Science fiction has been showing us the future for over a century. Sci-fi film is particularly good at this, from the optimistic visions in Star Trek to the rainy dystopia in Blade Runner to the post apocalyptic nightmares in 12 Monkeys. Good movies have always sought to show us glimpses of our possible future. Bad movies do this to, and this week on Bad Movies with Brad I’m going to show you a future that will make you long for the machine overlords from The Terminator, and make you pine for a future where humanity is all but extinct and cars roam a barren wasteland. Mad who now? I was talking about Cars.
Bad movies can do this too, and while I’ve glimpsed tons of horrifying futures, none compares to a vision of our future from 1993. Which not only gives us an apocalyptic version of Los Angeles in 1996 and the worst future ever in 2032. Yes after you see this movie, you’ll wait for Skynet to rise, you’ll be aching to take a job working for the Weyland Corporation on the Prometheus. I dare say you’d even sign up for four years as a replicant before you’d ever want to live in the city of San Angeles in Demolition Man
Demolishing Los Angeles
Demolition Man begins with our hero, John Spartan, LAPD Sergeant and if you haven’t guessed by now, he’s played by Sylvester Stallone.Yes kids, before he was a Best Supporting Actor nominee Stallone made only the dumbest of action movies. Just look at the titles he starred in during the 80s and 90s, Cobra, Lock Up, Over the Top, and Cliffhanger not to mention this is the period when he was making his worst Rocky and Rambo movies.
Like Stallone’s career at this point, Los Angeles 1996 (the future) is a ruined nightmare filled with crime and fire. The worst perpetrator is Simon Phoenix, the joker if he was played by an amazingly high Wesley Snipes. And if you doubt that Wesley Snipes was high for the making of this entire movie, I challenge you to listen to Patton Oswalt talk about working with him on Blade Trinity but that’s another article. Getting back to the point, Phoenix has taken a bus full of people hostage and Spartan is tasked with saving them and taking down Phoenix. After a fight with Phoenix, the building explodes. They explain this in the movie, but I also just assume this happens whenever Stallone enters a building. When they pull Spartan and Phoenix out of the rubble Phoenix blames Spartan for the death of the hostages. Phoenix had already killed the hostages of course, but the police believe him anyway and Spartan is sentenced along with Phoenix to Cryo-Prison.
I’m sure you have several questions about that sentence there. Yes, Cryo-Prison. Yes, they believe the word of a mass murdering psychopath over a cop. Don’t think about it, we’re going to the future!
Demolishing the Future
Simon Phoenix escapes from Cryo-Prison in 2032 and Spartan is defrosted to take him down. If this sounds like the plot of Austin Powers to you, there are bits of this that were directly parodied. Now everyone remembers the fascist futures presented in 1984, V for Vendetta and things like that, have you ever wondered what it would be like to have the same horrible dystopia except from the other side? Well wonder no more!
For those of you that can’t watch the video, Spartan’s new handler Lenina Huxley says that, “Alcohol, caffeine, contact sports, meat, bad language, chocolate, gasoline, uneducational toys and anything spicy” are all illegal. If you’ve ever wondered what the liberal hellscape Ted Cruz imagines in his mind looks like it’s in this movie. In case you missed it, her last name is Huxley, so they think their movie is like Brave New World.
If you ever need proof that too much of any philosophy is a bad thing, just watch Demolition Man. Just watch people walk around dressed like Samurai, using phrases like “Joy-joy feelings.” and “Enhance your calm”. Just watch them drive around listening to a radio station that’s only jingles and eating at Taco Bell, because all restaurants are Taco Bell.
And yes, I should have mentioned earlier, that is Sandra Bullock, poor, poor Sandra Bullock. She has the thankless role of spending the whole movie explaining this annoying future to Stallone in her most chipper voice. She slowly but surely convinces you what you need to do is go live underground with Dennis Leary’s mole people. Oh, yes Dennis Leary leads an underground resistance in this. And you thought the Franchise Wars was impossible. The strangest thing about all of this however is that Sandra Bullock is the only person that looks back on the 20th century with any kind of fondness, even though we’re surrounded by characters who should remember it. Bob Gunton for instance plays the Police Chief he was 48 years old when he made this movie, which means in 1996 his character would have been 12. He would have spent his childhood eating cheeseburgers, playing with unsafe toys and drinking soda so don’t tell me he’s going to call Spartan a “savage”
There is really no need to explain the plot, usually I avoid telling you too much about it so you can experience all the crazy twists and turns that the movie has to offer. However in this case I’m skipping it because other than the setting the plot is insanely predictable. Stallone hunts down Phoenix, they have a big set piece fight, you can guess what happens at the end. The setting, this crazy, crazy future makes it so worth it.
Our Bad Movie hero is not a hard pick this time around, I mean I could theoretically nominate Rob Schneider for making his least annoying performance of all time in the movie. Considering it’s at the beginning of his career, that’s not really a good thing. No one really comes out of this well. Stallone gets pigeonholed as a dumb action hero for the better part of the next decade, Wesley Snipes makes Blade and goes crazy, the director has made one more movie to date, the writer three. There is only one person who showed up on set at Demolition Man, did their best and came away unscathed. And she’s the one who had to put on a VR sex helmet and pretend to do it with Sylvester Stallone.
Next time anyone says in your presence that Sandra Bullock didn’t deserve an Oscar Nomination, keep that scene in mind. She earned it. In fact, for that we should give her a whole truckload of Oscars as an apology.
Demolition Man is a riot, go buy it in satisfaction that Sandra Bullock gets a free coffee now and then for having to endure this. Also keep in mind that while we must always be watchful for Big Brother and tyrannical dictators, we should also keep an eye out for anyone looking to make us use three sea shells instead of toilet paper. No, I am not making that up. And no, I have no clue why no one in this stupid future has ever heard of a bidet.
Also if you want more Demolition Man fun check out the How Did This Get Made? Episode on the subject. They have theory which I totally believe, and they deserve credit for:
Check it out
And I think there’s no more I can say about Demolition Man that can’t be explained better by the musical talent of Sting. And yes, this is from the actual movie.