Demolition Man (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Marco Brambilla|
|Produced by||Joel Silver
|Screenplay by||Daniel Waters
Peter M. Lenkov
|Story by||Peter M. Lenkov
|Music by||Elliot Goldenthal|
|Editing by||Stuart Baird|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Running time||115 minutes|
Demolition Man is a 1993 American science fiction action film directed by Marco Brambilla his directorial debut, and starring Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes. The film was released in the United States on October 8, 1993.
The film tells the story of two men—one, an evil crime lord; the other, a risk-taking police officer—who are cryogenically frozen in the year 1996 and reawakened in 2032. Following a massive earthquake in 2010 that destroyed much of Los Angeles, it merged with San Diego to form a planned city called San Angeles in which all crime has seemingly been eliminated from mainstream society.
In 1996, LAPD Sgt. John Spartan leads a Special Operations unit on an unauthorized mission to rescue hostages taken by the psychopathic career criminal Simon Phoenix and his henchmen. After an initial thermal scan reveals no sign of the hostages, Spartan enters Phoenix's stronghold, engages Phoenix's men and captures him. Before he is arrested, Phoenix detonates several barrels of C4, which destroys the building. The hostages' bodies are found in the rubble, Phoenix pleads his regard and Spartan is charged with their deaths. Both men are sentenced to a "CryoPrison," where they are chemically suspended in cryogenic storage (Spartan being sentenced to 70 years, with a parole eligibility in 50 years) and exposed to subconscious rehabilitation techniques while in stasis. The common belief is that prisoners are kept in a humane "sleep" while Spartan later describes the ordeal as watching "a 36 year nightmare" completely awake.
In 2032, a reanimated Phoenix escapes from prison during a routine parole hearing and begins a murdering spree. Easily killing the warden, armed guards and several peace officers he encounters, Phoenix demonstrates superior speed, strength, agility and martial arts skills. He is also multi-lingual, proficient with future technology and has acute sensory skills. After a great earthquake 22 years prior, the cities of Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Barbara have merged into the utopian San Angeles, under the pacifist guidance of Dr. Raymond Cocteau. All weapons and vices have been outlawed, choice desires (sex, children, etc.) have been regulated and the San Angeles Police (SAPD) are essentially incapable of dealing with combative criminals like Phoenix. Veteran officer (former Special Operations pilot) Zachary Lamb suggests that his old friend Spartan be revived and reinstated to the force to help them recapture Phoenix. Lieutenant Lenina Huxley is assigned to assist Spartan in his transition.
The revived Spartan has trouble adapting to life in the future. Most of Huxley's fellow officers, especially Chief George Earle, find him thuggish and uncivilized. They routinely refer to him as a cave man and a brute. Spartan tells them not to underestimate Phoenix and he knows Phoenix will go after a gun first. After Phoenix breaks into a museum's weapon exhibition to arm himself, he evades Spartan before running into Cocteau and tries to shoot him, but is unable. Cocteau calmly reminds him of why he was revived: to kill Edgar Friendly, the ragtag leader of the "Scraps" - resistance fighters, who live in the underground ruins beneath San Angeles. After seeing their exchange on security cameras, Spartan and Huxley check classified prison records and determine that Cocteau secretly programmed Phoenix to make him a more capable, dangerous maniac, using him as an assassin to eliminate Friendly. While Spartan, Huxley and young officer Alfredo Garcia enter the underground city to warn Friendly, Phoenix confronts Cocteau and demands that he release a list of other prisoners to assist him.
At Friendly's underground base, Phoenix and his gang attempt to kill both Spartan and Friendly, but the pair, Huxley and Garcia repel the attack. During a subsequent car chase, Phoenix brags to Spartan that he outsmarted him and the hostages that he tried to save in 1996 were already dead before the building exploded, effectively suspending Spartan for 36 years in prison. Though Phoenix escapes, Friendly, recruiting Garcia, leads the Scraps from the underground to join the police against Phoenix and his criminal gang.
Phoenix later realizes the scope of Cocteau’s Orwellian plans for San Angeles and orders the gang to kill Cocteau as he himself cannot harm Cocteau directly, because of his programming. Spartan and Huxley arrive at Cocteau’s headquarters to capture Phoenix and what remains of the cryo-cons he had sprung, but Phoenix escapes to the prison to revive even more dangerous convicts. After knocking out Huxley to protect her, Spartan enters the prison to finally confront his old foe. An intense battle with Phoenix ensues, the cryo-machine is damaged in the melee and Phoenix overpowers Spartan in combat. In a desperate act, a battered Spartan crashes a cryo-tube that freezes Phoenix solid in the middle of a kill strike. Spartan beheads Phoenix and escapes just before the cryo-machinery overloads, destroying the prison and - it is clearly assumed - the rest of Simon Phoenix's gang. With Cocteau dead and the prison destroyed, the police and Scraps find themselves at odds over how to begin the framework for their new society. Spartan suggests that they find a way to compromise between order and personal freedom, then kisses Huxley and departs with her.
- Sylvester Stallone as Detective Sergeant John Spartan
- Wesley Snipes as Simon Phoenix
- Sandra Bullock as Lieutenant Lenina Huxley
- Nigel Hawthorne as Doctor Raymond Cocteau
- Benjamin Bratt as Officer Alfredo Garcia
- Denis Leary as Edgar Friendly
- Rob Schneider as Erwin (uncredited)
- Jack Black as Wasteland Scrap
- Bill Cobbs as Zachary Lamb (old)
- Bob Gunton as Chief George Earle
- Paul Perri as Squad Leader
- Pat Skipper as Helicopter Pilot
- Glenn Shadix as Associate Bob
- Trent Walker as Boggle Guard
- Troy Evans as Tough Cop
- Grand L. Bush as Zachary Lamb (young)
- Steve Kahan as Captain Healy
- Andre Gregory as Warden William Smithers
- Jesse Ventura as Adam, Cryocon Ally
- Brandy Ledford as "wrong number" video phone girl
Jack Black played one of the "Wasteland Scraps" in the underground scene, who flinches when Spartan shoves the gun out of his face and says "And Cocteau's an asshole!" Rob Schneider played Erwin, one of the operators in the San Angeles Police control room; he would also play opposite Stallone in the 1995 movie Judge Dredd.
Sandra Bullock replaced original actress Lori Petty in the role of Lenina Huxley after a few days filming. Her character's name is a reference to Aldous Huxley, the author of Brave New World, and Lenina Crowne, a character in Brave New World.
General Motors provided the production team with 18 concept vehicles, including the Ultralite concept vehicle. More than 20 fiberglass replicas of the Ultralite were produced to portray civilian and SAPD patrol vehicles in the film. After filming had completed, the remaining Ultralites were returned to Michigan as part of GM's concept vehicle fleet. The movie also features a 1970 Oldsmobile 442 in its chase scene. The Oldsmobile brand is featured prominently in the film (including a scene involving an Oldsmobile dealership), becoming an unintentional anachronism due to the Oldsmobile brand's discontinuation in 2004.
For some non-American releases, references to Taco Bell were changed to Pizza Hut because the latter had a much larger share of foreign fast food markets in the early 1990s. This includes dubbing, plus changing the logos during post-production. Taco Bell remains in the closing credits. In the Swedish release the subtitles still use Taco Bell while the sound and picture has been altered as above. The original version released in Australia (on VHS) contained Taco Bell, yet the newer version on DVD was changed both in logo and dubbing to Pizza Hut. (In the scene where the restaurant patrons are looking through the glass window to the fight scene outside, "Taco Bell" can be seen etched into the glass, even in the modified version.)
In one scene, Phoenix makes a comment about serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer being one of the cryo-inmates. Since this movie was made before his death in prison in 1994, in this alternate time period, he had been frozen with all the other criminals that were deemed too dangerous.
Hungarian science fiction writer István Nemere claims that most of Demolition Man is based on his novel Holtak harca (Fight of the Dead), published in 1986. In the novel, a terrorist and his enemy, a counter-terrorism soldier are cryogenically frozen and awakened in the 22nd century, when violence was purged from society. Nemere claimed that a committee proved that 75% of the film is identical to the book. Nemere chose not to initiate a lawsuit, as it would have been too expensive for him to hire a lawyer and fight against major Hollywood forces in the United States. The author claims that Hollywood had ripped-off works of many Eastern European writers after the fall of the Iron Curtain, and that he knows the person he claims to be responsible for illegally selling his idea to the filmmakers.
The theme song to the film, "Demolition Man", is played over the end credits. It is a remix (heavier version) of the song originally recorded by Grace Jones and written by Sting during his time as frontman for The Police. The song was first released in March 1981, as an advance single from Jones's fifth album, Nightclubbing. Sting released an EP featuring this song and other live tracks, entitled Demolition Man.
|This section requires expansion. (August 2013)|
On Siskel & Ebert, Gene Siskel gave the movie thumbs down, criticizing its violence, but did praise its "funny offbeat script." Roger Ebert praised the movie: "Unlike so many other movies of its genre, it really does have a satiric angle to it."
The film was first released on VHS in the spring of 1994. Three years later in 1997, the film was first released on DVD, and was reissued once more in 2010. A year later in 2011, the film was released on Blu-ray.
Acclaim Entertainment and Virgin Interactive released Demolition Man on various home video game systems. The 16-bit versions were shooting games distributed by Acclaim. The 3DO version is a multi-genre game that incorporates Full Motion Video scenes, with both Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes reprising their roles as their characters in scenes that were filmed exclusively for the game.
In April 1994, Williams released a widebody pinball machine, Demolition Man based on the movie. It is designed by Dennis Nordman. The game features sound clips from the movie, as well as original speech by Stallone and Snipes. This game was part of WMS' SuperPin series (Twilight Zone, Indiana Jones, etc.).
- Goldstein, Patrick (August 1, 1993). "Hollywood's Big-Bang Theorist". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 19, 2010.
- "Demolition Man – Box Office Data, Movie News, Cast Information". The Numbers. Retrieved June 1, 2010.
- Wong, Stacy (April 16, 1993). "Irvine Cast as Futuristic L.A. : Movie: Action-thriller starring Wesley Snipes and Sylvester Stallone is being filmed in the city this week.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 8, 2010.
- James, Caryn (October 24, 1993). "FILM VIEW; 'Demolition Man' Makes Recycling an Art — The". New York Times. Retrieved March 9, 2009.
- Jack Black at the Internet Movie Database
- Rob Schneider at the Internet Movie Database
- "The Jean-Claude Van Damme/Steven Seagal Movie That Never Will Be...‘Demolition Man'". MTV. March 3, 2008. Retrieved May 16, 2011.
- Dickerson, Jeff (April 4, 2002). "Black Delights in Demolition Man". The Michigan Daily. Archived from the original on December 24, 2007. Retrieved September 19, 2010.
- "How Many Ultralite Concept Vehicles Were There?". GM Heritage Center. Retrieved January 8, 2012.
- "Nemere István: A cenzúra a fejekben van". Origo (in Hungarian). Retrieved November 28, 2010.
- Turan, Kenneth (October 8, 1993). "Demolition Man: Another Killer Blond". Los Angeles TImes. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
- Canby, Vincent (October 8, 1993). "Review/Film; Waking Up In a Future Of Muscles". The New York Times. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
- Schickel, Richard (October 18, 1993). "Futuristic Face-Off". Time Magazine. Retrieved September 19, 2010.
- Fox, David J. (October 12, 1993). "Weekend Box Office Stallone, Snipes: Action at Box Office". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 27, 2010.
- Galbraith, Jane (October 12, 1993). "Hoping for a Box Office Blowout on 'Demolition Man'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 8, 2010.
- Fox, David J. (October 19, 1993). "Weekend Box Office : 'Demolition Man' Fends Off 'Hillbillies'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 30, 2010.
- Horn, John (October 15, 1993). "DEMOLITION MAN' EXPLODES INTO CHARTS AT NO. 1". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 19, 2010.
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- Demolition Man at the Internet Movie Database
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