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Laramie Movie Scope:
Demolition Man

A comeback for Stallone

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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October 12, 1993 -- Don't look now, but Sly Stallone is back in a big way. That crazy ``yo'' guy who came out of nowhere to win an academy award with his ``Rocky'' film, which he wrote and starred in seems to be back on top after being on the back burner for a while.

After three very successful ``Rambo'' films, Stallone did a funny, but under appreciated film called ``Oscar.'' He seemed to have faded out for a time, supplanted by that popular guy with the Austrian accent.

Then he went back to doing what he does best, action films. ``Cliffhanger'' did very well for Stallone at the same time as Arnold Schwarzenegger's ``Last Action Hero'' was bombing at the box office.

Now Stallone has what appears to be another hit in ``Demolition Man,'' a futuristic sci-fi thriller that reminds one of ``Robocop,'' or ``Back to the Future.'' Like ``Robocop,'' ``Demolition Man'' is a successful marriage of humor and action.

Set in the year 2032, the film takes innumerable shots at life in the 1990s and in the future. Stallone plays a 20th Century cop who is convicted of a crime he didn't commit and is sentenced to be placed in cryostasis (frozen rehabilitation) for a number of years. When he awakes in the future he finds his arch-enemy, played by Wesley Snipes (``Passenger 57'') has escaped from cryostasis and is causing havoc in what is then known as ``San Angeles.''

The California of the future turns out to be even weirder than it is today. The San Angeles of the future has been taken over by a sort of crazed politically-correct psychiatrist, who has outlawed everything that he considers bad for people.

There's no smoking, no drinking, no meat, no cussing, no sex, no violence and no crime to speak of. It is a utopia where people aren't allowed to have fun. The film pokes fun at future society as well as the 20th century. For instance the most popular music of the era is the ``oldies'' music of 20th century television commercials. It is truly bizarre to see two futuristic police officers riding in their squad car singing the ``Oscar Meyer Wiener Song,'' for instance, and every restaurant in the future is a Taco Bell.

Although there is a lot of comedy in the movie there is also plenty of violence. The body count is high, but the violence isn't terribly graphic, as it was in ``Robocop.'' There is no sex in the film, but the language is pretty graphic (and that's also played for laughs).

Stallone does a pretty good job in his role as an old-fashioned cop. The real star of the film, however, is Snipes, who turns in a very entertaining performance as a wacky bad guy. Snipes, although playing an evil character, seems to be having a great deal of fun outwitting the police. His character is reminiscent of the Joker in ``Batman.''

A great villain goes a long way toward making an action movie successful and Snipes certainly does more than his share to make this an enjoyable film. The action sequences are effective and there are enough special effects to keep things interesting. On the down side, the film moves a little slowly in spots and the romance between Stallone and fellow cop Sandra Bullock doesn't really work.

On the whole, the film rates a ``B.''

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)