|Directed by||Geoff Murphy|
|Based on||Immortality, Inc.|
by Robert Sheckley
|Music by||Trevor Jones|
|Edited by||Dennis Virkler|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
Freejack is a 1992 science fiction action film directed by Geoff Murphy and starring Emilio Estevez, Mick Jagger, Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins. The screenplay was written by Steven Pressfield, Ronald Shusett (who also produced) and Dan Gilroy, loosely adapted from the 1959 science fiction novel Immortality, Inc. by Robert Sheckley.
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 seeks to install his backed-up personality into Furlong's body. Besides evading Vacendak's army of mercenaries and McCandless police personnel, Alex and Julie also have to deal with fleeing from the private guards of McCandless's corporate X.O., Mark Michelette, who is gunning for McCandless's position. Alex finds he cannot trust his old friends from 1991, who are now eager to sell him out.
After an encounter wherein Furlong spares Vacendak's life, Julie rescues Furlong in one of Vacendak's vehicles. Tired of running, Furlong pretends to take Julie hostage and negotiates with Michelette to arrange a meeting, counting on Michelette's not knowing about their past relationship; however, Michelette has seen the footage of Julie's grief after Alex's 1991 accident. After she slaps Michelette 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. Julie plans to leave the building through an "escape module" on the hundredth floor, but the elevator takes them automatically to the complex at the very top of the building known as the "Spiritual Switchboard" where McCandless's 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 Michelette 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. Michelette tries to kill Alex but is gunned down by Vacendak'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's 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's 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
- Frankie Faison as Eagle Man
- John Shea as Morgan
- Esai Morales as Ripper
- Jerry Hall as Newswoman
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. Geoff Murphy claims that there was interference from production company Morgan Creek and that he asked for his possessory credit to be removed.
The film received negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has an approval rating of 18% based on reviews from 17 critics, with an average rating of 4/10. Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade B-.
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Home video releases
- ON LOCATION : Bad to the Bone : Rock's bad boy Mick Jagger hunts bodies from the past to recycle in 'Freejack'--but don't call him 'unsympathetic'. Culhane, John. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 2, 2018.
- "Freejack". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
- Murphy, Geoff (2015). A Life on Film. HarperCollins. p. 342. ISBN 9781775540793.
- McKay, John; McKay, Bonnie; Schemmel, William (2008). Insiders' Guide to Atlanta (8th ed.). Globe Pequot. pp. 347–348. ISBN 9780762745524.
- "Freejack (1992)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
- FREEJACK (1992) B- Archived December 20, 2018, at the Wayback Machine CinemaScore
- Rainer, Peter (January 20, 1992). "MOVIE REVIEW: The Future Is Grungy in 'Freejack'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
- Maslin, Janet (January 18, 1992). "Review/Film; Scurrying Back in Time In Search of a Healthy Body". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
- Gleiberman, Owen (January 31, 1992). "Freejack". Entertainment Weekly. Time. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
- Hunt, Dennis (May 21, 1992). "Video Rental Chart : 'Scout' Holds Onto First Place". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
- Gross, G. Noel (August 13, 2000). "Freejack". DVD Talk. Retrieved August 27, 2012.