Demolition Man (1993)
Article 5791 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Marco Brambilla
Featuring Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes, Sandra Bullock
What it is: Futuristic action thriller
In an overprotective non-violent future, a criminal from the 20th century is thawed out, escape from prison, and goes on a rampage. Unable to cope with him, the police of this era unfreeze a disgraced cop (also from the 20th century) in the hopes he will have the skills to defeat the criminal.
For some reason, this movie felt to me like something of bizarre cross between ROBOCOP, a Batman movie, and SLEEPER, and though on the surface that feels like it should be an odd place to be, in reality it still feels a little too familiar. Nevertheless, this appears to be one of Stallone’s better non-Rocky/Rambo films. At least part of the reason is that the setting allows the movie to have a certain degree of satirical edge, and there are some striking moments when that comes through. Unfortunately, I find myself rather disappointed by other aspects of the movie. I’ve read some reviews praising Wesley Snipes for his lighthearted take on the villain, but to my mind he comes across as a diluted variant on the Joker. Some of the other satirical moments come across as easy and obvious. Still, for me the main problem was that the movie, for all of its other touches, plays by the action thriller playbook, which means that much of the movie consists of loud explosions, lots of stuff breaking, non-stop gun-play, ironic comic one-liners, etc. I know some people love this kind of stuff, and this movie is for them; for me, the movie’s final third is tiresome.