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Blu-Ray : Skip It
Release Date: March 4th, 2024 Movie Release Year: 2000

Hollow Man - SteelBook

Overview -

Blu-ray Review By: Matthew Hartman

It hurts most when a master genre filmmaker fails to hit the mark. One of the most painful misfires is Paul Verhoeven’s 2000 sci-fi feature Hollow Man. Even with a rambunctious performance from Kevin Bacon and some incredible visual effects, the film ultimately feels bored with itself failing to explore any interesting themes or ideas while devolving into a ridiculous slasher film. Gaining a new Blu-ray SteelBook from MillCreek, the transfer is frustratingly weak while the audio is solid with a nice new bonus feature dedicated to Jerry Goldsmith. Great for the SteelBook so it's SteelBook fans only otherwise, Skip It

Skip It
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Blu-ray Disc
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p AVC/MPEG-4
Aspect Ratio(s):
Audio Formats:
English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
English SDH
Release Date:
March 4th, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


Some movies just don’t work out as you hoped they would. It happens time and again for any number of films and directors. In 2000, it was Paul Verhoeven’s turn to completely miss the mark with his new take on The Invisible Man with Hollow Man. Verhoeven even admitted in a 2013 interview anyone could have directed the film and not affected the outcome. It still would have been the same film. The famed director of such films as RoboCop, Basic Instinct, and Showgirls failed to bring his usual punch of shocking imagery, tantalizing sexual themes, and rich satire to a concept ripe with potential. All that remains is a great performance from Kevin Bacon and some impressive visual effects, but even those returns diminish for a cliche-riddled final act. 

Ever since Predator hit theater screens the U.S. government has been working on a way to turn combat soldiers invisible. Their best prospect for achieving this goal is hotshot scientist Doctor Sebastian Caine. An ego-maniac Caine has to be the first to do everything, so when he perfects his invisibility serum he volunteers to become the first human test subject. Only his serum isn’t 100% perfect. He can become invisible but he can’t return to full visibility. Trapped in his secret subterranean lab, Sebastian slowly goes insane with his ex-girlfriend Linda (Elizabeth Shue), her new boyfriend Matthew (Josh Brolin), and their lab assistants trapped inside with him! 

When you buy a ticket for a Paul Verhoeven film you naturally have some expectations. Hollow Man is the only film I can think of in his long catalog that doesn’t meet expectations and it doesn't get better or earn some amount of reassessment with every revisit. Hell, even a critical flop like Showgirls has picked up some measure of esteem as a misunderstood work from the Dutch auteur (I still don’t get it but I know many fervent fans). With a script by some genre heavyweights such as Gary Scott Thompson (Split Second and The Fast and the Furious) and Andrew W. Marlowe (Air Force One, End of Days), the film is desperately missing the creative touches of an Edward Neumeier to give it some weight. 

Hollow Man is tantalizing and interesting at first, but it quickly becomes wrote and routine high-concept material with big-budget special effects but void of anything else. It’s ultimately not interested in exploring any themes and ideas about the responsibility of weapons development. It’s not interested in exploring the dangers of excessive ego and hubris. It’s not even really interested in exploring the idea of “what would you do if you turned invisible?” as the answer to that question in Sabastian’s case is “rape” and "murder."

By the time Hollow Man lurches into the “climactic” third act, it’s all so tiresome that you can feel everyone just trying to get through with it. As the final girl Shue at least is trying to give something of a performance for a slasher film without a visible killer. Josh Brolin got to play unconscious for a stretch. The rest of the cast, while fine actors, their characters are so thinly drawn they may as well have been named “Fodder 1,” “Fodder 2,” “Fodder 3,” and so forth. You know they’re going to die but unfortunately even how they die isn’t all that shocking or interesting when a movie that has become so bored with itself that even the visual effects have lost interest.

I worked at a theater when this came out and remember being so excited to get to help tech our prints. I still remember sitting with some of my coworkers just aghast at how bad the movie was turning out. It starts out strong with some cool visual effects and a nice setup for Bacon to go full nuts, but soon the whole show just falls apart. Every couple of years I revisit Hollow Man and I have virtually the exact same reaction: “Hey, this isn’t so bad. That’s pretty cool. Man, Bacon is a great bad guy. Ohhh yeah, now I remember. Oooph, this is getting bad… it’s two hours long? I better make a drink. Huh… this scene is still going, eh? Maybe one more drink. How did he get on top of the steam pipe let alone survive the burns? Ok, that death was cool.” Wait, he’s on fire now? Shouldn’t he be dead? He’s not dead… oh my god it's still going...” 

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

The churners and burners of physical media, Mill Creek Entertainment returns to give Hollow Man a new Blu-ray release - but most importantly it comes in a SteelBook. The SteelBook is another stylish piece of work that looks great on a shelf but again contains a two-hour film squeezed onto a Region A BD-25 disc (and only using 22 gigs of that). The disc loads to a static image main menu with traditional navigation options.

Video Review


As we reported with Anaconda we have a film that’s at least visually interesting (one of the few positive things I’ll say about Hollow Man) but being squeezed down to an anemic 20.8 gigs, the transfer is again not that great. I’d say it looks slightly better than Anaconda but that’s splitting a lot of invisible hairs. When there aren’t a lot of visual effects in play things look ok, details are serviceable even if the film is overly brightened without depth or healthy black levels. When the heavy CGI visual effects scenes come in the image is much noisier, almost pixelated out in places like a cinematic from Resident Evil 2 on your old PlayStation. I may not like this movie all that much, but it manages some exciting visuals that deserve to look better than this on disc. Keep your old 2007 disc if you’ve still got it on a shelf somewhere.

Audio Review


On the audio side, this one comes in with a halfway decent DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio mix. Not the best mind you. I don’t have the old 2007 disc for comparison. This track sounds all right, it at least has a surround presence, but it lacks weight and punch. There’s not a lot of low-end where it’d give some punches and hits or explosions more weight. Dialog is at least clean and clear throughout and the Jerry Goldsmith score is excellent stuff. Not a terrible track, not a great one either.

Special Features


On the bonus features side of the coin, Mill Creek does give this disc a nice little interview with Jerry Goldsmith biographer Jeff Bond. At just under twenty minutes, the piece gives a nice overview of Goldsmith’s work, previously composing scores for Verhoeven as Bond details the approach to scoring Hollow Man. As a huge Goldsmith fan, this kind of piece is right up my street so I’m here for it. Sadly, none of the archival extras from past discs make an appearance. 

  • Full Transparency: Scoring Hollow Man (HD 18:29)

With a director like Paul Verhoeven behind the camera, Hollow Man should have been a great film. At the very least it should have been incredibly entertaining and demand revisiting and reassessment. Unlike Starship Troopers or Showgirls, Hollow Man remains a thin, transparent effort for the famed director. While Kevin Bacon is still a highlight, the film never rises above the basics devolving into a stereotypical slasher with big-budget visual effects. Scoring its second Blu-ray release, Mill Creek delivers an attractive SteelBook case, but the A/V side isn’t the best to report. The video transfer suffers from being squeezed down to fit a tiny disc, but at least the audio is decent. The new extra feature dedicated to Jerry Goldsmith is a nice pickup for fans of the composer. Really the only reason to buy this is for the SteelBook otherwise Skip It.