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Jason X Establishes Unthinkable Low for Franchise

Jason X (New Line, 2002)
Directed by James Isaac
Written by Todd Farmer 

With the exception of many failed attempts to get Freddy vs. Jason up and going, New Line pretty much stayed away from its newly acquired F13 series for the remainder of the nineties. However, after Scream caused such a big stir and made slasher films cool again in the late nineties, I guess they decided they just couldn’t stay away.


So, in 2000, work began on the latest F13 vehicle, the annoyingly titled Jason X (X meaning 10 and not Malcolm). Although, I guess we could be glad they kept the title simple instead of going for something like Jason Goes to Space: Possibly the Final Friday Unless Of Course This Makes Money. It didn’t make money by the way; in fact after nine films, this became the first F13 film to actually lose money.


Mistake number one of many was that they hired James Isaac to helm the latest endeavor. James Isaac had one other credit to his name, 1989’s terrible slasher film, The Horror Show. He’s also responsible for last year’s terrible horror film, Skinwalkers, so in essence, he’s a terrible director that should not be allowed anywhere near a film set.


Another mistake was that they went with the sci-fi angle. As we’ve seen well too many times in the past, sci-fi and horror do not mix (Leprechaun in Space anyone?). The one exception to this rule, which is a huge exception since it is one of the greatest films ever made, is Alien. Jason X seemed to realize this as well considering it rips off Alien every chance it gets.


Jason X starts off in the year 2000, which is when it was originally supposed to be released. Understandably, it got bumped around a few times before it was dumped in the spring of 2002. I truly feel that the film might have remained on the shelf for quite awhile longer, but Freddy vs. Jason finally got underway and so Jason X was thrown at us as a preview of what we could expect even though this is remotely nothing like that film.


Anyways, we are in the year 2000 and at the Camp Crystal Lake Research Facility. Why such a facility would exist by a lake in New Jersey is beyond me, but whatever, that’s where we are. Jason (who much like the last film is just there; I guess Hell spit him back out) is chained up in the facility while a couple of doctors check him out. One of the doctors is famed director, David Cronenberg; why he is in this film is beyond me as well.


We also get to meet a possible final girl (she’s not), Rowen (Lexi Doig), who is some sort of police figure I would assume; that’s never actually ironed out. After Jason surprisingly escapes, and by that I mean it’s no surprise at all except for the fact that they don’t even show how he escapes, Rowen gets Jason into a cryogenic chamber. Before he is completely frozen he manages to thrust his machete (Why the hell does he still have a machete?) through the door and into Rowen. This breaks the containment seal and therefore they are both frozen.


Flash forward a few centuries. A team of scientists arrive on the now uninhabited Earth, for which we are never given an explanation. While investigating the ruins of the research facility they discover Rowen and Jason. They decide to bring both bodies on board their shuttle where they believe they can at least revive Rowen. There’s also a very stupid sequence here involving an idiotic stoner (even in the future?), Azrael (Dov Tiefenbach), who gets his arm cut off by Jason’s frozen machete.


I bet you can’t guess where this is going? Both Jason and Rowen are eventually revived, and from there it’s business as usual. In the future not only are horny teens still in business, but they are given high ranking jobs surrounding space missions as well. There is also an android (Lisa Ryder) on board that provides a sequence of kung-fu action with Jason; I forgot to mention they also rip off The Matrix quite a bit in this film.


The whole film is essentially a chase sequence aboard the shuttle, and not a very good one at that. This holds the record for kills in an F13 film, but none of them are very memorable. It’s hard to actually factor in the number of victims however, because at one point they take out an entire planet with a skyscraper (Because that would be needed in space), so who knows how many people were killed in that one fell swoop.


There are two other really stupid sequences I want to mention. One of these involves a holo-deck where they trap Jason for a minute in a “Crystal Lake” program. There are two horny teenage girls ranting about how much they like to do drugs and have unprotected sex. Another sequence involves Jason being caught in a chamber where nanobites cover his entire body and turn him into some sort of cyborg. God, this movie sucks!


To be completely honest, this movie is not only bad, it’s bad for an F13 film. New Line managed to do the unthinkable and make parts III and A New Beginning look like decent films in retrospect. I don’t even know how to begin to describe how atrocious this film is.


Even the look of the film is annoying. The cinematography has never been a strong suit with these films, but after watching a few, you get use to the grainy filters and dark contrast. Even the brightly lit Jason Goes to Hell at least was presented in a respectable way. This film however is shot completely on DV, and it just looks, well, goofy. It looks like a really bad student film.


Kane Hodder is once again the lone bright spot, but even that isn’t enough to remotely enjoy this experience. Now that I’m done reviewing this series (at least until Feburary of 2009), I’m not exactly sure why I started this adventure in the first place. However, even with the bad films, you can get some perspective. My perspective on the F13 films is that they suck. Maybe that’s not the most critical outlook, but I’m too tired of this nonsense to put it in a better light.

Follows: Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday

Sam Loomis


Comment from Doc
Time: July 18, 2008, 1:08 pm

What, no review for the outstanding “Freddy vs. Jason”? What a tease. It would reward you for having to sit through all the crap that you’ve watched.

And I suppose the next project is the “Alien” series, culminating in rave reviews for “AVP” and “AVP - Annihlation”, or whatever the fuck it’s called.

Comment from samloomis
Time: July 18, 2008, 7:10 pm

As I stated in my review of the original F13, I will be doing a Nightmare on Elm Street series of reviews around Halloween; there I will tackle Fvs.J. No plans for an Alien or Predator series, but I guess it’s a possibility.

Comment from John B
Time: July 20, 2008, 4:05 pm

While stupid, I have to say I did get a laugh out of the holo-deck sequence. After the girls appear, it flashes back to the current “victims” and one replies, “That’s not gonna hold him for long,” or something along those lines. I haven’t seen it in a while. Only then does it cut back to the holo-deck to show Jason swinging a body filled sleeping bag into a tree.

I just got a laugh the first time I saw it.

Comment from samloomis
Time: July 23, 2008, 2:22 pm

I beleive when I saw this in the theater, I too found the holodeck sequence kind of funny. However, it doesn’t hold up to a second viewing; of course why anyone would view “Jason X” a second time makes for a strange individual, much like myself.

Part of what doesn’t work in the sequence is how stupid it looks; the whole sequence has this odd color scheme that makes the rest of the digital presentation look genius. The second part that annoyed me was that it takes arguably one of the most powerful moments from the “F13″ series (The sleeping bag bit from Part VII), and makes fun of it. When you’re dealing with a series of films that have very little to remember them by, why would you take a shit on one of those rare moments that worked?

I don’t know; the whole thing was just stupid, and this is no worse than the rest of the film, but it stands out, so I thought it was worth mentioning.

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