Running Time: 115 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes, Sandra Bullock, Benjamin Bratt, Glenn Shadix (BEETLEJUICE, SLEEPWALKERS), Denis Leary (TRUE CRIME, RESCUE ME), Nigel Hawthorne (GANDHI, FIREFOX), Andre Gregory (MY DINNER WITH ANDRE, THE LINGUINI INCIDENT), Troy Evans (THE LAWNMOWER MAN, UNDER SIEGE, ER), Bob Gunton (THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, JFK). Bit parts by Jack Black and Jesse Ventura. Music by Elliot Goldenthal (HEAT, PUBLIC ENEMIES), cinematography by Alex Thomson (THE KEEP, LABYRINTH, EXECUTIVE DECISION), editing by Stuart Baird (director of EXECUTIVE DECISION, editor of SUPERMAN and LETHAL WEAPON), Directed by Marco Brambilla (DINOTOPIA, EXCESS BAGGAGE).
Tag-line: "In the year 2032, Simon Phoenix escapes from prison, on the verge of bringing crime to San Angeles. One man is called back to duty as a last resort. They call him... THE DEMOLITION MAN."
Best one-liner: "You're gonna regret this the rest of your life... both seconds of it!"
Picture this possibly fictitious scenario. It's Los Angeles in 1991. Sylvester Stallone broods in the flickering darkness of a movie theater screening TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY. Perhaps a single tear rolls down his cheek. Like Salieri, he knows that he can never adequately respond to this latest salvo in the Schwarzenegger/Stallone rivalry. But somewhere in the back of his mind, he thinks that if he could just have his own 'man waking up naked in a time that is not his own to fight an epically demonic foe' movie, maybe he could show the world that Stallone is not going down without a fight.
Two years later, we have DEMOLITION MAN. It does not approach the heights of T2, but what we have here is a frivolous but quotable action flick from the screenwriter of HEATHERS. (And the commentary on the futuristic "utopia," even when it reaches cornball levels, is always entertaining.)
There's a lot going on here:
Wesley Snipes is about as psychotically entertaining as a villain can be, despite the fact that his wardrobe looks culled from the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLE movie.
Does that belong to Bebop? Perhaps Rocksteady?
(Jesse Ventura even gets in on the action. In a henchman's role which apparently possesses greater depth in the novelization.)
Denis Leary as a shaggy resistance member:
Bob Gunton playing a character which can only be referred to as the 'poor man's Donald Pleasence':
Glenn Shadix (R.I.P.) with a shock of white hair, a kimono, and that patented smarmy attitude which won the hearts and minds of everyone from HEATHERS and BEETLEJUICE fans to Tennessee Williams himself (!).
Greenhorn actor Andre Gregory is afforded the enviable opportunity to share some screen-time with Wesley Snipes:
And, as far as the weirdly prescient references go in Stallone vs. Schwarzenegger movies, there are some odd ones here: "Scott Peterson" appears as a name in the criminal database years before his infamy, and there is a reference to the "Arnold Schwarzenegger Presidential Library" and the 61st Amendment which made his presidency possible. An ominous portent of things to come? (Schwarzenegger himself seeks presently to overturn the constitutional clause that would prevent foreign-born nationals from becoming president...)
I'm unsure what more you could even hope to get out of DEMOLITION MAN. Nearly four stars.