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JASON X

2001, Dir. James Isaac
93 min. Rated R.
Starring: Kane Hodder, Lexa Doig, Chuck Campbell, Lisa Ryder.

Review by Noel Wood

Of all the token Horror movie franchises out there that originated in the late 70ís and early 80ís, the one that seems to stand out as king is the FRIDAY THE 13TH series. For pure camp and mindless fun, Jason has been the villain to beat. Nothing fancy about him. Heís not the type to string his victims along and taunt them psychologically before doing his business. He just kills people. Quick slice with a machete or any other weapon will do the trick. But unfortunately for Jason, the last couple movies have been a bit of a disappointment financially. I mean, these movies donít usually cost much to produce and usually make their money back on video and Pay-Per-View, but JASON TAKES MANHATTAN and JASON GOES TO HELL still were missing something. So in the fine tradition of such horror franchises as HALLOWEEN, LEPRECHAUN, and HELLRAISER, the producers of FRIDAY THE 13TH decided to follow a time-honored tradition. After all, what do you do with a failing horror movie series? Why, you put it in space!

Yes, JASON X (as in the tenth film in the series, not like heís suddenly a militant black leader) takes place far in the future. The year 2455 to be exact. Basically, the gist of the plot is that in present day, many-times-killed psycho mass murderer Jason Voorhees has been captured and turned in to a test experiment for a group of scientists at Camp Crystal Lake. Of course, one wormy little hotheaded scientist has to get a tough attitude and badmouth the big guy, so Jason breaks his bounds and again goes on a killing spree. He does a pretty good job of offing everyone in the facility, with the exception of one attractive girl, Rowan, who locks Jason in a cryogenic chamber and proceeds to freeze the both of them into suspended animation.

Some 450-plus years later, after Earth has been abandoned by mankind for being uninhabitable, a research spacecraft arrives at the facility and takes the two frozen relics back with them. Rowan is revived but Jason is declared irreparable. Of course, after coming to grips with the fact that her home planet is wiped out and that sheíll never see her friends or family ever again (which takes all of about twenty seconds, what a stoic girl!) she tries to inform the crew of the ship that Jason is an unstoppable killing machine that can never die. But thanks to a greedy scientist on board who realizes the value of his find, Jason is not disposed of, and the body count begins again. Suddenly, Jason is the star of the latest ALIEN movie.

Jasonís never been the type to have remorse for killing mass quantities of people, but this time the body count borders on the ridiculous. On top of the dozen or so he offs in the opening segment, he manages to wipe out almost the entire crew of the research ship within a half hour or so, and then in a move that very likely was the reason that this film DIDNíT come out in October of 2001 as was planned before, manages to plow the ship in to the skyline of Solaris, a giant city in space, moving his total killings well up in to the thousands, thus topping his previous total by exponential amounts. And the carnage gets rather creative in this one as well. We get one victim who is dropped on a giant metal screw and spirals his way down like a skewered piece of meat. Another gets her face dropped in to a sink full of nitrous oxide and frozen off, then Jason not only smashes her face in to the counter and smashes it in to a million pieces, he gives her one last glance before dropping her to the floor. And in one scene which may very well be one of the most amazing scenes in movie history, Jason proceeds to use one girl to beat another to death, both bodies wrapped snugly in sleeping bags.

Jason dies once, but in typical fashion, he manages to come back bigger and better than ever. His hockey mask has been replaced by a titanium steel faceplate and his body is shielded in thick metallic armor. This new, upgraded, ďUber-JasonĒ (yes, thatís the official name in the credits) manages to wreak only a minimal amount of havoc before being done in for good. Or at least until the next sequel. But what amazes me the most is that in the year 2455, although humankind has been removed from their home planet and amazing advances have been made in genetic sciences and other technologies, is that the street lingo hasnít changed in the slightest. Thank the maker for that one. The dialogue rolls along like an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but at least the action is stepped up a notch or twelve.

Yes, JASON X is everything I dreamed it would be and more. It was definitely written for a core audience, and pulls off the feat of topping the audacity of the previous movies by leaps and bounds. Since it looks like Jason vs. Freddy will never happen outside of the brief teaser in JASON GOES TO HELL, this is a fine direction to send the FRIDAY THE 13TH series in for the time being. And Lexa Doig is a pretty darn cute, and figuring she wonít likely get much work outside of a sequel, sheís welcome back anytime.

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