Demolition Man (1993)
Director: Marco Brambilla
Screenwriter: Peter. M. Lenkov and Robert Reneau
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes, Sandra Bullock, Nigel Hawthorne, Benjamin Bratt, Bob Gunton, Glenn Shadix, Denis Leary
Imagine a film about a defrosted Sylvester Stallone, a nightmarish sexual simulator and Wesley Snipes saying “what’s your boggle”. Well, you don’t have to imagine it anymore, because it exists, and it is absolutely worth your time.
In the year 1996, John Spartan (Stallone) is a devil-may-care L.A cop who is constantly deviating from the rule book. John’s ‘hands-on’ approach to law enforcement is a little off colour – but I can assure you – the path to justice was paved with rubble from buildings he demolished.
Everything seems to be hunky-dory for the massive arm of the law until he is framed for murder by his nasty nemesis Phoenix (Wesley Snipes), and sentenced to be cryogenically frozen. Didn’t see that one coming, did you?
Luckily, 36 years into the future hosts a peaceful and harmonious ‘San Angeles’, where Taco Bell restaurants (or Pizza Hut) are the only restaurant available. The tranquillity is cruelly taken away when Phoenix escapes during his parole hearing. The police force, who now cower in the face of violence, are no match for him and the world is his for the taking
Spartan is whipped out the freezer and tasked with capturing the man who framed him for murder and ruined his life. What is there not to like? What more could you want? If you were thinking Sandra Bullock then you are in for a treat! Bullock plays 20th Century addict and action-starved Lieutenant Huxley, and now Spartan’s new partner.
Demolition Man might be a bit tacky but its ahead of its time in a number of ways. Not only did it predict Arnold Schwarzenegger’s political career, it also plays about with the leads ‘assumed gender’ roles.
Huxley, who yearns for the adrenaline of violence, is a far cry from Under Siege’s Erika Eleniak or Willie from Indiana Jones Temple of Doom. This woman is alone in her need for “some action around here”, while appearing to be a high ranking and well respected police officer – as far as female sidekicks go, she did good. Similarly, Spartan is able to integrate into a world where his presence (as a masculine archetype) is outdated and unnecessary, evidenced when he openly expresses loneliness and knits jumpers.
Snipes steals the show with his playful yet deadly Simon Phoenix, in a performance which is arguably one of his best. Phoenix provides comedic relief without detracting from his ability to do damage – a mixture so few are able to get right.
Overall this film is in a league of its own. It’s a one-stop-shop of plots, themes and visuals – and of course The Three Seashells.
You’ll either love it, or hate it. If you do hate it, then there is going to be some serious boggle between us.