innocent_man: (punkrock)
[personal profile] innocent_man
Demolition Man is a late-90s action flick starring Sly Stallone and, in (TMK) his only role as a villain, Wesley Snipes. Co-starring Sandra Bullock and Benjamin Bratt.

Stallone is John Spartan (c'mon, with a name like that you know he's a badass), a cop who's squaring off against Simon Phoenix (Snipes, and again, how badass!). Phoenix is a terrorist/mass murderer/all around bad guy, and Spartan tracks him to, like, some warehouse or something after he's taken a bunch of people hostage. They fight, the building blows up, and Phoenix and Spartan are both put in cryo-prison (frozen, naked and rather undignified, in big blocks of ice).

Fast forward to 2032. The world has become a polite, saccharine nightmare. The man who orchestrated it (Nigel Hawthorne) has only one thorn in his side - a resistance led by Edgar Friendly (Denis Leary, in an awesome supporting role). All they want is to live freely, even if that means swearing, eating meat, drinking coffee and maybe choosing for themselves what's good or bad for them. The rest of the world, though, has grown so "safe" that sex - even kissing! - is disallowed. Everything is automated and even swearing gives you a fine.

Bullock is Nina Huxley (see what they did, there?), a cop who is something of an action junkie and has made historical study of the 20th century. When Phoenix is resurrected, he is more than a match for anything this time has to throw at him - there hasn't even been a murder in something like 16 years, and he kills three people in his first few minutes of freedom. Huxley suggests thawing out John Spartan to catch Phoenix, and of course the city gets wrecked in the process. But more important, Spartan helps Friendly find the gumption to lead his people to the surface and demand their freedom (which Phoenix murders the benevolent overlord, who of course was the one who freed Phoenix in the first place; he creepily muses that with the fear Phoenix will cause, he'll have carte blanche to make his society exactly what he wants - an ant colony).

The movie is almost mindless 90s action, but then it's pretty darned self-aware. Huxley finds herself trying to figure out what archetype Spartan fits into. It would be easy to think that their nightmarish society stems from some kind political correctness run wild, but if you look at the motives of its architect, it's pretty clearly conservative (ain't the liberals who don't want you to swear, after all - see also this), and, based on what Huxley tells us, the result of rampant crime and the citywide destruction from a quake in 2010. The ending and the implied fall of society is a little too pat, but you can't have everything. And although Stallone is a little boring in the role (I think what a better actor could have done with this), Snipes looks like he's having a lot of fun.

Bullock and Bratt also really sell their joy-joy in listening to commercials...which is apparently now a thing, too. Holy hell. Maybe the quake is just late? I'm gonna go eat meat while I can.

My Grade: B+
Rewatch value: Medium high

Next up: Descent.

Date: 2012-06-17 04:04 pm (UTC)
theweaselking: (Default)
From: [personal profile] theweaselking
Small note: She's "Lenina Huxley", not "Nina". Meaning she's not only named after Aldous Huxley, but also after the most significant female character in Brave New World.

Date: 2012-06-18 12:30 am (UTC)
nagaina: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nagaina
Appropos of this post:

http://www.cracked.com/quick-fixes/proof-that-E28098demolition-manE28099-was-visionary-film

Also: I love this movie way more than I should for basically turning Brave New World into a 90s action flick and causing at least one of my college professors head explody as a result.
Edited Date: 2012-06-18 12:30 am (UTC)

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