Demolition Man (film)

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For other uses, see Demolition Man (disambiguation).
Demolition Man
Demolition man.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Marco Brambilla
Produced by Joel Silver[1]
Michael Levy
Howard Kazanjian
Screenplay by Daniel Waters
Robert Reneau
Peter M. Lenkov
Story by Peter M. Lenkov
Robert Reneau
Starring Sylvester Stallone
Wesley Snipes
Music by Elliot Goldenthal
Cinematography Alex Thomson
Edited by Stuart Baird
Production
company
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • October 8, 1993 (1993-10-08)
Running time 115 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $159,055,768[2]

Demolition Man is a 1993 American science fiction action film directed by Marco Brambilla in his directorial debut. The film stars Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes. The film was released in the United States on October 8, 1993.[3]

The film tells the story of two men: an evil crime lord and a risk-taking police officer. Cryogenically frozen in 1996, they are restored to life in the year 2032 to find mainstream society changed and all crime seemingly eliminated.

Some aspects of the film allude to Aldous Huxley's dystopian novel, Brave New World.[4]

Plot[edit]

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 a thermal scan reveals no sign of the hostages, Spartan enters Phoenix's stronghold, and engages Phoenix's men and captures Phoenix himself, who before his arrest has detonated several barrels of C4, destroying the building. The hostages' bodies are found in the rubble, Phoenix "pleads his regard", and Spartan is charged with their deaths. Both men are frozen in "CryoPrison" and exposed to subconscious rehabilitation techniques.

In 2032, 22 years after 2010 "Great Earthquake", the former cities of Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Barbara have merged into a pseudo-utopian San Angeles, under the pseudo-pacifist guidance and control of a Dr. Raymond Cocteau. Weapons and vices are outlawed, human behavior (sex, children, bad words, etc.) are prohibited or regulated, citizens carry implanted transceivers, and in the resulting absence of any violent crime, the San Angeles Police (SAPD) has lost any ability to handle violent behavior of any kind.

Phoenix is awakened for a parole hearing, kills the warden, armed guards and several peace officers, demonstrating super speed, strength, agility and martial arts skills. (He is also multi-lingual and proficient with future technology, and has acute sensory skills.) Veteran officer Zachary Lamb suggests that Spartan be revived and reinstated to the force to help them capture 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 perceive Spartan as thuggish and uncivilized. In the meantime, the white-robed Dr. Cocteau has recruited Phoenix to kill Edgar Friendly, the ragtag leader of the "Scraps"—resistance fighters living in the ruins beneath San Angeles, whom Cocteau sees as the threat to the narcotized society he has created.

The first Spartan-Phoenix confrontation is at the "Museum of Antiquities" weapon exhibit, where Phoenix goes to arm himself, as Spartan deduced he will. Phoenix evades Spartan and encounters Dr. Cocteau, whom he tries to shoot, but he is programmed against that ability. Cocteau reminds him of why he was revived: to kill Edgar Friendly. In a subsequent encounter, Dr. Cocteau adds Spartan to his hit list for Phoenix, and agrees to given him the territory of Santa Monica upon completion. Spartan and Huxley learn of this and that Dr. Cocteau is "an evil Mr. Rogers" rather than San Angeles's saintly god-king. He had programmed Phoenix to make him a more capable, dangerous maniac, and to use 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 base, Phoenix and an irredeemable supplement of recruits attempt to kill both Spartan and Friendly, whom Spartan and Huxley have joined underground. They escape in a 1970 Oldsmobile 442. In a communication during the car chase, Phoenix reveals that the hostages Spartan tried to rescue from him in their 1990s encounter were dead before the building exploded: Spartan was innocent of any crime and was terminated (frozen) for nothing. Phoenix escapes. Friendly, recruiting Garcia, leads the Scraps from the underground to join the police against Phoenix and his gang.

Phoenix orders the gang to kill Cocteau, which his programming prevents him from doing directly. Spartan and Huxley arrive at Cocteau's headquarters to capture Phoenix and his accomplices. Phoenix escapes to the prison to revive (defrost) and recruit even more dangerous convicts. After knocking out Huxley to protect her, Spartan enters the prison to confront Phoenix. Spartan uses a cryotube to freeze Phoenix solid, destroys Phoenix by knocking his head off, and escapes as the cryomachinery overloads, destroying the prison. With Cocteau dead and the prison destroyed, the police and the 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.

Cast[edit]

Sandra Bullock replaced original actress Lori Petty in the role of Lenina Huxley after a few days filming.[6] 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.[4]

Originally Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal were offered lead roles in the movie.[7] The role of Simon Phoenix was also offered to Jackie Chan.[8]

Production[edit]

Warner Bros. disliked the first cut of the film, so they brought in editor Stuart Baird to re-cut it. The same thing had happened to another Stallone movie Tango & Cash (1989), which was heavily re-edited many times by Baird and other editors due to the behind-the-scenes problems and Warner Bros. disliking initial cuts. Originally in Demolition Man, there were some more plot parts including Spartan meeting his grown-up daughter in the sewers amongst Edgar Friendly's people. In the movie Spartan is shown protecting a girl during the shootout in sewers; this is his daughter, who is also seen in the ending scene standing next to Friendly while he is talking with Spartan. Other scenes which were deleted include Phoenix killing Zachary Lamb before the car chase between him and Spartan begins; extra lines of dialogue (some of which can be seen in various trailers for the movie) and longer/additional action scenes (including the infamous deleted fight scene between Sylvester Stallone and Jesse Ventura). In one deleted action scene during the battle in the sewers, Spartan goes on the bridge from which Phoenix and his gang are shooting and starts to fight with Phoenix before the bridge turns over. While both of them are hanging on it, Phoenix says to Spartan that the bus passengers which he failed to save back in 1996 were already dead, meaning that Spartan was sent to CryoPrison for nothing. In the movie, Phoenix says this to Spartan during the car chase near the conclusion of the film, but Phoenix is not shown speaking onscreen, indicating that dialogue from the deleted scene was placed in this scene or was dubbed by the actor. Some other deleted and alternate scenes can be seen in several trailers, promotional photos and even in novelizations of the movie.

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.[9] 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. There is also a red Chevrolet Camaro fitted with a body kit driving around in most scenes around the city, and parked in others.

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.)

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 to find violence has been 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 has plagiarised 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.[10]

Soundtrack[edit]

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.

Elliot Goldenthal composed the score for the film. It was his second big Hollywood project after the Alien³ score.

Reception[edit]

Critical reaction[edit]

The film received mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 64% rating on based on 36 reviews.[11] The film scored a 34/100 on Metacritic, based on 9 reviews.[12]

[13][14][15]

On Siskel & Ebert, Gene Siskel gave the film a "thumbs down", criticizing its violence, but he praised 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."[16]

Box office[edit]

The film debuted at No. 1 at the box office.[17][18][19][20] Demolition Man grossed $58,055,768 by the end of its box office run in North America and $159,055,768 worldwide.[2]

Home media[edit]

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.

Adaptations[edit]

Literature[edit]

A four-part limited-series comic adaptation was published by DC Comics starting in November, 1993. A novelization, written by Robert Tine, was also published in October, 1993.

Games[edit]

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.).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Goldstein, Patrick (August 1, 1993). "Hollywood's Big-Bang Theorist". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 19, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Demolition Man – Box Office Data, Movie News, Cast Information". The Numbers. Retrieved June 1, 2010. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ a b James, Caryn (October 24, 1993). "FILM VIEW; 'Demolition Man' Makes Recycling an Art — The". New York Times. Retrieved March 9, 2009. 
  5. ^ Marin, Rick (1993-11-21). "UP AND COMING: Rob Schneider; Call Him Busy. He's the Smarminator.". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-08-23. 
  6. ^ "Lori Petty biography - Yahoo TV". Tv.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2014-06-07. 
  7. ^ "The Jean-Claude Van Damme/Steven Seagal Movie That Never Will Be...‘Demolition Man'". MTV. March 3, 2008. Retrieved May 16, 2011. 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ "How Many Ultralite Concept Vehicles Were There?". GM Heritage Center. Retrieved January 8, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Nemere István: A cenzúra a fejekben van". Origo (in Hungarian). Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Demolition Man". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-06-07. 
  12. ^ "Demolition Man Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-06-07. 
  13. ^ Turan, Kenneth (October 8, 1993). "Demolition Man: Another Killer Blond". Los Angeles TImes. Retrieved September 10, 2010. 
  14. ^ Canby, Vincent (October 8, 1993). "Review/Film; Waking Up In a Future Of Muscles". The New York Times. Retrieved September 10, 2010. 
  15. ^ Schickel, Richard (October 18, 1993). "Futuristic Face-Off". Time Magazine. Retrieved September 19, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Siskel & Ebert org - Demolition Man / Fatal Instinct / Remains of the Day (1993)". Siskelandebert.org. Retrieved 2014-06-07. 
  17. ^ Fox, David J. (October 12, 1993). "Weekend Box Office Stallone, Snipes: Action at Box Office". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 27, 2010. 
  18. ^ Galbraith, Jane (October 12, 1993). "Hoping for a Box Office Blowout on 'Demolition Man'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 8, 2010. 
  19. ^ Fox, David J. (October 19, 1993). "Weekend Box Office : 'Demolition Man' Fends Off 'Hillbillies'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 30, 2010. 
  20. ^ Horn, John (October 15, 1993). "Demolition man' explodes into charts at no. 1". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 19, 2010. 

External links[edit]