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Jason X (2001)



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Jason X is the best of the Friday the 13th series. This is not much of a compliment, as it still manages to be one of the worst movies of the year.

I have to say, though, that few movies have as hilariously outrageous premise as this one. Jason Voorhees. In space. Evil gets an upgrade. It's the stuff of cafeteria jokes and fan fiction, not the kind of stuff that actually gets made. But hey -- when a series can't possibly get any worse, why not take some risks? It's not like Friday the 13th is some sacred, undefilable mythos.

Sadly, the novelty of the setting doesn't do one single thing to prevent Jason X from being yet another retread of the same old material that was never any good in the first place. Jason kills people. It is never suspenseful. The characters -- even the One Who Lives -- have utterly no personality. They're not even meant to. They have some quirks so you can tell them apart long enough to identify most of the death scenes, and Jason slaughters them all. What's the appeal? It's pretty sick, frankly.

But, although it is of questionable use to make relative comparisons with the other bombs in the series, Jason X does have a little of what its predecessors lack. Like I said: Jason. In space. Burning through the atmosphere of planets in his techno hockey mask. It's got some camp value, although less than the trailer would have you believe.

And, frankly, Jason X does something right with its structure that its predecessors did not, although I'm sure this was by accident. In the majority of the early Friday the 13th films, none of the characters ever even figured out that people around them were dying, and so each movie was a boring sequence of Jason catching people unawares until the very end. The fodder in Jason X figure out that there is a threat out there and try to do something about it. In itself, this doesn't make it a better movie, but it's a step in the right direction. Of course, it's a long road.

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