Demolition Man (1991) Marco Brambilla.
Watching Demolition Man today feels a tad dated, but it is a fun escapist movie that is packed with predictive programming mostly in the form of gadgetry. The film takes place in 2032 in a future that is devoid of crime which has been programmed out of society as well as all individualistic tendencies.
Demolition Man covers a lot of territory and is simultaneously an action film and a better than average comedy. Wesley Snipes plays the serial killing madman from the past, brought out of cryogenic stasis to wreak havoc on a society that can hardly fathom what violence is. He could be equated to a Manchurian Candidate, who has been programmed during his hibernation to exact total destruction for the same corporate creep who designed and created the controlled society.
The only hope is a population of people who live underground who will die for their rights to think for themselves and be their own people. If they don’t starve to death first, they also have the freedom to eat something other than Taco Bell, which is all that is available on street level.
There are so many parallels to what we are experiencing today reflected in this movie. The limited vocabulary brought about by Orwellian-style Newspeak, non-physical interaction, glorification of violence and an overarching depiction of men as feminized improvements over the ‘toxic masculinity’ of the past—or our present.
There is also some noteworthy symbolism including a graphic All-Seeing-Eye and a spiral symbolic of pedophilia which is designed into a device that spits out tickets every time a language violation is made. The spiral, of course, may or may not be actually communicating information about this Hollywood specialty, but the fact that it is there remains.
Finally, my favorite bit of Covid-19 panic buying predictive programming, coincidental or not, is a line delivered by Sylvester Stallone to Sandra Bullock, “You’re out of toilet paper.”
This review first appeared in the print version of Victims of Cinema. The first 50 reviews can be obtained HERE.