Jason X (2001)
Directed By: James Isaac
Starring: Lexa Doig, Jonathan Potts, Kristi Angus, Lisa Ryder, Chuck Campbell, Melody Johnson, Peter Mensah, Kane Hodder, Todd Farmer, David Cronenberg
Subgenre: Slasher, Sci-Fi
Synopsis: Jason has been captured by the government and is being held at a secret research facility near Crystal Lake. Upon learning that they cannot kill him, they decide to cryogenically freeze him. Of course, things don’t go as planned and Jason ends up killing several soldiers. The lone remaining scientist manages to lure him into the cryo chamber, but also ends up getting frozen herself.
Fast forward to 2455 and a team of students led by a scientist are exploring the “old” Earth and stumble upon Jason and Rowan (the scientist). They bring them back to their ship and manage to revive Rowan, but Jason is pronounced dead. Jason comes back to life a short time later and does what he knows best, hacking and slashing his way through the students and everyone else on board the ship.
Thoughts: In 1993 we saw Jason Goes to Hell end with Freddy pulling Jason’s mask down into the ground. It was obvious that the next time we saw Jason on the big screen, he would be battling Freddy. But in 2001 Jason X debuted. I guess it wasn’t very easy getting Freddy vs Jason made, and while it was in never-ending development, Todd Farmer presented a script to the studio that would not interrupt any of the continuity for the franchise (as if there had ever been much). Farmer’s script placed Jason in the future, and ultimately, in space.
Personally, when the first trailers came out for this, I thought it was a terrible idea. What a shitty way for such a horror icon to go out. The last two movies had been weak, at best, and now they were launching Jason into space. This was beyond jumping the shark. I wasn’t the only one that thought this way, as the movie bombed at the box office, making just over 13 million at the domestic box office.
But a funny thing happened when I watched this for the first time quite a few years back. I actually enjoyed it and have even watched it several times since. Sure, there are some parts to the movie that could have been done better and parts that seem as if they were done for a SyFy movie of the week, but overall, this is a lot of fun.
The actors all do about a good a job as you can expect, although I am always a little unnerved by Lisa Ryder, who plays KM-14, the android. Most of the characters fall into the typical Friday the 13th stereotypes, just set in the future. Jason X also features the best cameo in the entire franchise; David Cronenberg plays the part of the “government official” in the prologue. Screenwriter Todd Farmer also has a small role as a soldier.
While Jason’s first rampage through the ship is pretty classic, this movie gets to be a lot of fun when the ship’s computer accidentally repairs and upgrades Jason, giving him robotic limbs and a shiny brand new mask. As the tagline says, “Evil Gets and Upgrade!”
Jason X also features a return to great kills by Jason. I think Farmer and the producers realized that the past couple of movies tried to get too fancy, and they just brought back Jason’s brutal side. Well done, especially the nod to one of the best kills in franchise history in the hologram room. Good stuff indeed. On top of that, Jason X easily boasts Jason’s largest body count, although most of them are not on screen. He is responsible for an entire space station blowing up! OK, even if you don’t count those, there are some great ones in Jason X.
Don’t approach Jason X too seriously. It’s best taken with a dose of comedy and maybe a couple of beers. If you didn’t like it the first time around, maybe give it another shot. It is my favorite one since Jason Lives, and is also the last time Kane Hodder wear’s the mask, at least to this point.
On a final note, if you are looking for the Freddy vs Jason review next, I did that one when I went through the Nightmare franchise. It can be found here.
Favorite Death Scene (SPOILERS): This one is easy. Even though there are a handful of great death scenes in Jason X, nothing tops the Liquid Nitrogen face smash for me. The camera shot from below the surface of the liquid was genius and the sheer force with which Jason smashed the frozen head into the table was just awesome. I would put this one in the top 5 kills of the entire franchise.