Jason X  DVD Review

 

Written by Sham

 

DVD released by New Line

 

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Directed by Jim Isaac

Written by Todd Farmer

2001, Region 1 (NTSC), 93 minutes, Rated R

DVD released on June 1st, 2004

 

Starring:

Kane Hodder as Jason Voorhees

Lexa Doig as Rowan

Chuck Campbell as Tsunaron

Peter Mensah as Sergeant Brodski

Melyssa Ade as Janessa

Derwin Jordan as Waylander

Lisa Ryder as Kay-Em 14

Jonathan Potts as Professor Lowe

Melody Johnson as Kinsa

Kristi Angus as Adrienne

 

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Review:

 

“Evil gets an upgrade” claims the tagline for Jason X, the last of the Jason franchise to star Kane Hodder as the maniacal mongoloid himself. But does it really get an upgrade?

 

Jason Voorhees, the notorious serial killer from Camp Crystal Lake, has been captured and sedated, wrapped in metal chains, and is prepared to be frozen in a cryogenic chamber — at least until the military can figure out what to do with him.  Unfortunately, and like any typical horror movie, a group of greedy bastards obsessed with fame and fortune make a change in plans.  Ultimately, Jason escapes, viciously slaughtering seven people in just less than sixty seconds.  Rowan, one of the project leaders at Crystal Lake Research, manages to trap Jason in the cryogenic chamber.  But due to a breach in the large metal door that a dinky little machete should be incapable of going through, she is frozen as well.

 

A few years later, 445 to be exact, some naive students and professors uncover Rowan and Jason’s grisly scene.  They think they can bring Rowan back to life, so they decide to bring both specimens back onto the waiting spaceship outside.  Bad idea, because they somehow bring Jason back to life as well, and he’s not very happy in space.  Hell, I’d be mad too if I had wasted four hundred years without slicing up any prepubescent and drug-addicted teenagers!

 

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Jason X is another one of those horror movie attempts to take an iconic character and put him/her/it in space.  Pinhead, Leprechaun, Dracula, and those damn Critters were not good movies in space!  Take the hint, Hollywood.  Why do you continue doing this?  To quote a character in Jason X, it always comes down to money.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, the only things the film has going for it are decent effects and inventive techniques to kill people.  Honestly, who would’ve thought someone getting their head frozen in liquid nitrogen and smashed to pieces on a countertop would be so entertaining?  Seriously, if you’re reading this review just to know if Jason X has some good death scenes or not, it does, so go and get it.  If you want to know more, read on.

 

While the movie is far from adept, it does have some good ideas.  I like how there are ants in the future that have the power to heal flesh wounds.  I like how there is hands-on virtual reality where you can slaughter monstrous aliens, and you can practically feel their guts on you as you blast them away.  I like how a spaceship is bigger than the station it is docking.

 

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I don’t like plot holes.  I hate ‘em, and Jason X is not a good movie to see if you do.  First off, why did it take over 400 years for somebody to find the bodies of Mr. Voorhees and Rowan in the cryogenic chamber?  Wouldn’t the cops, employees, or somebody (TAX COLLECTORS!!??) have discovered the mayhem that had ensued there?  And secondly, are the morons who captured Jason so stupid as to forget to take away his machete?  Come on now.

 

The acting in Jason X ranges from bad to worse, but that’s ok.  It works with the flick. The dialogue does too, because it’s very aware of itself, as is the script.  I about cheered when the futuristic robot-looking Jason came stepping out of the shadows, and one of the characters, shock in her eyes, says, “You’ve got to be kidding me!”

 

Jason X is very different from the rest of the series, and this is both the biggest strength and weakness of the flick.  It’s the biggest strength because, in a silly sort of way, it’s the most original of the series.  Keywords: of the series.  Jason X isn’t too original cinematically, but it’s a unique twist on the story in general. Who doesn’t want to see what a futuristic Jason looks like?  It’s kind of like what that director of Jason Goes to Hell tried to pull, where he gave Jason a newer look and turned the slasher genre upside down; only this movie doesn’t suck.

 

Ok, maybe it does, and that’s its weakness.  But it’s fun.  I laughed, I jumped once or twice, and I had a really good time, both now and back when I saw it in theaters in 2002.  Everybody likes to have a good time, right?  Then have a good time with Jason… in space.  So what’s the deal?  Does evil truly get an upgrade in Jason X?

 

Yes, reader.  It certainly does.

 

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Video and Audio:

 

Jason X is presented in a widescreen format, maintaining its initial theatrical debut of a 1:85:1 aspect ratio.  The picture quality is simply stunning.  The blues are soft and the reds are warming.  I couldn’t find any grain, not even in the darkest scenes in the film and, with that, I’m giving this my highest esteem.  I don’t think the film can look any better than this.

 

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Released in an optional Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, Stereo Surround Sound, and a DTS Surround Sound, Jason X sounds nothing short of excellent.  The use of the back speakers is very prominent, and the bass is absolutely incredible.  The sound actually had my floor shaking at one point, something you would only expect to get from a movie theater. Terrific sound quality heightens this release.

 

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Special Features:

 

  • Commentary with Jim Isaac, Todd Farmer, and Noel Cunningham 
  • Documentary: The Many Lives of Jason Voorhees
  • Documentary: By Any Means Necessary: The Making of Jason X
  • Jump to a Death
  • Theatrical Trailers

 

Jason X is a loaded New Line Platinum Series release, full of documentaries, horror trailers, and interactive menus.  To start, Jason X has a pretty informative and interesting commentary by three of the filmmakers — Jim Isaac (the director), Todd Farmer (the writer), and Noel Cunningham (the producer).  There’s a ton of information regarding the making of the movie, which includes on-set accidents (including a nose fracture during one of the stunts), camera tricks, and clever location shooting. This is definitely worth a listen, because it’s not just edifying, it’s entertaining.


 

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Following that is an awesome documentary called “The Many Lives of Jason Voorhees.” Running just under thirty minutes, "Lives" concerns, well, the lives (and deaths) of one of horror’s most famous character.  This is probably one of the most diverse documentaries I’ve seen on a horror DVD because it has such a range of topics that it discusses.  A few of the topics that it talks about are the influences the series had the genre, the hatred from critics who would have wished to ban the movie, and selective opinions from people who liked the transition from Paramount Pictures to New Line, which includes the series’ uprising success from its marketing campaign with its new distributor.

 

Next up is the behind-the-scenes featurette called “By Any Means Necessary: The Making of Jason X.”  Mostly detailing the use of computer generated effects and digitally compressing the film during the editing process, "The Making" also particularizes the process of making costumes and sets, detailing the supplies needed.  Isaac states in the featurette that he wishes the film to look more expensive than it actually took to make.  Isaac, I applaud you, because you most certainly have succeeded.  It also has a small segment revealing popular horror director David Cronenberg in a cameo sequence.  Make sure you watch out for him in the first scene of the movie playing Dr. Wimmer!

 

Then there is the "Jump-to-a-Death" feature, which enables the viewer quick access to his or her favorite death scenes from the film. (I personally love this feature).

 

Finally, there are the theatrical trailer and other trailers of releases from New Line, including Blade II, Final Destination, and A Nightmare on Elm Street.


 

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Grades:

 

 
Movie: Threestars – Even with its stupidity, Jason X is still one hell of a fun ride.
Video: Fivestars – I don’t think it could possibly get any better than this.
Audio: Fourandahalfstars – The audio for Jason X is a plus to both the movie and the DVD.
Features: Fourstars – The bonus material ranks well in both quality and quantity.
Overall: Fourstars – Jason X is an entertaining film with an even better DVD release, and it deserves a purchase.

 

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Conclusion:

 

Anyone who loves Jason in all of his putrid glory has probably already seen this, either through rental or purchase.  But to those questioning the movie’s quality (after all, this is the ninth sequel in the franchise), I am here to happily inform you that Jason X is one hell of a good time.  And to anyone who collects DVD’s, Jason X is one loaded disc that merits an immediate purchase.

 

 

 


© 2005 HorrorTalk.com. No use of this review is permitted without expressed permission from HorrorTalk.com.

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