN'T KILL YOU. Geez, you people!
"Jason X" continues the "Friday the 13th" tradition of introducing characters who are so loathsome we wish they would die, and then killing them. Among the characters are people with the names Crutch, Kicker, Condor, Kinsa, Dallas and Geko. You get the feeling they were just thinking of words and yelling them at people. I expected to hear, "Badger! Sofa! Get in here! Bring Stuffing and Bookend with you!"
We learn that Jason was captured and executed in 2008, after having killed "more than 200" people. Actually, in the first nine movies, which span a period of about 15 years, he kills 133 people. It's almost another 15 years before 2008, so either he slowed down his killing quite a bit, or else the person who said "more than 200" was not giving him the full credit he deserved. The number should be closer to 300, if not higher.
This is by far the most technically proficient movie in the series. It is not as hatefully grotesque as Part 9, and the screenplay shows evidence of having undergone some rewriting (as opposed to the previous movies, where they just filmed the first draft).
Still, you have to wonder what the point is anymore. They've given up on being scary or suspenseful -- seriously, "Jason X" doesn't even really try. And it's not self-referential enough to be satirical. So what is it? It's a movie where a guy in space kills some people. It's "Friday the 13th Part 10." What did you expect it to be?
Rated R, some harsh profanity, abundant blood
Copyright © Eric D. Snider.
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