Demolition Man (1993)

Normally I do not watch movies my father is crazy over. This is because I normally have better things to do then slog through a film where the “cutting edge special effects” are lamer than the lamest duck. Nonetheless I do sometimes fine myself in a situation where I watch such movies out of boredom.

Enter Demolition Man! This is a science fiction action movie starring Sylvester Stallone as a loose-barrel cop who took things too far in the pursuit of a mad-man. Filled with nonstop action, daring deeds, and some prime humorous jabs, I found myself greatly amused throughout the film.

The plot is entertaining enough. Hard-knuckles cop John Spartan is the loner type of policeman. He goes in guns blazing and without back-up. And while this approach worked for him in the past during an encounter with his latest enemy, a wise-cracking bad-ass criminal named Simon Phoenix, he messes up and from this mistake several dozen people die. As punishment he is sentenced to several decades of imprisonment in a cryo-prison. However, part-way through his term Simon escapees from his own prison. The police of the future, now policing a society so peaceful that their biggest problem is arresting “criminals” who break the verbal morality law (by swearing), are unprepared to deal with the threat of Simon. In desperation they unfreeze John to hunt Simon down and bring him to justice.

The setting is brilliantly realized. From aesthetic to language the world of the future is one of a peculiar dystopia. Swearing warrants a fine, all financial transactions are completed through numbered transactions, sex is only allowed with a license, and food and beverage intake is strictly monitored to only allow healthy consumption, the world is brought to life when Simon and John are thrust into such a world so unlike their own.

To this extent the dialogue is tongue-in-cheek and the music, when needed, is calm and wacky (yet fast paced and heavy during fight scenes). The acting is well-done and helps immerse one inside the world; the biggest distraction I was forced to contend with was the bulky nineties technology simulating far future functions but other than that the special effects were, surprisingly, bearable.

There are a lot of action movies out there. Some are good, many are bad. Some are inspired others are a lump of dog poo. Generally speaking this is how the genre always was. So with this in mind it is important to pick an action film that isn’t likely to bore you with predictable dialogue, a dull locale, and lopsided surprises. Demolition Man, I am proud to say, possessed none of those negative qualities.

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