Directed By: Marco Brambilla
Written By: Robert Reneau and Peter M. Lenkov
It’s movies like this one that led to confusion later in life when I heard about things like due process, warrants, and SWAT teams. It seemed so understandable as a child that the police just simply sent their most badass officer after the criminal and he arrested him. You just drop him into bad guy headquarters via military chopper, he wears a beret to look cool, and he runs through the building killing all the bad guys single-handedly. I also love a movie set only three years in the future with great scientific advancements such as the freezing of prisoners in ice. I still think that is a cool idea though. This movie is ridiculous in so many ways but I still think it is awesome, one of my favorite Stallone films.
I was nine years old when this movie came out, so naturally nearly everything about it appealed to me. Lots of action and guns, an awesome bad guy that dresses like a member of the Legion of Doom, and lots of cheesy one liners. Stallone was peaking physically and professionally when this movie came out, it was made the same year as Cliffhanger. I say he was peaking professionally but he had recently made Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot! with Estelle Getty. Stallone does well as the hero in this film but I think it is Wesley Snipes who has the better role. He looks so badass with the bleached hair and I have always liked the name Simon Phoenix. Sandra Bullock replaced Lori Petty a few days into filming and I think we are all happy with that change. This was before Bullock blew up, Speed was made the following year in 1994. Beyond that the film rounds out with a great supporting cast including Denis Leary, Benjamin Bratt, Bob Gunton, and Rob Schneider.
What makes this movie so great, aside from all the action, is the vision of the future it shows us. While we still aren’t freezing prisoners nearly 20 years later there are a few strange things that came close in the real future. The film does mention Schwarzenegger as a politician, although he wasn’t President he did become Governor of one of the largest states. Some US Senators did actually propose amending the constitution so he could run for office at the next level (yeah, we elected these bozos). There is also a point in the film where a list of prisoners is shown, next to the name Phoenix, Simon is Peterson, Scott. This is just coincidental but I happened to notice it when watching the movie back during the Scott Peterson trial. The other things about the future in this film are what make it so memorable. Listening to commercials in the place of music, I love the ballroom setting at “Taco Bell” when the piano singer is singing the Jolly Green Giant song. Stallone and Snipes are both ticketed all throughout the movie for using profanity, Stallone at one point even deliberately cussing out a machine to get paper to take to the bathroom. I think the Seashells thing is hilarious, and the confused way Stallone looks at them. There are plenty of interesting things going on in this film’s vision of 2032.
I’ve mentioned many times that I am a big fan of cheesy action films, specifically the ones that I watched when I was a kid. I remember that after seeing this film I immediately began freezing my G.I. Joes in big blocks of ice in the freezer. I actually sliced my thumb open once trying to impatiently chop one of them out of the ice. I would fill a plastic cup with water, drop my Joe of choice into the water and put it in the freezer. Once frozen I would pop the block of ice out with my Joe imprisoned inside just like in the movie. Demolition Man is a really fun movie that I encourage everyone to watch anytime it comes up.
Ryan has made me watch a ton of movies that he grew up watching with his parents and his brothers. As I have mentioned before, I wasn’t really allowed to watch many films growing up. My dad thought movies were a bad influence and besides that he didn’t really have time for movies himself. We seldom went to the video store (young readers, I know what you are thinking, but it’s true…there used to be these stores that had V-H-S tapes for these things called V-C-Rs, and you could take them home and then return them to the store, whoa, I know mind blown.) Anyway, having said that…over the years Ryan has made me watch many of these sorts of films from his childhood, including Tango & Cash and The Negotiatior. There are plenty more and I am sure that in time we will get to them.
This movie is special to me because we watched it together when we were dating. And here we are 10 years later and we still do the high-five that is in this film. If you have seen the film then you know what it looks like. I like this movie, it is cheesy to a perfect degree just like every Stallone movie is. I recommend seeing it if you haven’t before. It is no Academy Award winner, but it is fun and will provide you many good jokes about what they thought the future would be like.
NEXT MOVIE: The Departed (2006)