Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) – Rob Hedden

Jason Takes Manhattan aka Jason Takes a Cruise aka Jason Takes Vancouver is probably the weakest entry in the Paramount Pictures run on the series, they sold the franchise to New Line Cinema who made three sequels until the 2009 Paramount remake/reboot came along.

The upside to the film is that it features another turn by Kane Hodder as Jason, and features a very young, but always wonderful Kelly Hu. On the flipside, there is a huge question of how the yacht featured in the film got out of Crystal Lake and made its way to New York. Not to mention the proliferation of mountains that appear throughout the background despite where the film claims to be set.

The film follows young Rennie (Jensen Daggett) who is having visions of a young Jason (and so is her dog) drowning, a fear that she shares. But she still decides to take the booze cruise that is a high school graduation celebration, although there is a lack of fellow students besides the basic Jason fodder carrying on the recognisable stereotyped characters that are hallmarks of the series.

We’re not quite sure how Jason resurrects himself this time, he pulls himself out of the lake at the beginning of the film and starts piling up the bodies pretty quickly, even as the boat makes its way to Vancouver, I mean New York. There’s a great and fun kill that sees Jason taking punches from one of his soon to be victims (Vincent Craig Dupree), and the masked killer takes his head off with one punch.

Of the Paramount series, this is the longest entry in the collection, but it seems to take forever for the film to get Jason into New York. There’s a great location shoot in Times Square that stands out as one of the best moments in the film, if not the series, that features Jason standing right there in the centre of town. It’s a very cool moment.

I have to say of all the films in the Paramount films, this is the one that I have the hardest time getting through, it doesn’t really engage me, and it just doesn’t seem interested in doing anything really new with the character, except for changing his environment. And that ending? It doesn’t help that the de-masking of Jason reveals a look that isn’t very impressive considering the appearance of the character in earlier films.

It’s just a poor entry in the series, but that won’t stop the character from returning with New Line Cinema’s Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, a film that proved to be very divisive with fans!

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