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MOVIE INFO
Director:
James Isaac
Cast:
Kane Hodder, Lexa Doig, Lisa Ryder, Chuck Campbell, Jonathan Potts, Peter Mensah, Melyssa Ade, Todd Farmer, Melody Johnson
Writing Credits:
Todd Farmer

Tagline:
Evil Gets An Upgrade
Box Office:
Budget $14 million.
Opening weekend $6.649 million on 1878 screens.
Domestic gross $12.376 million.
MPAA:
Rated R for strong horror violence, language and some sexuality.

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English DTS 5.1
Enlgish Dolby Surround
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 93 min.
Price: $26.98
Release Date: 10/8/2002

Bonus:
• Filmmaker Commentary: With Director Jim Isaac, Writer Todd Farmer and Producer Noel Cunningham
• Original Documentary: "The Many Lives Of Jason Voorhees" documentary on the history of Jason
• Original Documentary: "By Any Means Necessary: The Making Of Jason X"
• Jump To A Death Menu Selection Feature
• Theatrical Trailer

• DVD-ROM Features:
• Script to Screen
• Link to Original Website
• Hot Spot


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DVD

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Hitachi 31" TV; Kenwood VR-507 receiver with built in DD 5.1/DTS Decoder; Kenwood Left, Right, Center and Powered Sub; Audio Sphere Rear Surrounds; Toshiba SD-2800 DVD Player; Acoustic Research Fiber Optics and S-Video Cables.

RELATED REVIEWS


Jason X (2001)

Reviewed by Blake Kenny

Itís hard to believe that itís been over 2 decades since we were first introduced to the crazed serial killer know simply as - Jason Voorhees. In fact, heís not so much a serial killer as he is an unstoppable, demon-like abomination. A ruthless and relentless killing machine that has nothing going on in his life other than the insatiable desire to eradicate everyone he encounters. He lives and exists simply to kill. A true movie maniac.

Jason was first mentioned in the 1980 slasher flick Ė Friday the 13th Ė and while we do get to see a young, deformed Jason at the end of the film, it was actually his vengeful mother who slaughtered all the camp counsellors of Crystal Lake that year. Jason didnít take his first life until the sequel was released a year later. With a burlap sack over his head and one eye hole to peak through, he picked up were his mother left off. Running around the campgrounds and killing a dozen or so, unsuspecting teenagers.

Jason didnít dawn his now famous hockey mask until 1982ís Friday the 13th Part 3 in 3D. Since that film, Jason has gone on to almost cult-like status, pretty much securing himself a place in film history as one of horrorís most notorious bad guys. Sure heís not Dracula, Frankenstein or the Wolfman, but for my generation, heís a horror icon.

If I were to stop and really think about it, I donít think I could ever come up with an explanation behind the success of the series. Truth be told, the movies have always been rather low-budget and cheesy endeavours. The scripts were always lame and predictable - and the actors were usually crappy, never offering anything even close to star power. (Unless you count a young and relatively unknown Kevin Bacon who was whacked by Jasonís mother in the series opener). Still, the series lived on Ė and sequel after sequel, people went to see Jason in action. Iíve seen all of the Friday movies several times, and even though they pretty much suck when compared to wellÖ anything! I have always gone back for more Ė and Iíll probably continue to go back for more.

Knowing that people will still go to see him, 2001 brought about the release of Jason X. (Is that ďEcksĒ or ďTenĒ? I donít know Ė a little of both I guess). Banking of the basic popularity of the Jason character, film makers have opt to drop the Friday the 13th title and pretty much name it after the name himself. After all, Jason has pretty much gone beyond the rules of only killing people of that Ďnot so luckyí day of the year. Heís gone on to become a 365 day a year kind of murderer. Nice job Jason, way to spread those wings and fly. After all, no-one who is anyone every got anywhere working 9 to 5.

With this, the 10th release in the popular franchise, the character of Jason goes through some radical changes Ė at least as far as time is concerned. Jason X takes place about 450 years in the future Ė in the year 2455 AD to be exact. The film starts off in the year 2010 with Jason captured within the steely walls of the Crystal Lake Research Facility. When it becomes evident that death by electrocution, gas and even a firing squad are proving useless in ridding the world of his presence, itís decided that maybe killing him isnít the answer. If he canít be destroyed, then maybe he can be contained.

While awaiting his fate in permanent cryogenic suspension, Jason (Kane Hodder) predictably manages to escapes his captors and dispatch about a half dozen of them in the process Ė all in about 15 seconds. Surviving Jasonís initial attack, a young female scientist by the name of Rowan (Lexa Doig) runs the corridors of the facility for her life Ė all the while luring Jason into a trap. With a little luck she manages to lock him within the cryogenic freezer, but in the process sheís stabbed in the gut and the freezer is damaged. With the freezing process underway, Rowan is frozen along with Jason, preserving them both in cryogenic sleep for centuries.

Fast forward 400+ years. The world as we know it is a desolate and dusty wasteland. In fact itís completely uninhabitable. The human race has left the planet and taken up residence on a distant world, cleverly entitled - Earth 2. Still, our original Earth is not without itís curiosities. In the future, students take frequent field trips to old Earth to dig up relics and study our history. Itís during just such a trip that a group of students discover our frozen mystery woman and her freakish assailant. Both frozen in time and awaiting their revival.

Our two frozen discoveries are transported back to a student transport ship on its way back to Earth 2. As you can guess, they manage to thaw out Rowan and treat her knife wounds. Unknown to her, Jason is also on the transport and presumed dead and unrecoverable. Naturally heís not, and as two horny teens begin their night of erotic passions, he springs to life and begins his merciless slaughter of virtually the entire crew.

While I can admire the film makers for trying to take Jason in a new direction outside of the traditional camper scene, the film still does little to separate itself from the usual simplistic plotlines of the past. The ship, like the campgrounds, are teaming with beautiful young woman and sex crazed men Ė and you pretty much know that outside of the filmís futuristic appearance, itís going to be the same old story. Spaceships, advanced heavy artillery and sophisticated nano-droids aside Ė little has changed. Sure, the kids of the 25th century are presumably a lot smarter than we are, but they still do the same stupid things that will inevitably lead to their premature deaths.

Truthfully, I didnít really know what I was going to think of this film. While Iíve enjoyed the series over the years, the last handful of them left a rather bitter taste in my mouth. The fact of the matter is, you can only do so much with a one dimensional serial killer that does nothing other than tilt his head from side to side like a bewildered animal. Jason has one goal in life, he relentlessly stalks his pray and kills them. Then occasionally heíll take a few licks and fall over dead Ė only to play possum and magically spring back to life to continue the hunt. In Jason X, things are no different. While the students try and use technology to their advantage, be it weaponry or virtual reality simulations, we all know that in the end Jasonís going to take them out. Itís the sole reason people go to see these films. Still, even mass murder can get a little old without a few new surprises, so Jason X tries to deliver that.

While reoccurring film characters like James Bond have the luxury of sophisticated plotlines to take them from one film to the next, Jason is unfortunately a character with very little charm, personality or fashion sense. This being the case, Jason X filmmakers were forced to take drastic steps to differentiate this film from it predecessors Ė and in this case itís through the use of special effects. Thereís CG everywhere in the film, from microscopic nano-ants to intergalactic spaceships. The downside to this overzealous display of visual effects comes to us courtesy of the films limited budget. While many of the special effects looked fantastic, others were downright awful. Still, at the end of the day it was hard not to applaud the effort that was involved in doing what they could on a shoestring budget.

In the end there was only one real reason I wanted to see this film and that was because Ė ďEvil gets an UpgradeĒ. As many of you know, Jason undoes a radical visual manifestation in this film, and while it was originally intended to be a big secret, the films rather lengthy production process sprung leaks like a screen door on a submarine. While the surprise of seeing a cybernetic Uber-Jason would have made for a cool climax to the film, everyone eventually knew it was going to happen. In fact, in the end no effort at all was made to hide this fact Ė as the promotional posters and even the DVD cover all show the changes in his appearance.

So how was Uber-Jason? Well he was kind of cool, but looked sort of stupid at the same time. Aside from his new appearance he didnít seem at all tougher than he already was. I mean, lets face it, the guy couldnít be killed, so becoming a cybernetic killing machine really didnít add a whole lot to his already fearsome visage. He didnít have machine guns or homing missiles built into his body, so technically he gained nothing of value other and some shiny new chrome plating.

While Jason X certainly wonít win any of the actors an academy award, I found the acting to be acceptable and pretty much on par for a Friday the 13th film. The movie itself had a few entertaining moments, but didnít really work hard enough at rekindling my love for the Jason character. If the intent of the film was to offer fans more of what they loved, which is killing, it succeeds there Ė as the body count is rather large. However, in bringing something new to the table, which is Jason in space, the film pretty much sucks itself into a black hole. The special effects that are great one moment, are laughable the next Ė and as soon as the film does something to elevate my opinion of the recent sequels itís pretty much shoots itself in the foot a moment later. All in all, I was entertained, but nothing more. My desire to watch it again certainly wonít rear its head anytime soon. Seeing this film was more of a curiosity than anything else Ė and while itís certainly better than some of the sequels, itís worse than some of them also. Jason X pretty much falls somewhere in the middle. Itís basically just - okay.


The DVD Grades: Picture A / Audio B+ / Bonus B

Jason X is presented in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 Ė it has also been enhanced for 16x9 TVís.

Iíll admit I didnít know what to expect in regards to the picture quality. While I was reasonably certain it would be decent considering its a relatively new film, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that its pretty close to one of the best looking DVDís Iíve seen. Just listen to the audio commentary and watch the Ďmaking ofí feature and youíll quickly understand why. While Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones has the bragging right of being the first digitally filmed movie, Jason X was the first to be shot on film and then transferred in its entirety to digital high definition.

While many films will transfer segments of a movie over to a computer in order to work on the special effects scenes, Jason X was transferred over to computer completely. In doing so, the film makers had complete control over the film and had the luxury of being able to do everything from colour correction to compositing. Admittedly, the results are amazing. While Jason X isnít exactly a showpiece to demonstrate the power of DVD to your friends, itís looks absolutely fabulous none the less. No grain, speckles, artifacts, scratches, dirt, grit or another other defects were noticed during the viewing. In fact, itís virtually perfect in every way.

For a Friday the 13th film I was also very surprised by the colour. Instead of the usual gritty earth tones we usually get, Jason X gives us lots of vibrant blues, yellows, greens and reds. Theyíre everywhere in the film Ė and they look great. The shear brilliance of the colour surprised even me. Black levels were also nice - and when combined with the bright colours made for a beautiful looking feature. Not a single thing to complain about here.

Trying to keep up with the sensational picture was a great selection of audio tracks. For serious audio buffs, Jason X provides both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS. Thereís also a Stereo Surround track Ė and English Subtitles. For the sake of this review I chose to listen to the movieís DTS track.

Like the picture, the sound is simply awesome. Right from the onset the track makes fantastic use of all speakers. The intro music plays through the room and is as active in the rear as it is up front. Rear surrounds are also worked heavily during scenes with gunfire, alarm systems, beeping and bleeping computer terminals and explosion. What really made me happy was the great rumbling that came from the subwoofer. It was clear and precise without becoming excessive. While I love the subwoofer, I often find myself dashing across the room to adjust the volume when action gets intense and the sub damn near rumbles my house down to the floor. With this audio track you get great bass response without things becoming overwhelming and distracting. Spaceship engines rumble nicely and even while in the corridors of the spacecraft you could always hear the subtlety of running engines. It was great Ė and overall I was very please with the sound.

As the DVD offers superb picture and sound, one expects the supplemental material to be equally good. Jason X doesnít offer heaps of extras like some other DVDís, but does none the less offers an above average amount of content.

First up is a screen specific audio commentary provided by Jim Isaac, Todd Farmer and Noel Cunningham - the films director, writer and producer respectively. Overall the 3 men are extremely vocal and interesting throughout a majority of this feature. Given the nature of the film, the men provide a fun and informative commentary rather and a serious and uptight one. Jason X is intended to be a fun movie, and knowing that - they have fun during their recording session.

They talk a lot about the work that went into getting the project off the ground and the different ideas they ran through before settling on Jason in space. They also discuss the larger number of special effects sequences they worked on during the film. As you have probably witnessed, most Friday the 13th films have little or no effects outside of the blood and gore. This being the case, the 3 men talk in great depth about working with the special effects people at Toy Box and the advantages in having the film transferred to digital HD.

Overall the commentary was enjoyable and entertaining. It wasnít the greatest Iíve ever heard, but it was still above average. The only thing I noticed was that the commentary didnít really follow what was going on during the film. They pretty much just spoke of whatever crossed their minds. This isnít to say they never involved themselves in what was happening on screen, they just didnít shy away from running with a given topic.

Second we get a documentary style feature entitled Ė The Many Lives of Jason Voorhees, it runs for 29 minutes and 52 seconds. While the title seems to imply that we would follow the history of the character Jason from the first film to the most recent, thatís not really what this segment is about. In fact, much of it is comprised of interviews and comments. We get to hear from a few of the Friday the 13th film directors, including the creator and director of the first film Ė Sean Cunningham. We also hear from film critics, Fangoria magazine editors and even some fans. Overall they cover a lot of ground and discuss many facets of the series.

The various interviewees talk about the number of people Jason has killed during the 10 films and the huge array of implements heís used to dispose of them. On a related level they also discuss the mediaís hatred of the series and how Friday the 13th films have been unfairly linked to real world violence.

Changing gears, we also get to spend some time with Kane Hodder, the man who has played Jason in the last 4 films. He talks about the enjoyment he gets in playing the character and we also get to watch him interact with fans at a horror movie convention.

In the end, this great segment covers many issues related to both Jason and Friday the 13th. While it tries to nail down the reason behind the popularity of the series, it never really succeeds. The fact is, no one really know why itís lasted for all these year. Some things just defy explanation. As it stands, my own interest in the series made this feature seem both informative and captivating. Very enjoyable.

Next up we have Ė By Any Mean Necessary: The Making of Jason X. This addition runs for 17 minutes and 28 seconds and covers many elements involved in the production of the film. Primarily it covers the film makers desire to take Jason in some new direction Ė and how they eventually decided on the idea of Jason in space.

We also get to see how the film was transferred to Digital HD in order to accommodate the large amount of effects shots they had planned. We witness how shots were composited together and how green screens, CG and models were used to give the film its futuristic appearance. Another great addition was seeing the design work for Uber-Jason and the planning that went into creating his new look. While the segment isnít incredibly long, it still packs in a great deal of behind the scenes footage and offers lots of interesting information.

Next up we get Ė Jump to a Death. As the name implies, this feature allows the viewers to jump straight onto a scene with someone getting killed. You can choose to watch any one of 16 different murders, some of the scenes also include multiple murders that take place in close succession. You can also view the scenes individually, or choose to play them all. While itís nothing particularly special, itís a cool addition if you want to show a friend a particular kill without have to find a particular moment within the chapter selections.

Next up is the filmís theatrical trailer. What can you say here Ė itís the trailer.

Last on our list of special features we get more New Line chills and thrills. Technically this has nothing at all to do with Jason X and is simply promotional material providing us with trailers for Blade 2, Final Destination and A Nightmare on Elm St.

When all is said and done, Jason X is an exceptional DVD, and to answer the question I posed at the beginning of this review - itís called ďJason EcksĒ not ďJason 10Ē Ė even though it is indeed part 10. Confused yet?

As I was saying, this is a great DVD. The picture quality is fantastic, the sound is immersive and the special features are copious. From that standpoint I was very impressed with this disc. However, the film itself is somewhat of a mixed bag. While Jason X isnít the worst in the Friday the 13th series, itís not the best either. While it offers a reasonably fresh take on the series and presents some big changes to the character of Jason, itís fundamentally the same thing weíve seen 9 times before.

Jason kills, Jason kills again, someone kills Jason, Jason springs back to life and kills some more, Jason gets killed a final time - then Jason returns in Jason part XI.

While hardcore Friday the 13th fans or horror fans will probably get a kick out of the film and undoubtedly enjoy the exceptional quality of the DVD, casual horror fans would probably regret the purchase. Itís a good rental for a night of frightening fun, but only serious fans should consider taking this DVD home for good. The bottom line is Ė itís a great DVD, but a mediocre movie.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.6666 Stars Number of Votes: 42
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4 3:
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91:
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