Tuesday, January 17, 2012

ACTION MOVIE GOLD: DEMOLITION MAN


It's time for our next installment of ACTION MOVIE GOLD: Demolition Man. O HELLZ YEA. While Demolition Man, unlike Timecop, is legit awesome, as opposed to ironically so-bad-it's-hilarious awesome, I must confess that when it comes to Stallone movies, rational judgment eludes me. As a shorter than 5'9" Italian American from Philadelphia who has been romantically involved with Brigitte Nielsen, I have a lot in common with Sylvester. In fact, I have never met a Stallone movie I didn't like. Rocky V* was awesome. Lockdown** was awesome. Over the Top*** was life-changingly spectacular. And Demolition Man is no exception.

*Objectively among the worst sports films ever made.
**Stallone is in jail! He has to break out! Why? Who cares!
***Perhaps the worst film of all time. We will definitely cover it here at some point.

Anyway, let's break down the above trailer, checklist style, shall we?

- Does it open with some unexplained Stallone beefcake? CHECK.
- Does it tell us right away that he was wrongly convicted of something? CHECK.
- Is that a naked Wesley Snipes with a haircut Dennis Rodman would later steal? CHECK.
- Does it tell us that he is a psychopathic killer? CHECK.
- Does he immediately start fucking shit up despite the fact that his cryo-sentence was "Eternity"? CHECK.
- Is that Sandra Bullock, queen of the 90s? CHECK.
- IS THAT ROB SCHNEIDER?! *sigh* Yes. Yes it is. CHECK.
- Does this trailer feature Stallone jumping out of a helicopter while firing a gun? CHECK.
- Does Stallone wear a beret for an inordinate amount of time in this trailer? CHECK.
- Does the title emerge from an explosion: FUCK YES.

Annnnd we are ready to go. Let's hit it.

Demolition Man, which was made in 1993, begins in the violent, overrun hellhole that is... 1996 Los Angeles. Yes, they set the movie a whole three years in advance. In typical action movie set in the future fashion, they never go far enough into the future. We begin with our hero John Spartan, played by the very jacked, very bereted Sly Stallone, hunting down our villain Simon Phoenix, portrayed by Wesley Snipes in his finest role outside of Too Wong Foo. Spartan tracks Phoenix down to his compound/factory in one of the worst parts of L.A., and lots of powerful, profound dialogue ensues. This eventually leads to a fight and, because the building was full of C4 and gasoline, a giant explosion. Not surprisingly, neither of our protagonists are harmed, but because there were supposedly a bunch of hostages in the building, Spartan is in trouble for blowing it up and apparently killing them all. You know what means - cryogenic freezing as punishment!

"This is my serious actor face. Also, teddy bear."
Flash forward to August 2032, and the peaceful paradise that is San Angeles. Despite the fact that he was sentenced to eternity in a block of ice, Simon Phoenix has a parole hearing to determine whether or not he has been rehabilitated. He has not, but that doesn't stop him from escaping, because it would appear someone has subconsciously programmed him with lots of knowledge of the current time, including the password to the mechanical restraints. (It's "teddy bear", in case you ever find yourself in such a situation.) A killing spree ensues, and because the police are ill equipped to handle such a thing - there hasn't been a murder in San Angeles since September of 2010 - it's time to defrost Spartan.

Spartan is thawed out and informed of the current situation by an always perky Sandra Bullock, a nerdy Benjamin Bratt and the warden from Shawshank whose name I don't feel like looking up. Also, Rob Schieder is there. The 90s were a weird time. Moving on. Stallone is distressed to find out that cursing is illegal, alcohol is illegal, smoking is illegal and toilet paper no longer exists. There are simply 3 seashells one is expected to use. Gross! Also, Simon Phoenix has killed 11 people already and it isn't even lunch time.

Because guns now only exist in museums, that is where we are sent to find Phoenix. He makes his way to the Hall of Violence and, after attempting unsuccessfully to break the protective glass on the gun exhibit, he throws another museum patron through the glass to access the firearms. (It should be noted that, upon seeing Phoenix trying to break the glass by kicking it, the other man asks him "What's your boggle?" before getting hurled through the glass. What a film.) Spartan arrives. They throw down. Phoenix escapes. The movie progresses.

Important side note: Phoenix was programmed and allowed to escape by Dr. Cocteau - who has a fat male geisha as an assistant - so he could kill underground hooligan Edgar Friendly, played by Denis Leary. Friendly's many crimes include graffiti and stealing food. So Cocteau - who is the man that essentially created the pacifist utopia that is San Angeles - releases the most dangerous criminal of all time to kill him. Brilliant move, Doc.

So anyway, as he is escaping, Phoenix tries to kill the Doc but his programming wont let him. Then Spartan chases him away. To thank him for "saving his life", Cocteau offers to take Spartan and Bullock - whose character is named Lenina Huxley in a too-clever-for-this-kind-of-movie shout out to Brave New World - to Taco Bell, which apparently is what every restaurant is called now. On the drive there Huxley explains that Arnold Schwarzenegger was president at some point thanks to the 61st amendment allowing foreigners to run for the office. This is hilarious on a number of levels, as Arnold had just released Last Action Hero in 1993, which is a fucking terrible film. Also, 61st amendment? There are currently 27 amendments, the last of which came in 1993. There have been 7 since 1933, one of which repealed prohibition. There were really 34 new amendments in 40 years? I don't think so! This film is unrealistic!

"I wanna have sex! And drink beer! And root for the SAWX!"
Anyway, Friendly and his minions attack a food truck outside of Taco Bell because they're hungry. Spartan empathizes while also fighting them off. When she and Spartan get back to her place, she explains that violence gets her all wet and asks Spartan if he wants to have sex. This involves helmets and mental imagery, much to Spartan's chagrin. Huxley explains that no one has real sex anymore, which Spartan refers to as "Boning, the wild mamba, and the hunka chunka." He then explains that it leads to "kids, smoking and raiding the fridge." I don't know where the writers came up with hunka chunka, but I'll be referring to sex as that exclusively for the rest of my days on Earth. Huxley is disgusted by this and kicks him out. He goes to his own apartment and watches security film from outside the museum, which reveals that Cocteau and Phoenix are in cahoots. Time to hit the sewers to team up with Denis Leary, who is essentially playing a bearded, filthy, sassy Che Guevara with a Boston accent.

Upon entering the sewers, which are filled entirely with Mexicans - so THAT's how you clean up southern California! You just put all the Mexicans underground! Ron Paul would approve - Spartan smells burgers. He gets a burger and a beer and, upon finding out that it is a rat burger, he keeps eating it. The man is a hero. As Spartan is talking to Boston Che, Phoenix and his band of recently unfrozen criminals - one of whom is played by Jesse Ventura! - attack. Despite all having machine guns and higher ground, they don't manage to kill anyone.

The fight eventually makes it's way outside and back to the cryolab. Also, at some point, Jesse Ventura kills Dr. Cocteau, because he apparently forgot to program all the other criminals he released NOT to kill him. Idiot. Whatever. Back to the violence.

Back at the cryolab Phoenix and Spartan duke it out. A laser minigun is involved, and in the process, everything gets wet with the freezing agent, which may or may not be water. Phoenix gets wet. Spartan grabs onto something high up and uses a magic freezing wand to freeze everything, including Phoenix. Spartan then uses his high perch to kick of Phoenix's head. Boom! Roasted.
Finish him!
Shortly after Spartan decapitates Phoenix the whole place explodes, because that's what happens in action movies. Spartan escapes unscathed. Then he makes out with Huxley and whisks her away to go do the hunka chunka. Boston Che takes over the city with the help of the fat geisha. Or something like that. Everyone lives happily ever after. Sting plays during the credits, which was apparently an original song written for the movie. Here it is. It is absolutely worth 270 seconds of your time.

A fitting end to a fantastic film. But they never did explain the seashells.

3 comments:

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  2. This movie makes me laugh, cry and hard... all at once!

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    1. Are you sure that isn't due entirely to the winning combo of Nigel Hawthorne and Rob Schneider?

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