There seems to be an unwritten rule in horror cinema: when all else fails, set it in space. Dracula, Hellraiser, Leprechaun: just a few examples of horror franchises that ended up with a sci-fi setting. While this decision works occasionally (though I can’t seem to recall any at the moment), the gambit usually fails horribly. Jason X is no exception.
This movie is essentially a bad Alien clone with Jason thrown in. The dialogue tries to be funny but comes off as self-parody. The acting is laughable, even for a Friday the 13th movie. In fact, the whole thing comes off as a bad idea. I remember MadTV doing a skit about ten years ago spoofing Friday the 13th and Apollo 13 called Apollo the 13th: Jason Takes NASA (and that 5 minute skit was more entertaining than all of Jason X).
There are a few bright spots, however. David Cronenberg makes a surprise appearance at the beginning, playing a scientist looking to turn Jason into a living weapon. As well, Jason’s look in this film is quite interesting (his standard look, not the Uber-Jason debacle). This is Kane Hodder’s final appearance as Jason and goes out in style, with an intimidating presence and streamlined design.
Thankfully, Jason X seems to have been ignored by Freddy Vs. Jason (a far superior and more entertaining film). In time, this movie will eventually be forgotten, a dismissed footnote in genre cinema, much like Halloween III: Season of the Witch or Highlander 2: The Quickening.
Jason X had potential: if approached more seriously, with a darker tone and more original script, Jason in space could’ve been clever and interesting. As it stands, however, this movie is clichéd and annoying, a disappointment for Friday the 13th fans.