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'Jason X': Deep Space Asinine

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By Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 26, 2002

IT IS SCARY or reassuring, depending on your age, to contemplate that 450 years from now teenagers will still address each other as "dude" and say things like "This sucks on sooo many levels."

Machine-tooled and marketed with laser precision to the very audience that will have to sneak in to see it, the faux-futuristic "Jason X" delivers exactly what fans of the mindless and by now literally unstoppable killing machine named Jason Voorhees have come to expect from its nine (count 'em) precursors in the venerable "Friday the 13th" franchise: hormonally addled youngsters, a flash of T and A, and a protracted and only sporadically imaginative menu of ways to be murdered.

Set in the distant future aboard a spacecraft on an archaeological mission to a post-apocalyptic Earth, "Jason X" find the titular antihero in a bit of a pickle. It seems that Jason has been cryogenically frozen for 4 1/2 centuries in a high-security research facility, along with the machete-punctured but still breathing body of the last 21st-century woman to see him alive before he was lured into the freezer. When the crew – who appear to be a mix of Marines, graduate students and high school dropouts, and who dress in a style that is a cross between "Star Wars" and "Barbarella" – bring the pair on board to resuscitate the woman (Lexa Doig) and dissect him, Mr. Voorhees wakes up in a very bad mood.

Naturally, someone on the ship is having sex somewhere, and with his nose for body fluids, Jason is roused to action.

Yes, it's a bloodbath that follows, with Camp Crystal Lake transplanted to deep space and randy adolescent counselors transformed into randy adolescent astronauts. As moronic as you'd expect the 10th iteration of anything to be, "Jason X" still succeeds in packing in a few decent laughs, poking fun at the dumbness of its original premise, casting film frightmeister David Cronenberg in a fatal cameo and eking much comic mileage out of a tough female cyborg named Kay-Em 14 (Lisa Ryder), a version of "Star Trek: The Next Generation's" Data with big guns and perky breasts (but no nipples, as is made clear in a silly sight gag).

For fans insisting on an upgrade to the pre-millennial Jason, much will be made of Uber-Jason, a monster of half meat and half metal replacement parts that the bad guy turns into after his battered body falls on some kind of regeneration table in the sick bay. Still, director Jim Isaac and writer Todd Farmer don't take enough advantage of the souped-up, "Terminator"-style adversary. It's a special effect without a cause.

Of course, in the end (and I use the term loosely), the filmmakers do manage to set things up rather nicely for a "Jason XI." As if you had to ask.

JASON X (R, 93 minutes)Contains obscenity, bare breasts and prolific gore. Area theaters.


© 2002 The Washington Post Company

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