Welcome back from winter break our faithful readers and greetings to those who are just now joining us for the first time. This week we are starting off with the intense 90’s action film, “Demolition Man.”
This film tells us the story of police sergeant John Spartan (played by Sylvester Stallone) and his quest to bring homicidal career criminal Simon Phoenix (Wesley Snipes) to justice. But after Spartan finally arrests Phoenix, he is framed for murder which lands both of them in a new form of punishment – cryofreeze. After several decades Phoenix is thawed out and subsequentially escapes, starting a criminal rampage in the now crime free future. Leaving the now inexperienced police with one option: to thaw out Spartan so that he may start his chase again in this new and confusing future that only see’s his police work as barbaric and inhumane. With the chase for Phoenix uncovering hidden political agendas in this seemingly perfect society.
This film was released in 1993 and opened with only slightly above average scores. Critics cited that it gave action fans what they wanted, but underpinning it with a satirical comedy and was generally well liked by audience members. The film went on to debut at #1 at the box office, grossing a total of $160 million worldwide. However, it received no awards or nominations.
Now as with any film that predicts our immediate future it is both amusing and depressing to see what they got right or hilariously got wrong. The film’s prediction that out of all the hyper-capitalism focused corporations, it would be Taco Bell that beats them all and owns everything. Or that as a dig at fellow action movie star – Arnold Schwarzenegger, would become president of the United States. Which coincidently nearly 10 years to the day since the film’s release Schwarzenegger would be put on the ballot for Governor of California, which he subsequentially won.
But to get to the heart of this film, at its very core it is hyperactive, testosterone filled nonsense. The writing has the bare minimum to get by. With the only things keeping it afloat being the deadpan jokes and one liners Stallone dishes out. And of course, the intense and over the top action the movie lavishes itself in. It seeks to do no more and no less – and that is completely fine. Where it wishes to succeed it gets perfect scores, and where it lacks it attempts to avoid if at all possible. The general conscious being that the overall plot and premise are entirely stupid, but you get to see Sylvester Stallone jump out of an actually exploding building.
Is this movie a cinematic masterpiece? No. Is it one of the most enjoyable experiences I have ever had watching a movie with my friends? Absolutely. And I heartily encourage others to watch it in the same manner. Get a group of friends together to laugh at the corny jokes, to geek out at the one liners and just to have fun with this movie.