D is for Demolition Man

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This is the first guilty secret I’m revealing during the A to Z Challenge. I love this film and I refuse to apologise for it.

In 1995 John Spartan is imprisoned for recklessness in duty, causing the death of a busload of children. His quarry, Simon Phoenix (Wesley Snipes) is also imprisoned. But this is no ordinary prison. This new form of cryo-prison means that the men are put into suspended animation for the duration of their sentence. This takes a lot less manpower to police than a building full of bored and angry violent men.

Move forward to 2032 when Phoenix, revived for a parole hearing, miraculously escapes and begins to wreak havoc on a society no longer equipped to deal with him. San Angeles (as the greater L.A./San Diego/Santa Barbara conurbation is now known) is now part of a world where everything that is bad for you – smoking, alcohol, salt – is outlawed and citizens value peace and co-operation above everything else. The omnipresent computer voiced guardian informs the police service that there has been a ‘murder/death/kill’ and it is Lenina Huxley (played by Sandra Bullock at her sweetest and most adorable), a cop with an obsession with the 20th century, who remembers about John ‘Demolition Man’ Spartan. With reservations, the decision is made to reanimate the disgraced policeman as he is judged the only man able to deal with the violent Phoenix.

What follows is a comedy with Sylvester Stallone convincingly playing a man cast out of his depth in the Brave New World. Every time he swears, he is fined. While he was taught subliminally to knit during his incarceration, Phoenix was taught computer hacking and martial arts, leading Spartan to suspect the patriarch of this new society of complicity.

Denis Leary plays a freedom fighter, working to get a better deal for the less advantaged in this new utopia, forced to live underground and eat rat-burgers while the rich eat grandly in taco Bell, the winner of the franchise wars, while listening to advertising jingles instead of real music. We soon find out the real reason Phoenix was allowed to escape and it is up to Spartan to save the day.

Yes, there is violence, but it’s mainly of the cartoon variety. There are multiple shootings and beatings, but we never see the reality of this violence. There are many hilarious ‘inside’ jokes – Stallone is abhorred that Schwarzenegger became president, his knitting a send up of his tough-guy image.

I smile at this movie from beginning until the closing credits and watch it every time it’s on TV.

It’s a bubble-gum piece of highly enjoyable nonsense. I Love it.

And I still don’t know how they use the three shells…
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  1. kirstyes
    Apr 4, 2012

    I’m with you on this one. One of my go to movies when I need a giggle. I’ve got the book version too. Still no joy on the seashells.

  2. Michael Abayomi
    Apr 5, 2012

    Wow. I remember this one from back in the day. Your review makes it sound better than I remember, or maybe I was just too young to fully appreciate the story at the time. Definitely need to check it out again.

    For the letter D, I review the South African sci-fi movie, District 9:


    • nettiewriter
      Apr 5, 2012

      District 9 is a great film and a great comment on apartheid. An excellent choice.
      Demolition Man is just entertaining hokum, but sometimes that is all I want 🙂

  3. You were right, Nettie, this is not one of my favourites. I watched it last night on Channel 5 but watching it is as enthusiatic as I get.

    • nettiewriter
      Apr 5, 2012

      Not surprised, David. I have no justification other than it makes me smile 🙂

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