Jason X [retro review]

“This sucks on so many levels!”

The Scoop: 2001, directed by James Isaac, starring Kane Hodder, Lexa Doig, and Lisa Ryder

Tagline: Evil Gets An Upgrade

Summary Capsule: Zombie slaughter factory relocates to a future near you.

Justin’s Rating: Evil gets an upgrade… to Windows 3.1

Justin’s Review: It’s a point of odd honor here at MRFH to be the first Mutant to review certain off-beat cult movies. We like to be the one who crows about the office, all “Hah I got there first!” while the rest of us break down into mopey depression and wish we were just dead. I say this because even though Kyle’s been talking about seeing and reviewing this movie since it first came out, he hasn’t, and I beat him to the punch. IN YOUR FACE, California Dreamin! I hope you sleep well tonight on your pillow soaked with tears of failure!

Well, that was fun. Ah, I love Kyle, he knows that, you know that (if you’ve seen the valentine’s day cards), and it’s all good.

Like the Leprechaun knew, when there isn’t anywhere else to go with your never-ending horror slasher film series, go up into space. It’s there, it’s big, and it’s so full of alien-impregnated clichés that a bloody chainsaw is quite welcome to have it. After nine movies, hundreds of murders, and plenty of personal demises, Jason goes on holiday to the stars.

Apparently, by now Jason is quite invincible. I mean, the guy’s been to Hell and back, so little things like bullets and large bore cannons no longer mean squat to him. As far as slasher villains go, Jason’s about as simple as can be. He’s been dead, he won’t die, he’s mad at everyone for being born, and he doesn’t have video games to sate his bloodlust. Poor fella.

Jason X begins in a very odd military building, where the upper brass is keeping him alive for some dumb reason — possibly because they’ve got their wills made out — and there’s only one plucky female scientist who doesn’t mind getting nude for the part who objects to his continued existence. Quick as a mad hatter, Jason escapes, Jason slaughters, and Jason is barely stopped by the scientist who freezes both him and herself. Kind of a his-and-hers cryogenic chamber.

Now they wake up a few hundred years in the future and all that, which doesn’t make any sense since the script fails to address the fact that a military research base with fresh fatalities would’ve been searched top to bottom after the incident. But nope, nobody notices the big door labelled “CRYOGENICS”, and evil gets a bump to the 25th century. Hey, maybe Jason can knock off Picard or his kid or something!

As movies have well taught us, people in the future are even stupider than they are now. Nobody respects evil from the past, no siree. They just let small children play around the frozen corpse of a soon-to-be reanimated mass murderer and hope for the best. Brought on board a big ship, the girl scientist is revived just in time to lose her shirt and warn in vain against Jason’s tendency to Not Stay Dead.

The middle of the movie — from minute 3 to minute 118 — is pretty much Jason marching around everywhere, killing everything, and moaning to himself how he’s been in ten of these crappy flicks and is still getting paid the same salary he was pulling in in the early 1980s. As baddies go, Jason has high marks in the “unkillable” column, but low in the “personality” one. Count the number of times that these clueless idiots think they have Jason killed, then turn around to be happy about it, then end up with something not belonging to their body poking out of their rib cage.

Most of the characters in this movie couldn’t act drunk if they were gulping moonshine, so it makes it unintentionally funny when they try to act scared (“oh no we’re going to die”) and nobody, not even their fellow actors, believes them. Also, apparently Marines in the future have lost any shred of common sense awarded to them through evolution, and have no compunction to constantly split up when tracking down an unstoppable killer in a murky cargo bay. I busted a gut when the Sarge and another guy were trying to contact one of their dead-buddies. They hear the screams over the radio, instantly deduce what has happened, and THEN (I swear on everything good and holy) the Sarge looks at his only remaining comrade and says, “You go that way, I’ll check out over here.” You’d think this was some sort of clever satire, but it’s not. The script writers actually thought people would buy this. Geez.

Two things made Jason X livable. The first was the ship’s nippleless android (don’t ask) who gets modified into some sort of Trinity fighting machine in order to combat Jason. That was fun. The second is when the remaining survivors (I hope I didn’t ruin it for you by saying people get killed here) try to stall Jason by running a Holodeck program that brings Jason back to the early days of Crystal Lake. In that brief scene, the movie manages to lampoon everything about the early days of slasher flicks and won my heart (two girls declare loudly their intention to drink, smoke pot and engage in premarital sex before crawling into their sleeping bags). Jason felt the nostalgia too, the longing for days where Smokey still fought the Bandit.

Of course, I just had a notion of why Kyle hasn’t sent in his review of th… hey! What are you doing here! AHHHHHHHHHHHH! *breath* AHHHHHHHHH!


Kyle’s Rating: This one is for you, Mr. AntiFlagPunk979!

Kyle’s Review: People associate me with the Friday the 13th series, largely because I always wear a hockey mask and live in a flimsy shack in the woods. I don’t mind the distinction, but I do mind F13 installments that don’t live up the “hype.” Sure, only dedicated Fangoria readers and serial killers really debate the merits of the films, but there are a few worth a look even if you are an eco-minded pacifist monk-type. And Jason X is definitely one worth a look.

As they say, Shakespeare used up every good idea there was/is, and patented the rest that were not-so-bad. So when a relatively successful collection of films comes along with a somewhat “neat” idea at the center (unkillable freak kills stupid camp counselors with whatever sharp item is around), you can’t blame the studios for keeping them going. And like Justin said, when all else fails, send your star/villain/sentient-toaster-hero into space! Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Jason X kinda makes it work, since we’re taking Jason far into the future where some still remember his killing ways but most don’t, and eventually upgrading him into a cybernetic even-more-unstoppable machine perfect for immortalization as an action figure. More action figures!

There isn’t much more to it. Lots of young, largely toned kids (futuristic archaeology students, or something) still care mostly about sex, and face intense karmic retribution as a result. When they defrost Jason from his cryogenic tomb along with a nubile, attractive young government scientist (is there any other kind?) and bring them up to their spaceship, death and destruction ensue. If you don’t like death scenes and scary situations, uh, why are you reading this? But don’t worry, because this one matches up with Part VI, where there was plenty of humor and (attempts at) in-jokes. So your scenes of pain and suffering are a little easier to take because it’s so cheesy, it’s fun!

I found the nippleless android a little hard to take (when you go that over the top purposely, it circles back to “too over the top” land), but overall the movie was fun to watch. If you liked the first nine movies (or at least more than one of them), you’ll enjoy Jason X. And you’ll finally feel good about going camping again, because Jason is out in the stars now. Look out, Kirk!

We can rebuild him. We have the technolog--AAAGGGHHH!

Intermission!

  • Director David Cronenberg has a cameo in the opening scene
  • The “inside head/hell” opening sequence is pretty cool
  • Crystal Lake Research Factory? Oh, that’s where they research evil.
  • They leave the mask on him… why?
  • Who didn’t see that rag thing coming? But still, it was effective.
  • Hockey was outlawed in 2024? Why? The Red Wings kept winning the Stanley Cup?
  • Jason strikes even in frozen form!
  • Don’t forget your arm!
  • What the HECK is that forcep for? No, I don’t want to know.
  • Everyone wants nipples.
  • Everyone on this station has sex in the first thirty minutes… gee, I wonder if they’ll die?
  • Jason’s copping a major feel while wrestling with the girl
  • Kiki-mama… 30 minutes in! Yes!
  • How many times do you need to execute a man? Why not just use a car crusher?
  • Unstoppable killing machine, meet The Terminator
  • BFG – awesome Doom reference!
  • So marines in the future just spray rooms frantically? Don’t they remember how to aim?
  • Well, that corkscrew thing was… um… interesting
  • The Sarge cracks me up. You’re missing two of your team members, you say “Damn” and then split up the rest of your team.
  • Why doesn’t Jason leave the cute ones alive?
  • So the ship rams through the station, yet is barely dinged up?
  • Nobody seems particularly upset at any of the deaths. I mean, they say the words and all, but the acting conveys a tone of, “Ho hum, let’s order pizza”.
  • How does kissing make the odds of survival better?
  • Good going, Ms. Shuttle Pilot… but I’m not going to make a remark about women drivers
  • See, there’s their problem; they needed to use bigger guns!
  • “I think we’re finally okay.” NEVER SAY THAT!
  • So in the future, is everyone used to joking about their death as they’re dying?
  • C’mon, those hologram girls are kinda funny. Tempt serial killers with nubile half-naked camp counselors in order to provide a distraction.
  • The character of Adrienne, played by Kristi Angus, is named after Adrienne King, the star of the original Friday the 13th.
  • The spaceship in the movie is called “Grendel”, named after the villain in the famous narrative poem Beowulf. Grendel was a monstrous killer.
  • Screewnwriter Todd Farmer based much of Jason X on Alien, even naming one of the characters (who he would incidentally play) Dallas, after Tom Skeritt’s character in the Ridley Scott film.
  • Jason X had four different U.S. release dates before it was finally released.
  • Several of the characters in the film are named after screenwriter Todd Farmer’s online friends in the PC game “EverQuest”.
  • In the Television series Andromeda, Lexa Doig plays (among other roles) a robot and Lisa Ryder a human. In Jason X, their roles are reversed.

Groovy Quotes:

Pilot: You weren’t alive during the Microsoft conflict. We were beating each other with our own severed limbs.

Kay-Em 14: Who’s your momma?

Kay-Em 14: I’d clap if I had hands!

Janessa: This sucks on soooooooo many levels!

Brodski: It’s gonna take more than a little poke in the ribs to put this old dog down.
[Jason stabs him through the chest again]
Brodski: OK, that ought to do it.

Crystal Lake Campers: We love pre-marital sex!

Rowan: I don’t think he’s out there…
Janessa: Why don’t you just stick your head out and have a peek?

[Jason approaches Professor Lowe and reaches out for a machete sitting next to him]
Professor Lowe: [scared] Oh, you want your machete! [laughs it off] It’s yours! Take it! Just remember who got it back for ya…
[Jason stares at him]
Professor Lowe: [calling out] Guys, it’s okay! He just wanted his machete back!

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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Al does Friday the 13th (2009) « Mutant Reviewers From Hell

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