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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Jason X

Phew! There's finally a light at the end of the tunnel...this week, I finish off the Friday the 13th franchise with one of the more interesting ones, Jason X. I know there's still Freddy vs. Jason to watch, but it's really just a Freddy movie with Jason in a supporting role, so don't hold your breath waiting for me to get to it. Anyway, SPOILERS ahoy, so let's get started!

Our tale this time begins INSIDE Jason. During the credits, we take a journey through Jason's body and bloodstream. Every now and then, the camera pans back enough to show that Jason's being poked and prodded by a team of government-funded scientists. They take blood samples, skin scrapes, hair name it, they study it. Oh, and did I mention that Jason in this one is back to being a Mongoloid, and has healthy flesh? When did he find time to come back to life... after his trip in the New York(Canadian, heh) sewers, maybe?

Well, at least it's a pretty great visual treat to sit through these credits. When they end, we discover that the year is 2010(wait, they captured Jason LAST YEAR?), and Jason has somehow been defeated again, and is being kept at a facility at Crystal Lake. The military apparently wants to exploit his rapid healing ability in their own soldiers. As the movie begins, a lone soldier is keeping vigil in front of Jason. The killer is bound by several chains and shackles, still dressed in his usual hockey mask and uniform. After making a few nervous attempts at engaging Jason in a chat, the soldier grabs a nearby tarp and throws it over the killer to cover him up.

There's an abrupt scene change, and we meet a team of doctors and soldiers, commanded by Dr. Wimmer(played by creepy film director David Cronenberg) as well as an attractive young woman named Rowan. Rowan wants to convince the military to destroy Jason, but they think that his inability to die or suffer permanent injuries is worth studying further. At the very least, Rowan wants to have Jason frozen, but Wimmer refuses. He and the soldiers plan to transport Jason to another government facility, for more in-depth experiments.

They approach Jason, who is still covered by the sheet. Wimmer asks the soldiers to remove the sheet, and doing so reveals that the soldier who had been guarding Jason was strung up in his place, chained and bleeding. Caught off-guard, the men fail to see Jason attacking from behind. He takes out the first 3 soldiers with brute force, then uses his chain to strangle the fourth one before the guy can shoot him. He beats the last soldier with a rod to the face, then notices Dr. Wimmer escaping. Jason throws a metal rod at the doctor, impaling him from across the chamber.

From the corridor, Rowan hears all of the screaming and shooting. She decides to take a quick peek, but one of the soldiers is thrown at the door, knocking it off its hinges as his body slides to a stop at Rowan's feet. She stares at the pile of corpses inside Jason's cell, then sees Jason looming in the hallway behind her. Great. This movie has an alive, teleporting Jason. Why not have him talk, too? Then it can hit the trifecta of stupidity.

Rowan grabs the military rifle off of the dead guy on the floor, and starts running. She gets to the basement level, where she lures Jason into a cryogenic storage chamber. When he gets to the middle of the small room, Rowan fires at him with her rifle. After several hits, one knocks Jason off of his feet, and he sails into a cryogenic chamber. Rowan swiftly locks him in, then starts the freezing process, but Jason stabs her in the abdomen with his machete before the process completes. As the cryogenic area self-locks, both Rowan and Jason freeze and die.

The story then picks up 455 years later. A class of science/archeology students, led by their teacher Professor Brandon Lowe is taking a field trip to what was once Earth. Due to overpopulation, pollution and several other factors, humans learned to colonize other habitable worlds and abandoned ours. So much for Earth Day.

So why was this intergalactic field trip done at the Crystal Lake research facility? Who knows. The students in Lowe's class include Tsunaron, a goofy-looking surfer dude-type; Azrael, an even GOOFIER dude who is accident-prone and lazy; Janessa, a cute brunette who seems to be channeling Allyson Hannigan's quirkiness; and KM-14, a female android built by Tsunaron as a "companion". There's also a black dude along for the class, but in this scene he has no dialogue, and no one calls him by name. Nice that even in the future, horror cliches still exist.

As the students look around, Azrael gets his hand frozen to a coffee mug while examining it. They quickly find the chamber Jason was trapped in, but can't figure out his appearance or the machete frozen in his upraised arm(and I can't figure out why the equipment would still work after more than 400 years...and wasn't the army supposed to be moving him? Wouldn't there have been an investigation when the soldiers never returned???).

Azrael pokes at him a bit after the cryogenic chamber is opened and Jason's thawed-out arm lowers, severing Azrael's arm. KM uses some kind of quick-sealing bond to cover the stump, then gives Azrael a dose of painkiller to calm him down. Lowe uses a communicator to call Lou, the ship's pilot, and tells him to prepare for lift-off as soon as they get back.

Once aboard the shuttle pod(which is shaped like a giant hockey mask on legs), we meet the rest of the crew in the larger ship that they're taking the trip with: Brodsky, the tough-as-nails Marine in charge of a small squad of soldiers; Crutch, a scruffy engineer; a cute doctor named Adrienne(and her students, Stoney and Kinsa)...and that's about it. So, let me see, we've got the students, the Marines, carry the one....about a dozen or so people for Jason to kill. Cool.

In the medical bay, Azrael lays down on a table and his arm is placed directly beneath his stump. Using nanobots called "ants", the stump and the arm are fused back together, then the ants retreat. Azrael staggers to the corridor, where a friend gives him a high-five, causing Az to stumble in pain again.

At the same time, Professor Lowe is analyzing Rowan's DNA to see how much damage the freezing did to her body, and Adrienne is analyzing Jason's body with her two horny helpers, Stoney and Kinsa. Adrienne eventually throws them out, and examines Jason alone, with a remote linkup to Professor Lowe's lab station. It's always a good idea to be in a room alone with Jason. Yup. Move along, nothing to see here...

Rowan has suffered damage from the prolonged freezing process all over her body, so the ants cover her completely to begin their repairs. In Adrienne's lab, she begins an autopsy of Jason, starting with a scan of his skull, which shows an abnormally small brain. Ha ha! She then gently removes his deformed eyeball, while he stares up at her with his good eye. She examines the mangled eyeball and drops it into a sink filled with liquid nitrogen. Yum, who wants eye-sicles?

In Lowe's lab, the repair job was a success. Rowan wakes up and immediately attacks Professor Lowe with a hard punch to the jaw. When she gets her bearings, the first thing Rowan asks about is whether or not Jason is dead. They only tell her that he was frozen along with her, then they inform her that it's been over 455 years since the day she was frozen. Talk about sleeping in...

Professor Lowe gets to his private quarters as soon as he can, and calls a frail man named Dieter Perez. Dieter's asleep, but he agrees to take the call when he sees the caller. Dieter is sort of a fencer of artifacts, but he remains skeptical of the value of Lowe's latest "treasures". Apparently, re-animated people are a dime a dozen, even if they've been frozen for as long as Rowan was.

Dieter perks up when he sees the name Voorhees. Apparently, even 455 years later, Jason's legend still gets around. He strikes a deal with Lowe to pay a ridiculous amount of money for Jason's remains, and the two agree on the terms. As soon as the online chat ends, Janessa shows up, ready for some kinkiness. Rowwwwwwwr.

Adrienne cuts Jason's mask off to examine his face, and we get our only really good look at him unmasked in this movie. His skin is soft and lumpy-looking, and his teeth are a bit crooked, but other than that he looks like a troll from your average Grimm Brothers tale. Except for the first couple of movies, I don't think I've ever seen this much skin on his face. Grimacing, Adrienne drops his mask back into place.

In Lowe's quarters, Janessa is using a pair of tongs to twist his nipples. Believe me, it's as weird to watch as it is to read. I feel sleazy just typing it. She rides him like Seabiscuit, until he agrees to let her pass his course. Yeesh. I wonder which end got the bottle....on second thought: No. I don't wonder.

Jason's blood begins to ooze out from under his mask, dripping onto the floor of the lab. Adrienne fails to notice it, because she's at her desk, studying the various samples of blood and tissue that she took from him. At the same time, KM is showing off some metal nipples to Tsunaron. He doesn't realize it, but KM has grown beyond her programming, and loves him. Awwwwww! Kiss her, ya lug!

Okay, so back to Stoney and Kinsa...briefly. They're making out, so apparently "horniness" hasn't found a cure in the future. We switch back to Adrienne so fast, it gives me whiplash. She hears something, but when she turns around, Jason has resumed playing dead-ish. She looks around a bit, then goes back to her analysis. Jason flexes an ice-covered hand, and Adrienne looks up again. He lays still. When she goes back to her study of his DNA, Jason stands up, then glances over at the cute scientist.

Adrienne remains oblivious, until she sees the examination table is now deserted. Jason grabs her ponytail, presses his arms around her, then throws Adrienne against a wall. The anonymous black dude from the field trip is on the other side of the wall, but he fails to notice her struggle through the frosted glass wall. Jason drags Adrienne over to the liquid nitrogen, dunking her head into it until her face is frozen solid, then he smashes her face against the table, shattering her head. Before he leaves the lab, Jason grabs a particularly nasty surgical saw to replace the machete that Professor Lowe took out of his frozen hand.

Lowe, meanwhile, has brought Rowan a tray of food. He tells her that they're heading for Earth Two, then relates the story of how "her" Earth was depleted of all resources, destroyed with pollution, and eventually abandoned. Rowan tells Lowe that she was one of the heads of the project researching Jason's invulnerability. She says that they tried to kill him in numerous ways--gas, electrocution, hanging, firing squad--but he never died.

Meanwhile, Janessa is trying to make a move on Tsunaron, but he shoots her down. They get introduced to Rowan, then Brodsky and KM come in as well. Rowan accidentally discovers that Jason is on the ship, and she insists on proof that he is dead. Can't say that I blame her.

They find Adrienne's body, and put the ship on a high-security lockdown, until Brodsky's squad can find and kill Jason. Hearing the security alert, Stoney and Kinsa decide to stop making out, and join the others. Jason has other ideas. He meets Stoney at the door, impaling him, then dragging him away, as Kinsa goes hysterical.

She gets to the lab with the others, and informs them of Stoney's death. Brodsky tells his squad to be on alert, and to shoot to kill. When Lowe tries to bribe the Sarge not to kill Jason, Brodsky agrees, but then tells his squad to kill Jason anyway. The Marine grunts all have names like Dallas, Sven, Geko and Kicker, but they might as well be named "Body 1", Body 2", and so on.

We then find Azrael in a virtual reality game with Stone Cold Steve Austin's Canadian-actor equivalent, Lukewarm. They're shooting imaginary aliens when Jason steps in and starts killing the aliens as well. Lukewarm stops the program after Jason kills his and Azrael's "avatars", and then watches Jason pick Azrael up by the neck. Lukewarm shoots at Jason, who drops the kid and goes after Lukewarm, but Az tries to help by jumping on Jason's back. Jason pries the kid off, snaps his spine, then shoves Lukewarm's face into a wall.

Next, Crutch is being stalked. He hears someone in the general vicinity, but can't tell who it is. Crutch then sees Jason's reflection in a monitor, but before Jason can slash him, Brodsky and his squad blast away at the killer, and destroy Crutch's little "garden" in the process. Jason disappears in the smoke and barrage of bullets, and Crutch escapes while the trio look for Jason.

The first one to die, Sven, is snatched up by Jason as he walks by the killer's hiding place. Jason snaps his neck. The next to die, Condor, is trying to spot Jason by climbing a landing and seeing the room from above. Sadly, Jason is already up there to meet him(More teleporting!), and hurls Condor onto a giant drill. The drill impales Condor as his body spins, sending gore everywhere.

Brodsky fails to reach them on his headset, and gets nervous. The 2 female Marines find Condor, and report that he's "screwed". Ha-ha. Jason goes after the first woman, Geko , when she backs into him in the darkness. Jason cuts her throat and lets her stagger into one of her squadmates, Kicker. He fires several rounds at Jason, and watches the big guy stumble backwards onto a giant hook. Kicker then hoists Jason into the air by the chain that the hook is attached to, and reports that he killed Jason.

Nope. Jason lifts himself off of the hook and kills Kicker buy cutting him in half. The top half tries to crawl away(should we call him Crawler now?) and radio for any survivors to escape, but the only one left seems to be Brodsky. Brodsky finds one of the dead girls on a hook, and tries to sneak up on Jason. Jason grabs him by punching through a steel container, and stabs him twice through the stomach. Before he dies, though, Brodsky gets some funny dying words, saying that one stab in the ribs won't kill him, then admitting that the second stab did the trick.

Back in the lab, Professor Lowe and his surviving students,along with KM and Rowan realize that Jason has massacred all of the Marines. A loud pounding on the door frightens them, but it's only Crutch. He finds out about the dead Marines, then Lowe talks to the pilot, Lou, who is just about ready to begin docking with Solaris, the space station they were trying to reach. He prepares for docking, then Jason kills him from behind. Pilotless, the Grendel crashes through Solaris, killing everyone on the station in one fell swoop, as well as damaging the ship. The black kid, who finally has a name(Waylander), puts the damaged space station on the viewscreen just before it explodes. Whoops!

After the explosion, Tsunaron does one of the few SMART things in the film, by sending a distress beacon out into space. After Professor Lowe assures the survivors that this particular region of space is heavily travelled, Jason begins pounding on the heavy metal door. When he stops for a few moments, Rowan hopes out loud that he went away, leading Janessa to deliver a classic wiseass comeback: "Why don't you stick your head out and have a peek?" God help me, I think I'm in love.

While everyone's staring at the metal door, Jason crashes through a glass wall. They all sprint back into the corridor, stop when they realize they're alone again, then have another realization strike them like a sack of hammers: they left Professor Lowe with Jason. D'oh! Say goodbye to your GPA, kids!

Lowe tries to bargain with Jason for his life. Sure, that always works with unstoppable zombies! He offers Jason money, power, influential connections...but Jason only looms closer. Finally, Jason moves in for the kill, and...ignores Lowe, in favor of the ancient machete he had been holding when frozen. Lowe proudly yells out to his students in the next room, "Guys it's okay...He just wanted his machete back!" Ay yi yi, what a lunkhead Lowe is.

In the next room, Rowan tries to come up with an escape plan. She asks Waylander if they can "beam off" of Grendel, and he looks at her like she's Anna Nicole Smith's dumber cousin. They decide it might be possible to relaunch the shuttle, and Crutch agrees to get to his console and start the launch sequence. Waylander tells Crutch that he'll assist him, while the others try to get to the shuttle. Rowan picks up the rifle-cannon off of one of the dead Marines, and assures everyone that she can use it.

KM and Tsunaron move off in a different direction to arm KM with more weapons. When he asks KM to assess their chances of escaping the ship, she calculates that they're almost definitely going to die. He kisses her, and she responds that their odds just got much better. Gotta love how horny these guys in the future are, huh?

Rowan, Janessa and Kinsa make their way to the cargo bay, where most of the Marines were picked off. Curiously, they find the spike Brodsky was impaled on, but no sign of the Sarge anywhere. Kinsa starts to lose it at the sight of all the blood, and Rowan threatens to kill her before Jason can, if she doesn't shut up. Then they spot a surviving Marine across the room. Rowan decides to help the survivor, and orders the other two women to get to the shuttle bay.

Back at the flight deck console, Crutch and Waylander find Lou, sans skin. They move his body(what's left of it...) out of the way, and start to prepare for the shuttle launch.

Rowan discovers that the survivor is none other than Brodsky. She examines his wounds and tries to get him on his feet,but he can't do it. She promises to bring back some others to help move him, then resumes looking around.

Crutch uses Waylander's vest to wipe Lou's blood of of the equipment, much to the young man's chagrin. Then Crutch delivers another really funny line about a war he survived, the "Microsoft conflict", where "We were beating each other with our own severed limbs." I gotta say, as cheesy as some of this movie is, I love the dialogue.

Anyway, at her console, Kinsa meets up with Rowan, who asks for assistance in moving the injured Sarge. Crutch tells Waylander to go, but when Waylander meets Rowan at the spot where she found Brodsky, he is no longer there. Left alone at his console, Crutch is shown Lowe's severed head, right before Jason smashes Crutch face-first into an electronic panel, killing him.

Frightened, Kinsa seals herself inside the escape pod. Rowan tries to talk her down, but Kinsa tries to launch the pod before it's properly unclamped from the Grendel. The clamps tear the pod apart when it starts to take off, and the explosion knocks everyone to the ground.

Janessa, Rowan and Waylander stand up just as Jason finds them. The weapon in Waylander's hands jams, and Jason moves in to finish the trio off...until Tsunaron enters the room. Trailing behind him is the new, improved KM. She's dressed like a dominatrix and armed with what the Marines earlier referred to as a "BFG", which should be familiar to anyone who's a fan of classic shoot'em ups. Everyone else: look it up. You'll probably laugh yer asses off afterwards.

Also funny, in a stupid way, is Tsunaron proudly proclaiming that he gave KM "an upload", when I'm pretty sure he meant to say "upgrade". KM grins and promises to hurt Jason, and he throws his machete into her stomach before she even gets to fire a single shot. Awesome. She jitters around a bit, then goes limp. When Jason goes to retrieve his weapon, she looks up at him, grins, then fires her BFG right into his face at point-blank range. Jason flies off of his feet across the room, and KM somersaults after him. Yay! Finally, a proper showdown.

KM pulls out 2 handguns and continues to assault Jason. Then she uses martial arts to knock him around, finishing him off with dozens of more gunshots and even more karate. KM proudly stands over the killer, but he knocks her off of her feet and gains the upper hand. Before he finishes the android off, Sarge comes out of nowhere to stab Jason from behind.

Back on her feet again, KM backs Jason against a wall, then shoots around him, creating a hole-y outline. When he raises his machete, she responds by shooting his arm off, then kicking him through the wall. She further damages Jason by shooting his left leg off, then blowing two-thirds of his head apart. Uh, I think you got him, honey. Still not finished, KM flings Jason's machete across the room, planting it in his crotch. Owwwwwwwwwwwww!

KM kisses Tsunaron, and everyone celebrates. The survivors get to Lab Two, where they patch up Brodsky. The Grendel shakes some more, and Waylander announces that, according to the computer, the hull is damaged and Grendel is losing oxygen. Luckily, another ship, the Tiamat, has responded to their distress beacon. Unluckily, Tiamat is 45 minutes away, which means that everyone on board the Grendel will run out of air long before the Tiamat reaches them.

Rowan has an idea, though. She points out a flimsy walkway connecting the part of the ship they're on to another, less-damaged section. She proposes that they make their way to the intact section, disconnect the damaged area from the end of the walkway with explosives, then wait there for the rescue ship to arrive. Everyone agrees that it might work, and they tell the Tiamat to continue on their rescue course. Quickly, the group leaves the sick bay to begin the trek to the undamaged section of the ship.

Jason, by the way, landed on the repair table when KM shot him up. A malfunction restarts the medical console, and the nano ants analyze Jason's injuries and begin the task of repairing him. There's not enough healthy tissue on him to complete the job, so the computer replaces the missing areas with synthetic tissue, essentially giving his DNA an even better upgrade than it already had...or "upload", to use Tsunaron's dumbspeak. The ants even improve Jason's clothing and mask, making them into literal armor, and give him both of his eyes back, which is pretty nifty, considering that one was completely removed earlier in the film. Nice ants.

While Jason's being repaired, the survivors are setting up the explosive charges, planning to detonate the damaged part of Grendel, to separate it from the section they're going to. When they finish setting the charges, Jason(or, as he's referred to in the credits, "Uber-Jason") makes his big debut. The only thing I don't like about the new look is the mask: it's bulky and lumpy, and looks like something from the "Mighty Ducks" cartoon from several years ago. But everything else is pretty sweet, including his new, demon-red eyes.(And again, I did the ants replace the eye that wasn't there to fix up? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?)

KM tries to kill Uber-Jason again, but this time, the bullets all just bounce off of him. KM decides to try martial arts again, but warns everyone to run away first. Unfortunately for her,Uber- Jason uses her distraction to knock her robotic head off of her robotic body. Rowan tries to step in to help, but Uber-Jason starts to choke her.

Waylander distracts Uber-Jason long enough for him to drop Rowan and join the others in their frantic escape, but Uber-Jason just throws him around like a rag doll. Brodsky shows up to find out what all the commotion is, and Rowan tells him that Waylander has the detonator for the explosives. Before he dies, Waylander shows Uber-Jason the detonator, then presses the button.

Everyone gets knocked around by the explosions, and the intact portion of Grendel eventually stabilizes, just as the rescue ship arrives. Everyone sighs with relief...then Uber-Jason punches a hole in the outer hull of the chamber they're in. As they struggle to avoid the vacum of space, Janessa starts to lose her grip on the metal floor. She delivers the immortal line, "This sucks on SO many levels," just before being sucked into space and crushed into a blob of goo. Damn. I liked her.

The only survivors now are Tsunaron, Sarge, Rowan, and KM's head. They seal off the destroyed room, just as Uber-Jason breaks through the outer wall. They run through door after door, sealing off each one as they go. Tiamat docks with Grendel, and a flimsy-looking tunnel opens up and connects the two ships. Too bad the escape hatch won't open. The power to the door is cut off.

Brodsky volunteers to do a space-walk to open the hatch manually from outside. As he climbs out, Uber-Jason breaks through most of the doors they sealed on their journey to the hatch, and Tsunaron and Rowan try to think of a way to impede his progress. Rowan tells Tsunaron that they need to create a diversion, which Tsunaron begins programming while Rowan (guided by Sarge's audio input) tries to repair the panel needed to get the escape hatch opened.

The diversion is funny as heck: Using the virtual reality tech we saw earlier in the film, Tsunaron and KM transform the room next door into Camp Crystal Lake. It doesn't fool Uber-Jason for very long, so they add in a pair of nubile female campers in tights shirts and short-shorts. The virtual campers tell Jason that they plan to drink, smoke and have oodles of sex, then they go topless and climb into sleeping bags.

His reaction is awesomely funny. Uber-Jason picks up one of the girls, seals her into her sleeping bag, then uses her as a club to bash the other virtual girl. The whole time, both girls are saying things like, "Ow, that hurts!" When Uber-Jason finishes the fake girls off, he resumes trying to reach the remaining people on the Grendel.

Just as that happens, Rowan gets the escape hatch working. Sarge uses a rocket pack to get to them from outside, as the remaining section of the ship that Uber-Jason demolished starts to explode in a chain reaction. Rowan and Tsunaron run through the space-tunnel, until Tsunaron realizes that KM's head was left behind. Against all logic, Rowan goes back to the Grendel to snatch up the robot head.

Rowan sees Uber-Jason striding in her direction as the virtual campground explodes and burns around him. Before he reaches Rowan, Uber-Jason is stopped in his tracks by Brodsky, and the two start brawling as the Grendel gets destroyed around them. As Rowan watches through a small porthole, the blast propels Uber-Jason toward the escape pod. Before he gets to them, Uber-Jason gets sideswiped by Sarge, and the two hurtle in the direction of Earth 2.

Tsunaron, KM and Rowan marvel at the fact that they survived, and we see Sarge and Uber-Jason start to burn up as they enter Earth 2's atmosphere. As the movie comes to a close, a young couple on the planet mistake the burning astronauts for a falling star. They make a wish, kiss, then realize that the "star" landed in a nearby lake, and decide to go check it out. Uber-Jason's banged-up mask lands at the bottom of the lake. Here we go again...THE END

Y'know, that was a fun one to watch. The jokes were funnier than expected, the effects were well-done, and the look of the film was sleek. Also, the cast was pretty likable and the women in particular were gorgeous. On the downside, the story was weak, and riddled with plotholes: How did Jason get into the hallway at the start, without Rowan seeing him? How was the lab still operational over 400 years after the facility closed? How did the ants repair Jason's malformed eye, after we saw Adrienne remove it? Well, in spite of the inconsistencies, I still found myself loving the movie as much as I did when I first saw it in theaters, so it gets 4 and a half killer trees out of 5.

And what did I learn from Jason X?
-In the future, all women are attractive.
-Computers 455 years from now will have extensive information about summer camps from the 20th century.
-Canada has their own Stone Cold Steve Austin, and he's easy to kill.

Next week, no movie. I'm going in for surgery Tuesday, so I'm taking at least a week off for the operation and recovery. When I'm feeling up to it(hopefully the following week, maybe the next), I'll pick up right where I left off. The next slasher film on my queue is Blood Harvest, starring Tiny Tim, so it sounds hilarious right off the bat! See you soon(I hope...)!