Stallone Snipes at Bullock Over 3 Seashells
Released towards the end of 1993, "Demolition Man" is your stereotypical Sylvester Stallone action movie, simple when it comes to storyline, packed full of action with an added touch of wit to make it surprisingly entertaining. Simply put "Demolition Man" is a movie which takes no thought to watch but with its look into a future where one man's vision turns the world into an overly pleasant, some what politically correct place it is surprisingly interesting in some of its ideas.
Cryogenically frozen in 1996 for his list of heinous crimes, convicted killer Simon Phoenix (Wesley Snipes - Rising Sun) manages to escape when he is thawed out for his parole hearing in the year 2032. Now in a crime free society, Phoenix quickly returns to his violent murderous ways and not even the SAPD can stop him. In desperation the police decide to defrost John Spartan (Sylvester Stallone - Cliffhanger) who having caught Phoenix back in the 90's was also frozen, but for a crime he didn't commit.
"Demolition Man" is what you can call a good old fashioned 90's action movie. It is exactly the sort of movie which Sylvester Stallone churned out in the middle of his career where he traded on his muscular physique and his ability to look pretty damn good in action sequences rather than anything else. It's not the greatest action movie but one which hurtles along at such a rapid pace that you are barely a few minutes away from the next gun shot, explosion, over the top act of violence or chase scene. Although "Demolition Man" is a violent movie it is no way as visual as many modern movies and in some ways has a little bit of comic book action about it, as in for the most it's unbelievable.
Because it's primarily an action movie the storyline is irrelevant, well "Demolition Man" is a 90's action movie, which is actually a good thing as taken seriously it is clever but poorly developed. Yes I did say it is clever and that is because basically transporting two 90's action figures into the future where guns, sex and swearing are all outlawed makes for some entertaining scenes. When Spartan is informed that they no longer use toilet paper but 3 seashells instead he swears at one of the wall sensors so that he can receive a flow of tickets for breaking the law and use them for the inevitable, it's just clever in a comical way. The amusement continues with SAPF officer Lenina Huxley's continual miss phrasing of 90s sayings such as "He's finally matched his meet. You really licked his ass". At times the comedy is a little too much in focus but generally the balance between action and wit works well.
But despite not being a serious movie "Demolition Man" makes some interesting observations such as when one of the police officers declares "We're police officers! We're not trained to handle this kind of violence!", could the future in "Demolition Man" be more realistic than we thought when it was originally released.
Performance wise well this is typical Sylvester Stallone, a little stiff and sounding punch drunk when delivering various corny lines, but then that does not matter as "Demolition Man" is a movie to allow him to flex his muscles and kick some butt. Although there is some back story to Stallone's character of John Spartan it's not deep stuff and suits Stallone down to the ground cementing him as an action hero. Opposite Stallone is Wesley Snipes who makes for a brilliantly funny but also decent bad guy in the form of Simon Phoenix. Ignoring the frightening haircut and fashion sense, Snipes is great with his quick fire delivery of some witty put downs whilst karate kicking his way through various fight scenes. Again the character of Phoenix is not deep and doesn't require anything other than an action packed performance from Snipes but as a bad guy it is a fun character.
Also in "Demolition Man" are Sandra Bullock as the 90's obsessed cop Lt. Lenina Huxley who also has the funny sex scene with Stallone and also Nigel Hawthorne as Dr. Raymond Cocteau the man behind the new world order. Both performances are adequate but quite unremarkable which is what can be said for pretty much all the supporting performances from the likes of Benjamin Bratt, Denis Leary, Bill Cobbs and Rob Schneider. For those sharp eyed watchers may also notice Jack Black as a bit part character in the background.
What this all boils down to is that "Demolition Man" is a stereotypical 90s action movie, full of violence, although for the most delivered in a slightly comic book style rather than realistic, and a good dose of humour which makes it one very entertaining movie. Despite not being held in such high esteem as other action movies such as "Predator" "Demolition Man" is a good action movie which knows what it is and capitalizes on Stallone as being a popular action hero. It certainly won't tax your brains but for those who like fast paced action will find this great fun.