Sunday, 20 May 2012

JASON X (2001)

Just when you thought the Friday The 13th franchise couldn't get any more silly, there came this tenth entry in the series. I loved it. It's cheesy, camp, noisy and nonsensical, but it does something which was sorely needed at the time – a different direction for Jason Voorhees and his merry mayhem.

He's not in Camp Crystal Lake this time around, or indeed on earth – he's in space, hundreds of years in the future, and when he is awakened from cryogenic suspension (along with the woman who put him there, played by Andromeda's Lexa Doig), he contineus where he left off – butchering people left, right and centre.

It's a fun film and no mistake, but it feels noting like the previous entries in the series and more like a TV movie (the fact that it also features another Andromeda cast member, Lisa Ryder, gives it the feel of a sci-fi TV series two-parter). That may be something to do with the production values and effects style of the era in which the film was made, as the start of the 2000s was all about slick, bright effect and shiny sets, wasn't it?

The effects and production both look very dated now, but it adds to the charm of the film. Less of a horror movie and more an action/sci-fi movie with some horror elements, Jason X is certainly the most fun Friday The 13th film since, hmm, maybe part 6. How can anyone not enjoy the sight of Jason going up against a cartoonish lady robot, or the sight of the upgraded 'Uber Jason' causing carnage? It's a much less bloody and less serious movie than all of the nine that came before it, and while it's also the least filmic of the lot, it's one of the most entertaining by a very long way.

Like some very colourful comic book clashing with a video game and some Jason fanfic, Jason X is just simple popcorn fun, and should not be taken seriously at all. I don't even really see the film as canon in the Friday the 13th series (hell, none of the sequels really are canon, are they? Jason wasn't even real in the first movie), more as a fun aside to the series it is based on.

Kane Hodder puts in a great performance as Jason and Uber Jason, but the rest of the cast other than the always excellent Lexa Doig seem to struggle a bit with the tone of the script, unsure whether to play it straight or for laughs. Uneven and ridiculous it may be, but Jason X is well worth revisiting, and it's a damn sight better than the bloody remake of the first film. Mind you, that wouldn't be difficult, really.

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