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Old 07-04-2004, 07:21 PM
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Default Jason X

Reviewer: Rhett
Review Date: December 13, 2002
Released by: New Line
Release date: 10/8/2002
MSRP: $19.95
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: Yes

With most films, an open ending pretty much assures the audience that a sequel will be soon to follow. In Jason films, the more grotesquely you kill him, the better of a chance is that he will return. Jason has undoubtedly been the strongest and most prolific mass murderer ever documented on film. The guy has endured a whopping 10 films, 2 "final chapters", and one trip to space. Jason X, the newest film in the long running series, was an attempt by the Cunningham's to bring a new life to a series that had apparently run out of ideas. It tanked at the box office, but that didn't stop New Line from giving the ol' lug a first rate DVD. Strap on your space boots and let's explore this disc.

The Story

inline Image The film begins with composer Harry Manfredini's memorable ki-ki-ki ha-ha-ha-ing as the camera is taken inside the body of Jason Voorhees. It is learned that Jason has been captured and is now being studied at Crystal Lake's Research Facility by a team of researchers, of which include the pretty Rowan (Lexa Doig) and the sinister Dr. Wimmer (the legendary David Cronenberg). Rowan wants to freeze Jason once and for all (since it has been discovered he cannot be physically killed), but of course, greed subsides reason and Dr. Wimmer chooses to keep him alive to study. Jason of course, resumes his killing, but Rowan manages to contain him, and herself, in a cryogenic freezer where the two remain for over 400 years.

inline Image They are discovered by an excavation team of students well into the future, when Earth has become a wasteland and the hockey mask is a historical artifact. The team brings both Jason and Rowan onto the ship, and they begin to thaw. To the sensual sounds of sex, Jason is revitalized, and within seconds of consciousness he disposes of a beautiful young lady. The crew, including Rowan, learn of Jason's new life, and quickly send a military team to dispatch of him. Within minutes the entire team has been literally "screwed" by Jason, and he then heads for the beautiful young ladies.

inline Image One of the ladies is a cyborg (with detachable nipples no less!) and she takes it to Jason before he can cause anymore damage. He is literally blown to pieces, but that has never stopped him before, and thanks to a reconstruction chamber, he becomes encased in metal under the pseudonym "Uber-Jason". The ship meanwhile encounters problems when Jason menacingly disposes of the pilot, thus crashing the ship into a space bay. Because of this calamity, the crew must blow up part of the ship. They do, sending machete man into space, but he again returns to finish what he's started.

inline Image Jason X was finished right around when Mike Deluca, head of production at New Line, was fired, and the film was thus shelved for around a year and a half. After this shelving, the wait for this sequel became almost mind numbing, and when the film finally came out, the hype among fans had been so high, that this film could hardly have lived up to expectations. No Friday film could have lived up to the expectations the fans had coming into this movie. Now that all the hype has subsided, what remains is a decent entry into the series that has ended up much better than its synopsis would have one believe.

inline Image The movie tries to take the film in a new direction by blending the Friday the 13th formula with that of the Alien series, adding sci-fi and action to the particular slasher formula. What results is a film with a much more satisfying middle portion than many of the other Friday films, where the character exposition is ultimately replaced with sci-fi imagery and action sequences. The pace of this film is sustained admirably, and however slight the film may be, it ends up a quick and enjoyable 93 minutes.

inline Image Given that the series has been parodied countless times with the likes of Scream and Scary Movie, this film has its tongue placed firmly in cheek throughout. This is easily the film with the most humor, and this change may either please or distress fans of the series. There are some commendably cheesy dialogue here, some funny some not, but this change in direction works slightly better than the steps taken in Jason Goes To Hell. Jason X is also enjoyably post-modern in many scenes, which amount to perhaps the best moments of the film. Near the end of the film Jason is thrust back into Crystal Lake 1980 and he disposes of the virtual reality teenagers in a manner that honors the famous death in The New Blood. It is a great scene because it uses the technology of the future to evoke nostalgia for the past, a past when Jason was actually in good films.

inline Image This is the first major studio film to be rendered entirely in digital, and coupled with the imaginative set design this film easily has the highest production values of the series. This however, is both a blessing and a burden. The films of the past were effective because they were largely amateur. The Friday the 13th films have become camp classics over the years, and this film will ultimately never blend in with the Friday paradigm. This remains a film distanced from the series, one that kind of stands alone. The kills are there, Jason is there, but Crystal Lake is not, and this ends up more like Aliens than like Friday the 13th.

inline Image Sean S. Cunningham has always been saying how the series has run out of ideas and that they need to take it in new directions. My answer to this is why? The exact same formula did wonders at the box office for the first four films, and ever since the plot incorporated other gimmicks, the interest began to wane. All the producers seem to be so concerned with the gimmick of the film that they have forgotten what puts the people in the seats. Na´ve campers, sin, and one angry drowning victim are all that this series needs. Jason X marginally works, but is ultimately a spaced-out disappointment that will leave Friday films ambivalent.

Image Quality

inline Image As mentioned previously, this is the first major studio film converted entirely onto the digital medium, and as a result, this 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen print looks flawless. The print looks unbelievably sharp, the colors undeniably beautiful, and the depth of the frame so pronounced, that one will have a hard time believing this is actually a Friday the 13th film. Even though this was produced on a meager budget, the finished product is ultimately a sight to behold, proving that the digital process is clearly the next step in filmmaking. You know New Line has done the film right when a Jason movies looks better than most other major studio product being released on DVD these days.


Presented in DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Surround, this, like Jason Goes To Hell, is a stellar audio presentation. Again, the DTS has more punch than the Digital track, but both still sound extremely clear and pronounced. There are plenty of explosions and gunfire in this film, and they are rendered nicely through the surrounds, giving the track depth to match the visuals. The audio, be it the soundtrack or the dialogue, sounds perfectly clear (as all new studio films should) and will please those looking to work out their home theaters. There could have been more discrete surround effects, but this is still a stellar track by the fine folks at New Line.

Supplemental Material

inline Image This is easily the most packed Friday the 13th film on DVD, and fans of the film should eat up this stuff. First up is the feature-length commentary with Director Jim Issac, Writer Todd Farmer, and Producer Noel Cunningham. All three have a good time poking fun at each other and the film, while at the same time revealing several behind-the-scenes anecdotes. They talk about how they dealt with the various MPAA cuts, how the film faced many bootlegging problems and how they wanted to mix up the genres when dealing with Jason X. It is a good commentary, but not quite up to the level of entertainment as the one featured on Jason Goes To Hell.

Next up are two featurettes, "The Many Lives of Jason Voorhees" and "By Any Means Necessary: The Making of Jason X". The former runs nearly 30 minutes and contains interviews with many critics and historians like Joe Bob Briggs, as well as the director of the original film, Sean S. Cunningham, Jason Goes To Helldirector Adam Marcus and Jason stalwart Kane Hodder. They talk about how the series has impacted the film industry and society, and how none of them were really prepared for the success of the original. They dissect the conventions of the film and even bring up Freddy vs. Jason (poor Kane sounded so excited). It is a good look into the first few films, although the exclusion of content from the original films does hamper the documentary. Overall though, for fans craving a window into the previous films this is a solid piece of entertainment.

The "Making of" documentary runs a little over 17 minutes, and looks at the film's groundbreaking digital film process, as well as the numerous special effects incorporated into the film. Participants here also talk about how Uber-Jason was created, how continuity is such a laboring process, and how happy they were to work with Davey Cronenberg. It isn't quite as interesting as the other documentary, but still a fun little feature.

Like Jason Goes To Hell, this disc also includes the original theatrical trailer ("Let the bodies hit the floor!"), a "Jump to a Death" option and some great animated menus. Also included on this disc are trailers for other New Line shockers like Blade II, A Nightmare On Elm Street and Final Destination.

Last off, there is actually some DVD-Rom content, with the entire original screenplay included on the disc with access to corresponding scenes in the film. There is also the film's original website, a link to New Line's "Hot Spot" portal and a neat-o custom interface.

Final Thoughts

Jason X is a film that ultimately seems distant from the others in the series. It blends horror with sci-fi, action and comedy, and ends up as a decent hybrid of genres, rather than a complete debacle like Leprechaun in Space. The added resolution of the digital transfer and the DTS track make this easily the best-looking and sounding Jason film yet. This disc has even more supplements than Jason Goes To Helland will please fans left dry with Paramount's DVDs. While the film isn't entirely recommendable, the DVD certainly is, especially for Friday the 13th fans.


Movie - C+
Image Quality - A
Sound - A
Supplements - A

Technical Info.
  • Color
  • Running Time - 1 hour 33 minutes
  • Rated R
  • 1 Disc
  • Chapter Stops
  • English DTS 5.1
  • English Dolby Digital 5.1
  • English Stereo
  • English Subtitles
  • Commentary by Director Jim Issac, Writer Todd Farmer, and Producer Noel Cunningham
  • "The Many Lives of Jason Voorhees" featurette
  • "The Making of Jason X" featurette
  • "Jump to a Death" Feature
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Original Screenplay
  • Website
  • Hot Spot link
  • Animated Menus

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