Thursday, 22 December 2016

Demolition Man (1993)

So to get the obvious out of the way right up front: this is a very silly movie.

On the other hand, Demolition Man is clearly aware of how silly and absurd it is, and breezily unconcerned by that fact.  That it's tongue-in-cheek is made clear from the opening scene, which is set in a dystopian, 'society in collapse' version of 1996 - i.e. a mere three years after the movie itself was released.  LA is a war-zone in this reality, with a large section of it under the control of a dangerous gang-leader named Simon Phoenix.

Only one man is tough enough to bring Phoenix to justice.  John Spartan - known as 'the Demolition Man' for the fact that his methods, while successful, tend to cause a lot of collateral damage.

While Spartan does bring Phoenix to justice, the gang-leader manages to frame him for manslaughter.  They both get cryogenically frozen, during which time they will be subject t re-education programs.

36 years later, society has become so strictly controlled and confined that cursing is punished with a fine and a single act of graffiti is considered a major crime wave.  The police force, such as it is, is thus wholly unequipped to deal with Simon Phoenix when he mysteriously escapes from jail and starts murdering his way across the city.  How helpful that they have a genuine 'old time' cop available to catch an 'old time' criminal, then!

Combining broad humour, some minor if not exactly subtle social commentary, and a cast who fully commit to the often goofy plotline, Demolition Man is dumb but fun.

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