Years after the disastrous end of Kevin Bacon’s experiment with invisibility, the process has been revived with intent to create a super-soldier. Christan Slater (as Michael Griffin, the last name being a nod to the original Invisible Man) is the soldier experimented on, but he’s an uncontrollable killing machine. Denied the “buffer” – the injection that will prevent the lethal side effects of the invisibility formula, he tracks down the one person who knows how to create it: biologist Laura…Regan. Soon she and Peter Facinelli as the cop determined to protect her are on the run from both the invisible psychopath and the equally dangerous and amoral authorities.
The odds were against this effort being even watchable. A direct-to-video sequel to a movie that was an 80-million-dollar waste of time? Not promising. What a pleasant surprise this turns out to be, then. A masterpiece it most definitely is not, but it moves along in efficient B-movie manner. And where Paul Verhoeven’s original did little else with the material but engage in the nastier voyeuristic and sexually assaultive possibilities of the concept, and limited the action to an underground lab, the sequel is actually about something and, a cursory nod to the required nudity dealt with, paints on a much broader canvas. References to current events abound, and the story is ultimately a nightmarish speculation about the darker impulses of the Bush administration. That the main non-invisible villain is the spitting image of Donald Rumsfeld can surely no coincidence. Scripter Joel Soisson is also responsible for the likes of the recent surprisingly good Prophecy sequels, and demonstrates yet again that he knows his way around B-movie necessities. The work here may not be original, but it gets the job done well.
Pretty nifty stuff here. In the first place, the audio is LOUD, big time, and when the large-scale battle scene happens, your viewing area is likely to turn into a war zone. The bass is extremely powerful, and should be able to shake the plaster loose from most ceilings. The environmental effects are superb, with very nice placement. The score is has a big, majestic mix. And there is no distortion whatsoever of the dialogue. Said dialogue is also never drowned out, despite the big noise of the side effects.
Some of the night scenes here are a little bit murky, but otherwise the contrasts are very good, as are the blacks. The more brightly lit sequences are superb, with warm, rich colours. The image is perfectly sharp, and there are no grain or edge enhancement issues. The picture may not quite be on a par with the sound, but it definitely isn’t bad. The aspect ratio is a generous 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen.
Not too much going on here. The making-of featurette is the usual promo fluff, hardly worth the time. The visual FX comparisons of three scenes are a bit better, showing the different stages of animation. The closest thing one gets to a commentary is the video narration that accompanies the storyboard comparisons – this is the most informative of the extras. Finally, there’s a storyboard gallery and eight trailers. The menu’s main screen and transitions are animated and scored.
There isn’t really very much here you haven’t seen before, but it is handled professionally and in entertaining style. Unpretentious fun.
Special Features List
- Making-of Featurette
- Visual Effects Featurette
- Storyboard-to-Screen Featurette
- Storyboard Gallery