Jason X

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By Mark Ramsey | 2002/04/25

You don’t need me to tell you this movie’s bad. You’ve got years of Friday the 13th experience doing that for you.

Jason Voorhees is, after all, the Freddy Prinze Jr. of horror: A victim of parental trauma, never likely to be butt-kissed on In The Actor’s Studio, and very much the kind of guy Sarah Michelle Gellar would hook up with.

At this stage, any installment of the Friday the 13th franchise is as welcome as spit on a urinal and, as Jason X‘s roman numeral proves, just as common.

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ason has relocated from Camp Crystal Lake to Campy Crystal Lake, but it’s too little too late. Indeed, Jason X isn’t scary at all and isn’t nearly as funny as its filmmakers seem to think it is. What we have here is Jason in Outer Space. That didn’t work for the Three Stooges or the Muppets, and it don’t work for Jason.

See, folks in our time can’t kill Jason and they refuse to reason with him, so they place him in a cryogenic suspension of disbelief for a few hundred years. Only then is he rescued by a team of Fridays servers masquerading as actors who are masquerading as space people.

Where did they recruit this cast? I don’t mind fresh young faces, but these needed a lot more time on the vine. With performances of this caliber, clothing is customarily optional. What kind of Ron Jeremy future is it where every guy looks like Andy Richter or Randy Quaid and every girl looks like she’s posing in a promo for the WB.

I’ll bet all LA high school productions of Oklahoma were dark on the day of this audition, and there must have been a lot of sick-calls at The Gap. Did any folding boards file missing persons reports? The total cost of this cast couldn’t buy you a box of smokes at the 7-11. No wonder the end credit explains “no acting coaches were harmed nor any genuine emotions touched during the making of this film.”

There’s Jason frozen stiff on the operating table. A doctor babe is prodding his skull. We know she’s a doctor because she removes Jason’s guacamole-sized brain and wears surgical scrubs consisting of a belly-baring top and navel-tastic low-riders. HMO-wow! I knew Tara Reid would become a role model for the health care industry, I just figured it would be the mental health care industry.

Jason is finally awakened from his chilly slumber by the subliminal sounds of, what else, an orgasm. If ever there was a cautionary tale about the symbolic hazards of teen sex, then Friday the 13th would be it. Jason X, on the other hand, is more the cautionary tale about the symbolic hazards of unrelenting corporate greed and utter artistic bankruptcy.

jasonx_straps.jpgCan space-people 500 years hence kill Jason? Well, they’ve got vast starships, life-like robots, and incredibly advanced re-animating technology – but guess what, in five centuries weaponry has advanced from bullets to…BULLETS! What are the odds?!

As usual, Jason is exploring his inner psycho with new and ever more creative ways to kill. There’s the commando guy who tumbles onto a huge screw and spins his way down. There’s that doctor lady who gets her head dunked into a dangerously wide-open vat of super-cold liquid nitrogen and smashed like a crystal vase. There’s the sole black commando whose intense über-characterization suggests he’s seen Carl Weathers in Predator one time too many.

The folks who made this flick say Jason X is an homage to Ridley Scott’s classic Alien. If so, it’s a tribute to Alien the way Ed Wood is a tribute to Orson Welles.

Campy yields to crappy long before Jason uses his formidable physique as a heat-shield and re-enters the atmosphere of planet Earth, plunging into a lake. That’s not funny, it’s just ridiculous. If you want a funny Jason I’ll write it for you; do I have to do everything myself?!

What we need here is Jason Meets Abbott and Costello or, in more contemporary terms, Jason Meets Courtney Love or even Dude Where’s My Jason?

Hey New Line, somewhere along the way we stopped caring about what happens to Jason because we like beginnings, middles, and ends and – HELLO – Jason, the “unstoppable killing machine,” will never end.

Not as long as there are AOL Time Warner shareholder meetings, anyway.


Photos Copyright ©2002 New Line Cinema

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