Movie of the Day – Demolition Man
August 9, 2012 2 Comments
John Spartan, you are fined five credits for being such an awesome, kick-ass, science fiction trash movie. My only wish is that the Franchise Wars happens and Taco Bell takes over all commercial food distribution from here to eternity. DEMOLITION MAN!
The plot of this action film begins in 1996, with Los Angeles in a violence-crazed conflagration. One of the LAPD’s most notorious cops, John Spartan (Sylvester Stallone), known as “the demolition man,” is in hot pursuit of blonde-haired psychopath Simon Phoenix (Wesley Snipes), who is so nasty he even kills sometimes just because he feels cranky. John captures Simon, but not before Simon kills innocent hostages. John is blamed for the deaths of the hostages, and both he and Simon are cryogenically frozen to remove their brand of ultra-violence from a society that is simply just too violent. The film shifts to the future world of 2032, where Los Angeles has become a megalopolis called San Angeles. There is no poverty, Arnold Schwarzenegger was (at one time) president of the United States, and Taco Bell is the sole survivor of the Franchise Wars. Into this peaceful and bland society, Simon is summarily defrosted by reigning benevolent dictator Dr. Cocteau (Nigel Hawthorne) to have Simon murder Edgar Friendly (Denis Leary), the leader of a group of underground rebels. But Cocteau bites off more than he can chew when the melted-down Simon proceeds to go on a murder-and-looting spree. Reluctantly, Cocteau defrosts John to hunt down his old adversary. As John adjusts to self-driving cars and having sex wearing helmets, he pairs up with Lenina Huxley (Sandra Bullock), a bored cop with a nostalgic fascination for 20th-century culture. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi
I will admit, the future that this movie showcases is terribly dull and shitty (morality verbal machine dispenses ticket). I mean no swearing, literal mind fucking instead of the old fashion way, rat burgers, Taco Bell (I think that’s cool) and a whole list of other things that just make for a depressing world. Thank God we have Simon Phoenix and John Spartan there to bring us some good old, 20th century barbarism to liven up the place. Demolition Man is pure, testosterone from a time when our action stars just had to look like they spent all day the gym and spout beautiful one-liners that end up in super cut edits. This is entertainment at it’s finest.
I still watch this movie any chance I get. It’s just perfect in the sense of weird satire, golden oldie action tropes, and just utter badassery. Stallone pretty much grunts, contorts his mouth, punches and shoots his way through the movie. His role is the sort of fish out of water story where a man entrenched in urban pacification and swear words is clearly not meant for the world of 2032. Watching him break every rule possible is a joy since it follows that old trope of a rogue cop going against the rules. In this case, he ushers in swearing and machismo by the buckets to this sleepy world. Wesley Snipes is just so hammy and wonderful that you just want to see him run amok in the pacifist society of spineless cops and peace time. He provides a lot of the comedic moments as he acts like a kid in a candy store when gun shopping, engaging Stallone in combat and just ruling the roost.
Demolition man might have tried to give us a bit of satire in terms of Fast Food dominance, pop culture icons dominating the society (president Schwarzenegger exists in the movie), weapons only existing in museums after dominating the landscape of society, and the police force being trained in non-violence after being associated with violent actions, these are all just some of the tongue-in-cheek jabs that the movie weaves into the story. It’s pretty damn entertaining when you catch them peppered throughout the movie, offering up some rather comedic moments in an otherwise brainless action film. Stallone and Snipes are the stars of this science fiction movie, but some wonderful secondary characters like Denis Leary and Sandra Bullock all add different elements to the film. Leary a throwback to the chaos of the old days and Bullock as the plucky sidekick that longs for things to pick up in their otherwise sterile life.
I realize that I am adding a lot of subtext and insight into a movie that serves to fill the void in our lives with bullets, carnage and wonderfully enjoyable acting from Stallone and Snipes. It’s a film that knows what it wants to do and it does it incredible well.