Stars: 3 of 5.
Running Time: 110 minutes.
Tag-line: "Alex Furlong died today. Eighteen years from now, he'll be running for his life."
Notable Cast or Crew: From the director (Geoff Murphy) of UNDER SIEGE 2, YOUNG GUNS 2, FORTRESS 2, and DAGG DAY AFTERNOON. Wait- WHAT?! Starring Emilio Estevez, Anthony Hopkins, Rene Russo, Mick Jagger, Amanda Plummer, Grand L. Bush (WEDLOCK, DIE HARD, LETHAL WEAPON 2), Frankie Faison (MANHUNTER, MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE, EXTERMINATOR 2), Jonathan Banks (PIN, GREMLINS). Music by Trevor Jones (RUNAWAY TRAIN, LABYRINTH, MISSISSIPPI BURNING).
Best one-liner: "Well, first you gotta cut off the head and the tail, and then you gut it. Then it's all a matter of the sauce. You don't just plop down a rodent on a plate and say here's your river rat would you like red wine or white with 'em. Not that there's any wine around here anyway."
Side note: I really like how Anthony Hopkins has been airbrushed into oblivion on the one-sheet.
FREEJACK. What the hell is a FREEJACK? Why would you call a movie FREEJACK? And yet somehow it still tells you everything you need to know, thus, in an odd twist, making it the perfect title. FREEJACK speaks to me. It says "I am a mediocre Sci-Fi movie with a big budget, but not nearly as big as I wanted." What we've got here is a part futuristic cautionary tale, part paranoid action thriller, and part TOTAL RECALL rip-off. It's Philip K. Dick, lite. More like "Philip K. Dildo," if you will.
The plot is as follows: in 1991, while competing in some sort of NASCAR-y race, Emilio Estevez dies in a spectacular track explosion. Seconds before his fiery death, he is teleported eighteen years into the future to serve as a replacement body for ailing business magnate Anthony Hopkins. The world of 2009 is so foul, drug-addled, and polluted that there are no suitable human bodies for switching in the ('09) present, hence the need to pluck people from the past (right before their impending demises). There's little moral debate in 2009 regarding the Freejackers cause, hey, they were about to die anyway, and now they get to live on as the husk for Anthony Hopkins' consciousness, so stop complaining, Estevez, and let's get on with it.
Everything is going smoothly until Estevez escapes and leads futuristic law enforcement on a wet n' wild goose chase which involves plenty of car crashes and one-liners to go around.
Cars of the future look a lot like the cars of 1991 but with really garish paint jobs.
Oh, and did I mention that if this was TOTAL RECALL, the Ironside character has been replaced with...
Mick Jagger?! Jagger wanders about in Sci-Fi leather riot gear and acts like a total badass, by which I mean he looks extremely silly and tries to maintain his dignity while Estevez shouts one-liners at him.
Dignity: partially maintained.
His character's name is Vacendak, and I can't help but feel that he was given this name only so that Estevez could at one point jeeringly holler "Vacen-DICK!" at him. Like, what is this, a BILL AND TED film?
Correction- if this were a BILL AND TED film, there would be a forthcoming barb regarding "sitting on it and spinning."
Jagger does get a few great moments- he gets to smash some dillbomb's Fabergé egg , and, at one point, given the great mutual respect fostered by the Estevez/Jagger interactions, gives Estevez a five-minute head start. Jagger covers his eyes, and begins to count- "One, Mississippi...two, mississippi..." Bravo. You're no Ironside, but...Bravo.
There's all sorts of mind-boggling plot holes, but I suppose that's part of the charm– #1. Teleportations in this movie are described as only able to manipulate time, not space. Estevez is yanked from the 1991 race track and arrives in 2009 New York City. So there was an enormous racing arena in '91 NYC? Where was that, exactly? The Upper East Side? Tribeca? Maybe Greenwich Village? #2. Estevez's girlfriend in '91 is Rene Russo.
Russo looks great, but she happens to be pushing forty. When they show her in '2009,' she hasn't aged a day, despite having lived out the last eighteen years (unlike Estevez's character, who instantly teleported). Now going from your late 30's to your late 50's is kiiiiind of a transition, and had they addressed this, it certainly would have made the love story more compelling, or, at the very least, weirder- either of which are okay in my book.
The aesthetic is sort of a skid row Cyberpunk, influenced heavily by ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK. There's even a scene where Estevez gets picked up by a whacky old-timey cab. Ernest Borgnine is not at the wheel, but you get the picture.
Amanda Plummer shows up for a minute as a shotgun-toting nun, Frankie Faison's a homeless river rat connoisseur, and Jonathan Banks gets in a nice turn as a corporate douche. Anyway, all of this leads up to a showdown with Anthony Hopkins' consciousness that culminates in a sequence I am forced to describe as 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY by-way-of THE LAWNMOWER MAN. Anthony Hopkins bellows, "Welcome to MY MINNNNND!"
and we're entreated to a breathtaking visual representation of consciousness transference. In my opinion, FREEJACK goes much further in realistically depicting the state of neuro-cognizant subconscious persona transplantation than, say, the "Money for Nothing" music video:
Ultimately, the payoffs are surprisingly satisfying, and there's some awesome closing credits music called "Hit Between the Eyes" by The Scorpions, which features lyrics like, "I'm readddddy....for a HIT BETWEEN THE EYEEEEES!!!" Three stars.