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Hologram Man (1995): A Forgotten Mess of a Sci-Fi Action Film

Who remembers Hologram Man? No one? Yeah, that’s fair. There’s barely a Rotten Tomatoes page for the film, TV Tropes have no page for the film, and there is no Wikipedia page I can find. So why look back at the film? Because I decided to. And that’s a good enough reason for anyone. So sit back, relax and let’s dive into one of the most forgettable films ever made!

After being captured by police rookie Kurt Decoda (Joe Lara), terrorist Norman ‘Slash’ Gallagher (Evan Lurie) is sentenced to ‘holographic stasis’. Five years later, L.A. is a totalitarian corporatocracy ruled by the California Corp., who have suspended democracy while crime rates have reached an all-time high. When Slash has his parole hearing, his underlings successfully free him. Now with a holographic body that is nigh-indestructible, Slash intends to continue his ‘world revolution’ of violence and destruction. It falls to a now more experienced Decoda to stop Slash once and for all.

Joe Lara in Hologram Man
I would make a VR joke, but this scene is just superfluous to the film

Let’s start with the action scenes. They consist of characters shooting at each other with a frequent cut to someone getting shot and killed. That alone is basically a good third of the film. And it is so very dull and redundant. The only variation is the two or three scenes of characters punching each other in the most unimpressive manner they could do. The explosions are fine if I had to comment but don’t picture any Michael Bay type of action here. In fact, none of the action scenes are truly memorable. For something that takes up so much screen time, it pains me to see that there isn’t much value in the action of this action movie.

Similar to the fight scenes (and to no one’s surprise), the acting is also not good, at least for the most part. You could replace the lead actor with literally any other stock rogue cop character. That’s how bland he is. Meanwhile, his love interest barely has any personality or presence which is fitting since the film seems to view her as an afterthought. The government officials are decent enough as corrupt officials, but provide nothing more. One of the few characters who seemed to be having any fun (or presence) is the henchmen for our main villain, yet it isn’t enough to save the film when everything else is a steaming pile of cow dung.

Arabella Holzberg in Hologram Man
Honestly, I just needed an image to fill this spot

And this leads me to the closest thing to a memorable performance, our main villain himself, Slash Gallagher played by unknown Evan Lurie who is so unknown that his IMDB page has this film as one of his ‘known for’ works along with his performance as a club bouncer in Double Impact and a soundtrack credit for… The Backyardigans? Anyways, he is definitely overacting, shouting so many of his lines, and switching moods on the fly. Sometimes he even has charisma, something that is not expected in this movie. He also is the only character with any… well character. I can describe who Slash is, a murderous, overemotional narcissist who cares little for anyone other than himself, is power hungry, aggressive, sees himself as a revolutionary, has some liking for the heroes’ tenacity while also making fun of it and hates his real first name. This is what we call a character folks and is more than we get from anyone else in the film. It is actually kind of a shame that he is in nothing else noteworthy, because maybe in a better movie, he could pull off a memorable, possibly even good character.

On the front of the plot, we have a generic film that tries and fails to have something to say. One of the biggest flaws is built into the plot, in that the villain is quite literally unstoppable. It is quickly established that Slash basically can’t be hurt. However the film doesn’t really take advantage of it to build a dreadful mood. And it doesn’t really show our heroes trying to find a method of killing Slash. You’d think The President would have technicians working nonstop to find anything to fight this guy, but the only solution he has is to send in more men. The film does mention a few times that while Slash is invincible, his men aren’t, but the problem there is that Slash’s men suffer about two to three casualties in all of the action scenes with only one real exception. They don’t even take cover, they just shoot out in the open and the bullets just keep missing while they take out five to ten cops per fight while said cops are behind cover! When our lead eventually goes through the same process to gain a holographic body like Slash, the tide almost immediately turns and the final battle soon commences with the police suddenly being able to actually kill Slash’s mooks. And the final battle is still not good, filled with endless shooting and our main hero and villain slap-fighting each other until one finally wins.

Evan Lurie in Hologram Man
Revolutionary visionary...his name is Norman.

Finally, the film seems to try to have themes, only they are half-assed in execution. The film makes it abundantly clear that the government is run by heartless evil people who care only for power but it is mostly tell don’t show in the film as we rarely if ever see the effects of the government’s oppression that we are told is happening. Granted I don't doubt that a corporatocracy doesn’t care about its people and oppresses them all while only caring about power, if anything they should also care more about their business interests being blown up by the literal terrorists in their highly populated city. They make a bunch of points about how similar the president of the company and Slash are in their shared hunger for power, but nothing is done with it, nor are there many other similarities between the two. And naturally, the only solution the film gives (and the final line of the film) is to vote. Which basically shows how much the film actually says, being that authoritarian governments are bad, democracy good. And also that once those at the top are killed, then elections are definitely going to happen, rather than complete chaos since all of the leading government officials are dead with no political figures that are pro-democracy appearing in the film, unless the ending implies that our protagonist will force a election to happen which muddies the message.

It’s no surprise that Hologram Man is a bad movie. It fails at basic filmmaking elements that an amateur should get right. Its plot is so undercooked, it started eating the nearby shrubbery, with themes, characters and plot points all proving to be equally as underdeveloped. The acting is bad, and the one memorable performance of our villain isn’t enough to save the film. Added onto that, the action is tedious and repetitive. This film is bad, but is it entertainingly bad? Well….yes but not the most entertaining you could find. It’s a mess but you could have fun with it if you’re looking for a laugh. However, aside from that, the film has little to offer. Maybe it was forgotten for a reason.

Joe Lara in Hologram Man
Remember, Vote.... or else

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