|Directed by||Geoff Murphy|
|Based on||Immortality, Inc.
by Robert Sheckley
|Music by||Trevor Jones|
|Cinematography||Amir Mokri (uncredited)|
|Edited by||Dennis Virkler|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Box office||$17.1 million|
Freejack is a 1992 science fiction action film directed by Geoff Murphy, starring Emilio Estevez, Mick Jagger, Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins. Upon its release in the United States, the film received mostly negative reviews. The screenplay was written by Ronald Shusett and based very loosely on the 1959 novel Immortality, Inc., by Robert Sheckley. Aside from the most basic elements – the journey of a modern man into a future where everything is for sale, and the presence of a "spiritual switchboard" in which souls are suspended – the cyberpunk plot bears little resemblance in tone or content to Sheckley's story, where discovery of scientific proof of the afterlife altered society's views of the sanctity of life.
In 2009, the super-wealthy achieve immortality by hiring "bonejackers", mercenaries equipped with time travel devices, to snatch people from the past, just prior to the moment of their deaths, for use as substitute bodies. Those who escape are known as "freejacks" and are considered less than human under the law. In this dystopian future, most people suffer from poor physical health as a result of rampant drug use and environmental pollution, making them unattractive as replacement bodies.
Alex Furlong is a Formula One racer who is about to die in a spectacular 1991 crash when a time machine snatches him from the cockpit and into 21st century New York City, now a futuristic dystopia populated by scavengers and killers. When Furlong's captors are ambushed by a hit squad, Furlong escapes from Victor Vacendak, a hardened mercenary who has snatched him on behalf of the powerful McCandless Corporation. Alex's former fiancée Julie Redlund is now an executive at McCandless, handling high-stakes mineral negotiations with a rival Japanese firm.
Alex spends much time escaping the clutches of Victor, a ruthless pursuer who nevertheless lives by a code of honor, and rekindling his relationship with Julie. Ian McCandless, Julie's boss, is revealed to have died and be seeking to put his backed-up personality into Furlong's body. However, not only do Alex and Julie have to evade Vacendak's army of security guards and the McCandless Corporation Police forces, they also have to deal with running from the private guards of McCandless' corporate X.O., Mark Michellete, who is gunning for McCandless' position. Alex cannot trust his old friends from 1991, who are now eager to sell him out.
Tired of running, Furlong pretends to take Julie hostage and negotiates with Michellete to arrange a meeting, counting on Michellete's not knowing about their past relationship; however, Michellete has seen the footage of Julie's grief after Alex's 1991 accident. After she slaps him in return for his mockery, the couple flees. They are thwarted when they encounter a gunfight in the lobby between two factions, now in opposition: McCandless's security guards and Vacendak's mercenaries. Despite Julie's plan to leave the building through an "escape module" on the hundredth floor, the elevator takes them automatically to the complex at the very top of the building where McCandless' mind is in storage. In a virtual reality encounter with McCandless's essence, he explains his goal: to use Alex's body to satiate his love for Julie. Apologizing, he offers to die and let Alex run the company under the guise of being McCandless.
As they consider the offer, Vacendak arrives, and McCandless reveals he was merely stalling for time. Alex fights the process as Michellette stumbles in, wounded from fighting Vacendak's soldiers. In the confusion, Julie grabs the gun of the soldier holding her and fires off a shot that disrupts the transfer process. The results are inconclusive as to whether or not it is McCandless or Furlong in Alex's body now. The scientists cannot determine the answer, but Vacendak can, as only Vacendak knows a secret code McCandless gave him.
Alex reads the code, slowly, and Vacendak asks him to continue. Alex finishes the code quickly. Michellete tries to kill Alex but is gunned down by Vancendak's men. Alex remarks about how he feels in his "new" body, before telling Julie that she will be dressed more appropriately so that the two of them can take a drive. Hours later, after the coup is over, Julie and Alex get into one of McCandless' favorite vehicles; Alex tells the driver that he will do the driving today. Vacendak stops them as the car leaves the estate. It turns out that the transfer was not complete after all; Furlong got McCandless' secret number wrong, though Vacendak went along with it. He simply waited until Furlong made a mistake: McCandless did not know how to drive. Vacendak admonishes Julie that "you'll have to coach him better than that", then leaves while Furlong and Julie speed away.
- Emilio Estevez as Alex Furlong
- Mick Jagger as Victor Vacendak
- Rene Russo as Julie Redlund
- Anthony Hopkins as Ian McCandless
- Jonathan Banks as Mark Michelette
- Grand L. Bush as Boone
- David Johansen as Brad
- Amanda Plummer as Nun
- Wilbur Fitzgerald as Earnhart
The role of Julie Redlund was originally going to be played by Linda Fiorentino, but due to scheduling conflicts, she dropped out and Rene Russo signed on to replace her. Shooting took place in Atlanta, Georgia.
According to reports at the time of the production and interviews with some members of the cast and crew, the original version of the movie had a disastrous test screening, so producer Ronald Shusett was brought in to re-shoot around 40% of the movie and add more character scenes and humor. Emilio Estevez also mentioned how director Geoff Murphy let them down by focusing too much on action in his original cut of the film. On the contrary Geoff Murphy claims interference from production company Morgan Creek and asked for the possessory credit to be removed.
Home video releases
- "Freejack". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2015-06-14.
- Murphy, Geoff (2015). A Life on Film. Harper Collins . p. 342. ISBN 9781775540793.
- McKay, John; McKay, Bonnie; Schemmel, William (2008). Insiders' Guide to Atlanta, 8th. Globe Pequot. pp. 347–348. ISBN 9780762745524.
- Murphy, Geoff (2015). A Life on Film. Harper Collins . pp. 329–352. ISBN 9781775540793.
- "Freejack – Rotten Tomatoes". Uk.rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
- "MOVIE REVIEW : The Future Is Grungy in 'Freejack' – Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. 1992-01-20. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
- Maslin, Janet (1992-01-18). "Movie Review - Freejack - Review/Film; Scurrying Back in Time In Search of a Healthy Body". Movies.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
- Owen Gleiberman (1992-01-31). "Freejack Review | Movie Reviews and News". EW.com. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
- DENNIS HUNT (1992-05-21). "Video Rental Chart : 'Scout' Holds Onto First Place – Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
- "Freejack : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". Dvdtalk.com. 2000-08-13. Retrieved 2012-08-27.