What I’ve Been Watching: Jason X (2001).
Who’s Responsible: Jim Isaac (director), Todd Farmer (screenwriter), Lexa Doig, Lisa Ryder, and Kane Hodder (stars).
Why I Watched It: Solely as a die-hard genre historian.
Seen It Before? Hell no.
Likelihood of Seeing It Again (1-10): 3 (if that, and for the same reason).
Likelihood the Guys Will Rib Me for Watching It (1-10): 5.
Totally Subjective BOF Rating (1-10): 3.
And? I knew I’d better write this up right away before the entire enterprise mercifully melted from my memory; it perhaps says it all that the most recognizable name in the cast or crew is that of Hodder—yeah, the guy who plays Jason Voorhees, for heaven’s sake. The kindest things I can say about the picture are that it looked like they spent a couple more bucks than on the usual Jason jaunt, and that they get a few points for trying to do something new and different. Not that it isn’t just as much of a heap of tired old genre clichés as all the other Friday the 13th entries, but this time, they have switched those for an entirely different set of tired old genre clichés, borrowed from the many Alien rip-offs.
Supposedly, this rotten egg was hatched as a way to keep the series chugging along while Freddy vs. Jason continued to languish in development hell, and was set in the future so as not to disrupt continuity…as if continuity were a major factor in the dubious appeal of Jason. We first encounter the big galoot in 2008 at the Crystal Lake Research Facility (hunh?), where scientist Rowan LaFontaine (Doig) advises cryogenically freezing him, and is vindicated when he hacks up Dr. Wimmer (a cameo by David Cronenberg) and assorted military types. Rowan gets Jason inside the cryo-pod, but he punctures both it and her with his trusty machete, with the result that the coolant leaks and both are frozen.
Flash forward to 2455, when humans have abandoned their overpolluted planet for the imaginatively named Earth Two, and our two popsicles are picked up by the crew of the Grendel, who are on a scientific field trip. This being an Alien rip-off, the crew includes an android, KM-14 (Ryder), although a slightly curvier one than usual, and this being a Jason movie, nobody believes the defrosted Rowan’s warnings that Jason is, as we say in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, “not quite dead.” With all due speed, the killings are underway, but since neither the victims (a mix of students and soldiers, with Isaac and Farmer among the Hodder fodder) nor their fates are interesting, I’ll spare you the details.
It all comes down to the standard “okay, let’s get the survivors into the escape shuttle” climax, which naturally doesn’t go as planned, and just in case Jason wasn’t tiresomely unstoppable enough already, he’s amped up into a cyborg by the ship’s medical nanobots (or whatever they are) after having much of his body blown off by KM-14. A decidedly derivative ending is capped with a decidedly predictable “surprise twist,” whereupon the audience is at last released from purgatory and allowed to go home. Harry Manfredini trots out his usual disposable musical stylings, and for trivia fans, it appears that Doig and Ryder previously starred together in the SF series Andromeda, which I’ve never seen.