December 10, 2013

Movie Review: Jason X (2002)

After the 1993 failure of Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, the Friday the 13th got kind of put back on the back burner. The movie did not do all that well and was not exactly well received by the fan base. It is right up (down?) there with Friday the 13th: A New Beginning. It seems that if you stray too far from the established path you will be rejected. Well, that is neither here nor there. In the years following Jason's journey south, attentions were turned to creating a Freddy vs. Jason movie, following a failed attempt in 1988. Sadly, creative wheels continued to spin with many stabs at a script and numerous director interviews. So, while that was going on, New Line was approached about doing another Jason film. Jason X was born.

Jason X was directed by Jim Isaac. It was his first major release after being half the directorial team for The Horror Show and an episode of Joe Bob Briggs television show. Most recently he directed the underrated Pig Hunt, don't let the name sway you, it is a good movie. On the writing side is Todd Farmer (who also appears in the movie). He does a nice job of making a slick, fun Jason movie. Sure, it strays from the accepted continuity, but it really is an entertaining romp. Farmer has since written films like the My Bloody Valentine remake and the grindhouse throwback Drive Angry. Isaac and Farmer prove to be a good duo. Yes, it is a flawed movie, but that doesn't mean it cannot entertain.

While I was most definitely entertained, I appear to be one of the few. The movie was made, sat around at New Line for a couple of years as they tried to figure out what to do with it. The movie seems to be unstuck from time. You see, this was a released on a post-Scream world, it was a new time where old school slashers did not fit. They did try to cram in a little self-referential humor, as was the style of the time, but it was still a Jason movie. Anyway, despite the fun factor, it failed at the box office, opening in third place behind The Scorpion King and Changing Lanes on its way to a lackluster $13.1 million tally. Rather sad for the first Jason movie I got to see in a theater.

Jason X seems to ignore the events of Jason Goes to Hell and Jason Takes Manhattan. If I had to guess, its timeline picks up after The New Blood, based on the overall look they went with. It is a lot like the Part VII look, just drier. Yes, the mask is considerable different and Jason has more hair than I think he should, but that's all right. After all, it is still Kane Hodder doing his trademark Jason routine. I guess you could place it after Freddy vs. Jason, but I don't think it really matters, it kind of exists in its own bubble

As the movie opens, we discover Jason is already captured, in chains, and waiting to be put into cryogenic freeze. It is at some time in the future and they have discovered that Jason just cannot be killed (something we have known for years). Rowan (Lexa Doig) is leading the group wanting to freeze him. Meanwhile, Dr. Wimmer (David Cronenberg, yes, that David Cronenberg) wants to move him to another facility for study. His ability to regenerate tissue is too much to ignore and could be put to good use, but needs to be studied. Of course, Jason escapes and kills almost everyone. Rowan manages to get him closed in the cryo chamber, but one fateful last slice gets Rowan just as the freze hits.

Jump forward a few hundred years and we find Earth is a barren wasteland used for school teaching trips. One trip finds the frozen slasher and Rowan and they decide to bring them both back with them. Now, as one would expect, the teens of the future are not much different from the teens of today and it is Jason's job to kill them. He wakes up and begins his way through the ship, killing as he goes.

Of course, if we are going to combine Jason with a science fiction setting you have to give some sort of upgrade to our dear old Jason. He's been through a lot and could use a little touch up. As the movie steams towards its third act we get a fight between an android and Jason and it appears that Jason has lost. This isn't much of a spoiler as the poster shows the new mask that has not shown up yet. Let's back up a bit, before this fight Jason get's his first modern gift, a brand new medical machete. Medical because it is found on a try with assorted scalpels and stuff in a medical bay. How the machete thing got there, or what it could possibly be used for will remain a mystery.

Back to the fight, Jason gets the tar blown out of him. Unfortunately, he ends up in a medical bay with a bunch of nanites (seen earlier in a wee bit of foreshadowing). These things swarm over Jason's damaged body and create Uber-Jason! How will they ever stop him? Well, they are able to slow him down a spell by using a holodeck-type room to recreate Crystal Lake in one of the movie's more clever moments. It is a great little recall for us fans.

You know, watching this for the first time in a few years, I had forgotten just how goofy this outing is. It plays right into the joke about horror franchises going to space when there is nowhere left to go. I mean, we already had Leprechaun in Space and Hellraiser in Space (Bloodlines). I don't necessarily think it is a bad thing. I really liked this one, right down to the moment clearly inspired by Dr. Strangelove (of all the movies to reference!).

Jason X is hardly a movie that you can defend as being good, and something tells me that was never their intention. It's continuity does not really fit the rest of the series and you could look at it as just another attempt to reinvent the character. You could also look at it as a way to keep the character in peoples minds as work continued on Freddy vs. Jason. Or not.

This is not a particularly bloody movie. It has some violence, but it seems to be geared more at a general audience than at the hardcore Friday the 13th faithful. I am not sure I can explain or justify just why I like this. It is just really silly. The worst thing you could do is over think this flick. That really isn't needed. Just sit back and let the silliness wash over you.

One other reason to watch it is to see just how far the series went. If you go back and watch Jason's first adult appearance in Part 2 and then this, the differences are just amazing. The character had become a pop culture icon by this stage of the game and just wasn't as scary. This is more comedy than horror, but still, I just really have a lot of fun this. I just can't say no, no matter how much better the other movies are.


Related Posts with Thumbnails


Post a Comment