Action Movie Fanatix Review: Demolition Man

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The 21st Century’s Most Dangerous Cop
The 21st Century’s Most Ruthless Criminal
The Future Isn’t Big Enough For The Both Of Them

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes, Sandra Bullock, Nigel Hawthorne, Benjamin Bratt, Bob Gunton, Glenn Shadix, Denis Leary, Jesse Ventura, Jack Black, Rob Schneider, Adrienne Barbeau (voice), Ric Drasin

Director: Marco Brambilla

1993  |  115 Minutes  |  Rated R

“Send a maniac to catch one.” – John Spartan

The ‘90s saw a number of R Rated movies that seemed to be aimed, at least partially, at children.  Demolition Man was just such a movie.  Demolition Man had action figures.  ACTION FIGURES!  I never owned any of them but you’d better believe I wanted them.  It also had video games and trading cards and pinball machines.  All for a movie with violence, swearing and nudity.  Interesting marketing plan they had in the ‘90s.

In 1996 John Spartan (Sylvester Stallone), Los Angeles’ best cop, and Simon Phoenix (Wesley Snipes), Los Angeles worst criminal, are both frozen in a suspended animation prison.  In 2032 Phoenix escapes custody during a parole hearing giving authorities no choice but to thaw out the only man who can stop him, The Demolition Man, John Spartan.

I feel like my opening thoughts may have come across as being a bit preachy and I certainly didn’t intend for that to be the case.  Demolition Man, on the whole, was clearly created with children in mind as a part of their intended audience and, as you have probably seen in previous reviews, I tend to like childish action movies.  And I love this movie.

John “Demolition Man” Spartan is our hero.  He got his nickname by causing TONS of collateral damage while completing his usual police officer duties.  Spartan is expertly played by Sylvester Stallone.  Once in the future Spartan is a man out of time, constantly confused by things like the three sea shells which replaced toilet paper.

Wesley Snipes looks like he is having a blast as Simon Phoenix and it’s a blast to watch him beat up the inexperienced cops and steal guns from an ill-protected museum.

The humor seems to be aimed at a younger audience as well (minus the prevalent F-bombs).  It still worked on me though.  Some of it is actually clever though.  Having Taco Bell be the only remaining restaurant and the most popular radio station be all commercial jingles placed us firmly in a goofy vision of our future.

The action is super destructive (hence the name) and a lot of fun.  This is exactly what you’d expect by putting two action greats together in one film.  The grand finale death is so awesome.  It ranks right up there with some of the best bad guys deaths of all time.

I don’t know if it is fully clear at this point but I absolutely love Demolition Man.  It is just a blast from start to finish.  Demolition Man was probably one of a handful of movies that originally got me into the action movie genre.  And it is one of the best movies in the careers of both Sylvester Stallone AND Wesley Snipes.  Demolition Man is an action movie must.

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