Review: Demolition Man

July 31, 2012

Y’know, any time you get Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes together, someone’s going to bring up Demolition Man. And then some nerdy GTA fanboy (Yo.) will bring up how Demolition Man was also the name of the mission in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City where you had to use the toy helicopter to blow up the building.

Unfortunately, the movie Demolition Man has nothing to do with blowing up buildings. Wait, no, that’s a lie. At the start of the movie, Officer John Spartan of the LAPD goes into a building to rescue hostages from a crimelord named Simon Phoenix, and then Phoenix sets off his explosives and brings the building down, with the hostages still inside. Interesting side note; the name of the movie comes from the nickname of Stallone’s character, the demolition man, because it seems like any time he goes in to a situation, something winds up exploding. Which forces me to ask, why would they send in someone notorious for being a walking explosion to rescue hostages?

This is never answered, instead sentencing both Phoenix and Spartan (highly suggestive names, by the way) to lengthy stretches in CryoPrison. Phoenix escapes during his parole hearing in 2032, having been programmed with new knowledge while frozen. He quickly sets out on a crime spree, because what else would a criminal from almost forty years in the past do after escaping?

Southern California has become a very different place from the late 20th century, what with the merger of Los Angeles and San Diego into San Angeles and the fact that everyone happy all the time and not allowed to eat junk food or swear – you know what, I think I’d probably join Denis Leary’s character in his quest for Taco Bell.

The SAPD decide that their only choice is to get the only man who was able to catch Phoenix – John Spartan. The movie proceeds more or less like you’d expect, Spartan and Phoenix fight it out, there’s a chase, Phoenix releases a ton of cryoprisoners, the prison blows up, killing Phoenix, and Spartan gets the girl.

It’s not a bad movie. In fact, it’s probably one of the better Sci-Fi/Action movies I’ve seen. But there are still a few problems. For one, the plot is mostly spent by about forty-five minutes in with an hour left to go. That, and sometimes…well, through pretty much the entire movie, Wesley Snipes is insane. He’s playing a hijacker from ’96 like the Joker. He giggles. I’ve never seen Wesley Snipes giggle in any of the one other movies I’ve seen him in. But they’re both relatively minor complaints, and it still makes Demolition Man a pretty good popcorn movie.


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