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Jason X
Tonight's Feature Presentation

JASON X (2001)

Starring: Kane Hodder, Lexa Doig, Lisa Ryder, Chuck Campbell, Jonathan Potts, Peter Mensah

Written By: Todd Farmer Directed By: James Isaac

The Short Version

Someone decided to end the solo run of the original Friday the 13th franchise with a bang. Yes!

Five words: KANE HODDER IS JASON VOORHEES!

An astounding body count (28+) meets some varied and creative kills.

It’s obvious that people had a lot of fun with this; you should, too!

Jason X is my all-time favorite slasher movie.  By all means, get this!


The Long Version

What Kind Of Cheese Is It?

SLICED CHEDDAR.

The good stuff for the good stuff.  You didn’t think that Jason would leave it in one piece, though, did you?


Pairs Well With...

GLENLIVET.

Because Jason deserves a toast of reasonably decent Scotch for his solo swan song.  (It’s also what I had while watching this last night, and they paired very well indeed!)

“Guys, it’s okay!  He just wanted his machete back!”


In 1993, Jason Voorhees went out what with what many fans considered something less than style in Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday.  His lore had jumped the shark, and as the century turned, the mash-up of Freddy Krueger vs. Jason Voorhees promised by the ending of Jason Goes to Hell had yet to materialize, and if it ever did, it seemed pretty likely that mash-ups would be where he’d stay forever after.  Then some genius recognized a golden opportunity to set things right while waiting for the studio to hash out their on-again-off-again mash-up project.  It was an opportunity to give Jason Voorhees the solo-run swan song he deserved in the form of a movie that kicked ass and had tons of fun doing it.

It was an opportunity to make Jason X.

It was an opportunity that they didn’t waste.  By the time it was over – 28 bodies (plus untold hundreds if not thousands aboard an exploding way station), six bare breasts, a kink scene, and a sex scene later – they had made what is arguably the best entry in the entire Friday the 13th series, and my personal favorite slasher movie ever.

Is John Carpenter’s Halloween a technically better film?  Yes.

Are there slashers out there with more blood on the carpet?  Yes.

Are there slashers out there with a higher nudity to screen time ratio?  Yes.

Are any of the above more fun to watch overall than Jason X?  Not a chance.

If pure slasher fun is what you’re after, it’s damn near impossible to beat Jason X.  This flick was designed to do one thing: entertain loyal fans, and it does that in spades.  And machetes.  And auger bits.  And chains.  And a whole bunch of other lethal stuff.  Let’s have a peek, shall we?

Our story begins (based on later dialogue) sometime shortly after the year 2010.  Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder) has been captured and is held captive in a research facility under military guard.  All attempts to execute him have failed.  The scientist in charge of the facility, Rowan (Lexa Doig), wants to place him in cryogenic stasis until someone can figure out a way to permanently dispose of him.  But military man Dr. Wimmer (David Cronenberg; nice cameo) has other ideas.  He wants to study Jason’s remarkable regenerative powers and exploit them.  Apparently he’s never seen any of the Alien movies and doesn’t understand that trying to exploit the superhuman killer for your own gain never turns out well.

He learns soon enough, though; Jason escapes from his chains and takes out most of the facility, including Wimmer.  Rowan manages to trap him inside the cryogenic hibernation chamber, but Jason is able to pierce it with his machete before he freezes.  Not only does he stab Rowan, but the breach in the chamber causes the facility’s failsafes to kick in, and the room is sealed while the cryo-gas seeps in, freezing Rowan along with Jason.

Flash forward four and a half centuries.  Earth is a desolate, uninhabitable ruin.  A professor and a group of students on a field trip discover the old facility and the two bodies frozen inside.  They decide to take the two bodies back to their ship; they even think they can resurrect the woman.  They needn’t worry about resurrecting the big scary male with the machete, of course.  He can resurrect himself just fine…

Taking a franchise into space is often a sign of disaster, but in the case of Jason X, it’s just a change of scenery and a chance to exploit some things that Jason hasn’t had a chance to play with before.  We’ve all got a pretty good idea that this is the end, so why not go for it, right?  As suggested above, Jason X definitely goes for it, and Jason X definitely gets it right.

First and foremost in the “getting it right” category, Kane Hodder is back for the fourth time as Jason Voorhees.  For almost every serious Friday the 13th fan, Hodder is Jason, and there’s definitely a reason they kept clamoring for his return after he first wowed them in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood.  Hodder is the man who truly brought out Jason’s inner badass and turned him from being a simple homicidal maniac with a machete into being a real, consistent, and ultimately even scarier character.  Kane Hodder pulls out all the stops here.  From the very start of the film, the Jason we see has never been more menacing, and when later on “Uber Jason” is revealed, Hodder takes it to the next level of awesome.  Not just any man in a hockey mask could pull off the pure menace you see here.  Kane Hodder has truly saved his best for what would unfortunately be his last.

Coming in right behind Kane Hodder in the “Memorable performances” category is Lisa Ryder as the android, Kay-Em 14.  Her “Andromeda” costar Lexa Doig may be the “official” heroine here, but Ryder absolutely steals the show, first as a calculating science type, and then as an ass kicking killing machine once she finds her ‘motivation’ in a particularly fun scene, acquiring a wicked sense of humor and the facial expressions to match along the way.  When she steps out in her weapons and leather, feel free to cheer (I know I did); he performance has more than earned it.  (Though why anyone would want to leave Kay-Em without nipples is something that I simply can’t understand.  Really; she looks great with them, thanks.)

Behind Ryder, the rest of the cast is quite solid, too, resulting in the easiest group of Jason bait to cheer for in the entire series, even dating back to the first film.  Even the one you’re definitely not supposed to like has a certain charm, largely due to a talented performance.

Of course, the writing has something to do with it, as well, and Jason X is the best, most tightly written film in the series.  The story is far, far less “random” than most standard slashers (including those of the Friday the 13th series) are, largely because here, the characters tend to have something else to do aside from run like hell when the killer shows up.  There are no throwaway moments, and the dialogue here is definitely snappy.  This script plays on all of the best elements of the movies that have come before and builds on them wonderfully.  It’s not afraid to have fun with itself or with its past, cracking jokes without ever even coming close to turning into a farce (an especially remarkable feat since, again, we’ve taken the action into outer space).  Along with an excellent collection of one-liners (particularly the certainly not exclusively from Kay-Em), franchise fans will particularly appreciate the hologram sequence that allows Jason to go back to camp and relive his famous sleeping bag kill.

Speaking of kills…

Jason racks up an impressive body count here: 28 official, and countless others when a way station blows up as a direct consequence of Jason killing one of his victims at a particularly bad moment.  What’s most impressive here, though, is the variety involved.  Even when a kill is repeated, it doesn’t feel the same as any that have come before, and Jason’s new environment gives him even more fun stuff to try, including one of my favorites in the entire series: the liquid nitrogen kill.  I must say that I also quite like the auger bit, particularly the twisting as the victim comes down… but I’ll let you folks discover the rest.

Is this to say that Jason X is perfect or that it lives up to its greatest potential?  No; but it does come closer than most.  Early versions of the script had a zero-G combat scene that I can only imagine would have been dynamite to see, and it’s said that the hologram sequence that treats viewers to the sleeping bag kills was originally supposed to feature an entire topless volleyball team the that filmed version doesn’t provide.  Of course I’d have liked to see that, and a shower scene somewhere for old time’s sake.  I’ve also never understood the point of a nudity-free sex scene (the boob shots and the sex and kink scenes are not one in the same) outside of a drama, which this most certainly isn’t.  Could there have been a little more blood?  Maybe, but, as with any of the quibbles above, while that would have been cool, based on the awesomeness of the end results, it didn’t need to be there to make the film work.  At the end of the day, Jason X is just plain fun, pure and simple, from beginning to end.

Bottom line, I have never more thoroughly enjoyed a slasher movie than I did Jason X.  Obviously a flick crafted for fans by fans, it fires on all cylinders and entertains from start to finish.  If you’re going to own any sequel to any slasher movie, this is the one to pick.  Just kick back and enjoy.

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- Reviewed by Ziggy Berkeley, October, 2011


More From The Bar! | Friday the 13th | Aeon Flux | Freddy vs. Jason |



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