There's almost an unwritten law in movies that says if a horror series lasts long enough, it eventually makes its way into space. It happened with Hellraiser, it happened with Leprechaun, and now it has happened with Friday the 13th. In the undying franchise's tenth installment (yes, ladies and gentlemen--ten), Jason Voorhees has taken to the stars and found himself a whole new crop of hapless victims.
In Jason X, everyone's favorite hockey-masked hacker brings death and destruction to the year 2455. When an experiment in the near future meant to analyze Jason goes awry, he gets frozen in suspended animation, only to be thawed out centuries later by a team of unsuspecting morons. It's not long before the legendary terror from the lake is fully reanimated and busting up everything in sight.
Jason X has all the familiar elements one would expect from a Friday the 13th movie, only in space. Clueless co-eds are still getting gutted after having sex, only now they're deep space med-students instead of spring break party animals. And tubby rent-a-cops who "go inside the house to look for the monster" have been replaced by interstellar commandoes a la Aliens. But no matter how much the scenario may be lit up with futuristic gadgets and gizmos, it all comes down to the same basic premise: Jason kills everyone.
Along for the cryogenic trip through time is sci-fi hottie Lexa Doig, who is supposed to be some sort of scientist--I think. (If she is a scientist, then she's definitely of the "impossibly good looking scientist" variety that only the movies can produce. Needless to say, she serves her purpose of parading cleavage and sexing things up.) Supporting characters include a greedy doctor, a crude fatass, an annoying grungy guy, a militant platoon leader, and a valley girl--so stereotypes are in no short supply.
Lisa Ryder is one of the more memorable characters as a fem-bot who acts like your standard sci-fi android--she grapples with human emotions and goes out of her way to sound like a machine. Naturally, her lingo is full of unnecessary technical jargon and precise calculations (although one wonders how 4.55 centuries is more meaningful than 455 years). Later, she gets more amusing when she is reprogrammed into a leather-clad, killer vixen who pummels the crap out of Jason.
The movie boasts a few funny death sequences, including a girl getting her face frozen and smashed off, and another getting blown out into the vacuum of space through a tiny hole while complaining, "This sucks on so many levels." Such unapologetically bad jokes are one of the highlights of Jason X. I also got a kick out of the space cadets' vacant reaction when Lexa Doig asks if they could "beam" people off the ship.
For the film's climax, Jason gets transformed into a virtually unstoppable, armor-clad "Super Jason" who looks suspiciously like a reject from Predator. Fortunately, this fruity metamorphosis doesn't happen until the final battle, so Jason remains his traditional, recognizable self for most of the movie.
The saving grace of Jason X is that it doesn't take itself seriously like, say, New Nightmare did. It knows its the tenth chapter in the franchise that defined cheesy slasher horror, and it doesn't really care. Jason Voorhees hacks his way through every predictable scene without a second thought for originality or storyline, right down to the typical cliffhanger ending. This is one of those movies that the phrase "It's so bad it's okay" was made for.
Rating: 5.5 out of 10 (0=Abysmal, 5=Average, 10=Excellent)