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The Prediction of Demolition Man

By Shantanu Kuveskar – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

From our Swindon Correspondent:

(this may contain spoilers, so go and find the movie and watch it if you haven’t already.

Demolition Man is a 1993 Dystopian sci-fi movie starring Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes. Stallone plays a cop who is something of a loose cannon, while Snipes plays a criminal. For reasons that are mostly handwaved, not only is the criminal cryogentically frozen, but also the cop. And both are re-animated in 2032 San Angeles (which is some sort of mega city combining San Diego and Los Angeles).

It wasn’t a film that set the world alight on release, but it did reasonable business. Critics were quite cool on it generally.

What’s fascinating to me is how, unlike most dystopian movies, it got a lot right. OK, the 61st Amendment hasn’t been passed allowing Arnold Schwarzenegger to be president and every restaurant isn’t Taco Bell, but there’s a quote by the anarchist Edgar Friendly (played superbly by Denis Leary) that seems prophetic in hindsight:-
You got that right. You see, according to Cocteau’s plan… I’m the enemy. Because I like to think, I like to read. I’m into freedom of speech, the freedom of choice. I’m the kind of guy who likes to sit in a greasy spoon and wonder – “Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of BBQ ribs with the side order of gravy fries?” I want high cholesterol. I wanna eat bacon and butter and BUCKETS of cheese, okay? I wanna smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in the non-smoking section. I wanna run through the streets naked with green Jell-O all over my body reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly might feel the need to, okay, pal? I’ve SEEN the future. Do you know what it is? It’s a 47-year-old virgin sitting around in his beige pajamas, drinking a banana-broccoli shake, singing “I’m an Oscar Mayer Wiener.” You live up top, you live Cocteau’s way: what he wants, when he wants, how he wants. Your other choice: come down here… and maybe starve to death.
Look at the UK now. Smoking banned pretty much everywhere. The government trying to control calories, anti-objectification, free speech under threat on campuses around the world as well as homes. And there’s lots of young men out there not having sex.

Sure, it’s pushed to excess in the films, but most dystopian films get things badly wrong. Nuclear war didn’t happen. There weren’t food shortages like in Soylent Green. And maybe no-one talked about it at the time because this wasn’t the anticipated dystopia.

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Mr Womby
Mr Womby
6 months ago

In the version of the film shown in Europe it was Pizza Hut that had “won the franchise wars” because Taco Bell wasn’t well known outside North America.

6 months ago
Reply to  Mr Womby

No, surely because Pizza Hut paid them. (Or because Taco Bell didn’t pay them, which may indeed be if Taco Bell is not competing outside North America. The producers don’t give free product placements!)

6 months ago

(Can’t beat the formatting.)

Alex deWynter
Alex deWynter
6 months ago

My favorite line in that film — Do you see any COWS down here?

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