Thursday, February 6, 2014

My Favorite Era: Demolition Man (1993)

1993 was a very good one for Sylvester Stallone as he started it off with the summer release of Cliffhanger and ended it with Demolition Man in October.  Demolition Man is a cheerfully violent, funny action/sci-fi movie about John Spartan (Sly) a tough cop in futuristic 1996 who is hell bent on taking down master criminal Simon Phoenix (Wesley Snipes).

Things go badly and he ends up being pout into a cryo-prison along with Phoenix where they stay until the year 2032 when Phoenix gets loose and Spartan is thawed out so he can deal with the villain.  That's only scratching the surface, however as the future is hilariously lame, Spartan must deal with overly enthusiastic partner Lenina Huxley (Sandra Bullock) and of course, there is a very good reason Phoenix was able to escape from prison.

Just about everything in this movie works on some level or another.   Stallone and Snipes are solid as hero and villain respectively; Bullock is cute as always and the rest of the supporting cast is good with Nigel Hawthorne standing out as Cocteau, the man behind the 2032 Los Angeles, now christened San Angeles with a uber-politically correct bent.  Naturally, he's a bad guy (though really more misguided) who has thawed out Phoenix so he can eliminate a group of dissenters.

Really, the only weak link is Denis Leary as Edgar Friendly, a revel who just wants to be able to enjoy himself.  Leary pretty much just has his comedy routine as dialogue and while he's a very funny guy, he doesn't exactly have a hell of a lot to do.

The world of 2032 is the source of much of the film's humor as Taco Bell is the only restaurant around; swearing is monitored by machines that issue fines and everything has been sanitized to the point where even the police are about as useful as a broken rubber and as dull as a beige room.

Once our ambulatory ice cubes are thawed, the film slams headlong into a series of great action set pieces and funny bits as Spartan tries to adjust to his new surroundings.  It's mostly shootouts but in pretty much every single one, Stallone and Snipes are throwing lines at each other which makes things a little more entertaining.  Especially good is the huge finale between Spartan and Phoenix in the cryo-prison.

Demolition Man is one of the better Joel Silver productions of the 90's with a clever, funny script, some good action and a nicely over the top turn from Snipes.  It's sort of dumb in places and to be honest, the future of 2032 can get a little grating at times but it all comes together to make a fun, escapist action movie.

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.