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Jason X
Reviewed by Jason Myers, ©

Format: Movie
By:   Jim Isaac (director)
Genre:   Horror / Sci-Fi
Released:   April 26, 2002
Review Date:  
Audience Rating:   Rated R
RevSF Rating:   6/10 (What Is This?)

Full disclosure: I've never been a fan of these movies. I'm more a denizen of Nightmare on Elm Street. A guy who can enter your dreams and bend reality, that's scary. A guy who just picks up sharp things and stabs you… not so scary. However, because one of my best friends (also named Jason) was a huge horror fan, he was always bringing Friday the 13th movies to my Halloween parties. They all blended together, even back then. I'm sure I've seen several of them all the way through, and parts of most of the rest of them, but I couldn't tell you which ones. I think the last one I saw was the one where he goes to New York, but I'm not sure. All I remember about it was that Jason picked up some of those red-hot rocks that they use in steam rooms, and plunged them into some poor schmuck's abdomen (okay, I have to admit, that was pretty cool).

Anyway, according to my Magic Movie 8-Ball, "Outlook not good" and "All signs point to UTTER CRAP." I mean, it's a movie about Jason in outerspace. The copyright on the film is the year 2000, and the thing has had several aborted release dates. On top of that, as a member of the press admitted to a sneak preview, I was asked to hold publication of my review until opening day.

All very very bad omens.

And, yes, Jason X is a very very bad movie.

But in the best way possible. Here follow my ten reasons why Jason X is the best (and worst) of the series.

10. The camp in this Friday the 13th isn't the one by Crystal Lake. The writer, Todd Farmer, has packed the script with dry wit and gore-spattered belly-laughs. It's hit and miss. Some one-liners and pop-culture references (like the one about the Microsoft Wars) are D.O.A., but the overall ratio is pretty good.

9. The screenwriter stole whole sections of the movie outright from Alien and Aliens. (SPOILERS) The heroine is frozen, discovered hundreds of years later by a salvage team, thawed out, and introduced to a band of gun-toting military grunts (the ones in Jason X look like they'd be more at home in a JCrew catalogue than the corps, but they're commanded by one Sergeant Brodski, who somehow manages to come across as a seriously bad-ass action hero, in spite of his surroundings). Of course, they get massacred by Jason, while the heroine screams to Professor Lowe, "You've got to get them out of there!" Instead of saying "I told them to fall back" like Gorman says in Aliens, Lowe mumbles something like "I told them to wait for back-up." The thing is, the screenwriter admits he stole from the Alien movies: in Jason X, he plays a character named Dallas (after Tom Skeritt's character in Alien).

8. The plot has more holes than Jason's hockey mask. It's explained that the government attempted to execute Jason for his crimes. They tried the electric chair, a firing squad, and an old-fashioned hanging, but nothing worked. To which my girlfriend queried, "Why didn't they cut his head off?" Good question. Or why not dissolve the guy? Or strap a few hundred pounds of TNT on him? Or cut his body up into tiny pieces, encase them in plastic, and sell them as souvenir paper-weights? Why? Because then there wouldn't be a movie. Oh, yeah, one other thing: Jason X just kind of conveniently ignores what happened in the ninth installment, Jason Goes to Hell.

7. Jason X has amazingly shoddy and generically futuristic sets. It looks like someone has been rummaging around in the garbage bins of cancelled syndicated sci-fi TV shows. On the other hand, the movie's shuttle design is original, and the digital "hologram" effects sure are pretty.

6. When several of the death scenes elicit groans, applause, and bloodlusty cheers from the audience, you know you've got a winner. Also, the overall bodycount in Jason X is just phenomenal.

5. In many movies (James Bond movies, Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, Freddy Krueger movies) it's expected that each death will be accompanied by a wacky one-liner. "What happened to Agent 56?" "He's all tied up" or "He just split" or "He had a lot of guts." Well, Jason Voorhees doesn't talk. So, get this: in Jason X, some of the characters deliver the one-liners for their own deaths.

4. Jason X's hysterical 2-minute revisiting of Crystal Lake is worth the price of admission alone.

3. Kane Hodder, the great hulking juggernaut who's been playing Voorhees since part 7 of the Friday the 13th series, really is a great Jason.

2, David Cronenberg (director of The Fly, Dead Ringers, and eXistenZ) appears in the movie as Dr. Wimmer.

1. The scene of Jason's resurrection confirms what we've suspected all along: that Jason has some sort of psychic ability that allows him to detect premarital sexual activities occurring in his vicinity.

The movie is mildly entertaining for a while (if you resist the urge to walk out after the scene involving male nipplage and salad tongs), but, in the last half-hour, the cheese factor gets ramped up about 200 percent. All of the sudden, we've got a scene that perfectly parodies the girrlz-with-guns flashiness of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (which is funny since Jason X was undoubtedly filmed before the video game was adapted into a movie). From then on, each time you think it can't get any more over-the-top ridiculous, writer Todd Farmer slaps you silly with another one, driving his way toward a perfect final 45 seconds.

There is a certain portion of Friday the 13th fans who will hate this movie because it has so much post-modern self-aware meta-movie goofiness (they may also be disappointed that the movie has less nudity than the average episode of Wolf Lake). But the Friday the 13th movies degenerated into self-parody a long time ago. At least this time around it's on purpose. And while I like a gritty straight-up no-punny-wisecracks horror flick as much as the next guy, I won't turn my nose up at a truly entertaining B-grade schlocksploitation movie. If there's one thing my good friend Jason (Jason Nichols, not Jason Voorhees) taught me, it's that horror movies are all about eating pizza and cheese-puffs, laughing at gruesome disembowelments, and hoping your parents don't come down the stairs during the really gratuitous bits of sex and violence.

Jason X puts the gag in visual gag. What else can you ask for? On a general movie rating scale, I'd give it a six out of ten, but for bad movie fans it's a IX out of X.

—RevSF Film/DVD Editor Jason was born on Friday the 13th… four years before the first movie was released. Khih khih khih… khah khah khah….

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