Demolition Man is one of the best science fiction action movies of the nineties. It stands shoulder to shoulder with such classics as Total Recall and The Fifth Element. Not ashamed of its seemingly simplistic B movie plot, it offers loads of fun and even some thought-provoking subplots. This is one of those timeless classics people keep coming back to, myself included. It’s still relevant, exploring several important issues in our society and offering a look into our possible future.
Actually, the basic plot of the movie feels like a Star Trek episode. And of course, that’s excluding that pile of manure that is Star Trek: Discovery. Just to keep in line with the general theme of the review. With big and imposing sets, excellent stunts, and practical effects, Demolition Man still looks pretty good for its age. Sure, some of the futuristic stuff does have a distinctive nineties feel to it but it’s still acceptable. After all, with a budget of almost $80 million they could afford it along with our three leads.
Snipes, Stallone, and Bullock were excellent along with Denis Leary and Benjamin Bratt. What more to want from a nineties action movie? Well, perhaps some witty one-liners, casual graphic violence, and juicy shootouts? You got it, as this movie has it all. Here’s a fun game, try to count all the futuristic stuff you’ll be seeing here and that’s just commonplace now. And while they did miss a couple of things, they sure hit a lot of them.
Meet John Spartan, a badass one-man-army cop who just got to his man, evil maniac Simon Phoenix. He kidnapped a bunch of people, holding them hostage and hoping to kill as many cops as he can. John tried to find them but he was too late and all of them died. Simon accuses him that he knew where they were and the judges believe him, giving both of them long prison sentences. However, they will not serve their time in a regular prison but in an all-new cryo prison. So, when they wake up some forty years later, the world will be a very different place.
If you take away all the futuristic stuff, all you’re left with is your basic nineties action movie plot. One tough cop is out to get one tough criminal. It can get a little silly and campy at times but at least it’s entertaining. And with a lot of style with a vibe that’s reminiscent of some comic book adaptations released during the same decade. This also means that Demolition Man is a good old-fashioned CGI-less action movie so you won’t have to worry about the visuals.
Finally, if you’re looking for more of the same check out Judge Dredd also starring Stallone. Starship Troopers, Screamers, Virtuosity and Escape from L.A. are also good choices.
Director: Marco Brambilla
Writers: Peter M. Lenkov, Robert Reneau, Daniel Waters
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes, Sandra Bullock, Nigel Hawthorne, Benjamin Bratt, Denis Leary
Fun Facts: Wesley Snipes did not like his hair color and as soon as the production was over he shaved his head. However, not long after the premiere of this movie, Dennis Rodman, famous basketball player started dying his hair in similar, bright colors. A look he would sport opposite of Van Damme in both Double Team and Simon Sez.
IMDb Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106697/