Like any business, a B-grade horror franchise needs occasional investment in its infrastructure in order to stem the tide of ever-lessening returns. And so, following the success of Halloween: H20, the Friday the 13th series gets its own renovation. With a splashy-enough concept and ad campaign to lure big audiences the week before Spider-Man took summer 2002 by storm, Jason X is certainly a far cry better than most of the pitiable late-'80s installments in the series. But in its willingness to poke fun at both itself and the other movies from which it cribs, the flick isn't a whole lot different from 1993's Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. The best sequences are therefore the jokiest, and also, coincidentally, the most indebted to Star Trek. In the first, a female Mr. Spock/Data hybrid suddenly sprouts bondage gear and Charlie's Angels attitude. In the second, Jason, trapped on an imitation Holodeck, gets to party like it's 1980 at the expense of retro-bimbo phantasms. Elsewhere, it's all bland teen sex-comedy rejects in sub-Lost in Space costumes getting sliced and diced with ruthless efficiency. Despite the presence of a character named Dallas, the film never achieves a single moment of actual Alien-style terror. As for enjoyable gore, there are some inventive assassinations, such as the use of liquid nitrogen to render a human head into a blood Popsicle. Aside from the intentional laughs, there are some accidental ones, including an android beheading too cheap to make use of even a single digital FX shot to make it look convincing. It's as if, having blown their entire budget on post-Seven opening credits and Resident Evil character concepts, the producers had to scrimp when it came to the actual movie. Still, a thoroughly slick Friday the 13th just wouldn't gel with the rest of the series; it's enough to know that someone somewhere was willing to put enough time and money into a Jason flick to infuse it with even a modicum of cool.
by Brian J. Dillard review