What The Film!? – Demolition Man

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What The Film?! is a new weekly column exclusive to Under The Gun Review that brings to light the plot holes Hollywood hoped you’d never notice. Written by comedy writer Dane Sager, this column shows no mercy to films that try and pull the proverbial wool over our eyes.

If you know a film with major plot holes that you feel needs to be exposed, tell us! Email utgjames@gmail.com with the subject “What The Film” and we’ll try to get your suggestion featured on the site.

This Week’s Movie: 1993’s Demolition Man
Demolition Man is the movie you get when you ask a fifteen year old boy to read Phillip K Dick, Aldous Huxley, and George Orwell, and then tell them to write an action movie loosely based on those properties. The recent high school sophomore would then spend the entire night doing a mixture of Cocaine and Adderall (which is known as an “Andy Dick” in the industry) and coming up with many hard-hitting questions to ask the studio about what he could do with his script. Can I put boobs in it? (Maybe) Can I reference Taco Bell multiple times for no reason? (Yes) Can we put the fat guy from 1988’s BeetleJuice in it?

“Yes, this movie absolutely needs Glenn Shadix”

Demolition Man takes place in 2032 in the super city of “San Angeles”, a combination of Los Angeles and San Diego into one massive city. If this sounds familiar, it’s because 1982’s Blade Runner, 1994’s Double Dragon, 2007’s Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive, and even Sylvester Stallone’s own 1995 movie Judge Dredd took place in San Angeles. It’s a surprisingly common name for a common concept that reoccurs in different forms of science fiction.

No, not San Andreas, but that was an awesome game.

Wesley Snipes plays Phoenix, the bastard child of The Joker and Dennis Rodman. A homicidal maniac who mass murders people for funzies. An interesting character trait given to Phoenix is that his eyes are different colors, which is rendered useless when his eye colors seem to switch back and forth in multiple scenes. While in a massive hostage situation gone awry, Stallone’s character John Spartan, ends up arresting Phoenix, who tells the police that John was in on it and he specifically killed all the hostages. They’re both put in future jail where they’re cryogenically frozen because that’s cheaper than reforming them, I guess. This plot line is already making sense.
We then cut to 2032 where Phoenix is unfrozen and promptly goes on a murderous rampage in a strange future where no one is allowed to swear, eat fatty foods, or have any sort of fun. The police force in this not-sure-if-utopian-or-dystopian society are unprepared to deal with a criminal with these sorts of actions and are forced to call in the only person who can help them: SuperNanny. Unfortunately Jo Frost was busy so they decided to unfreeze John Spartan to hunt down Phoenix.

This is his disappointment at not being the first picked.

That’s not a bad set up for a 1990’s movie (we were more forgiving then), it’s just that the future is just really really stupid. In one scene Phoenix and Spartan get into a huge gun fight at a museum (the only place where guns still exist). Why the future decided to keep the guns in working order and with a ridiculously high amount of ammo is insane. They should have at the very least removed the firing pins or kept them unloaded.
It’s later revealed that the leader of San Angeles is the one who woke up Phoenix and brain washed him in his frozen slumber to hunt down and murder the head of a group of rebels that make their utopian/dystopian society seem less than perfect. Not “wake up the awesome cop to stop the resistance”, not “have crazy psychopath stop the resistance”, just have Phoenix kill the one guy. It’s not like one martyr ever caused a small rebellion to blow up into something much more powerful. Dr. Cocteau, the head of San Angeles even puts some weird brain manipulation to make sure that Phoenix can’t kill him, but doesn’t do this for any of the criminal friends he unfreezes because Phoenix told him he needed back up.

Yes. That looks like a natural and comfortable way to fire a gun.

Dr. Cocteau is killed then immediately by the other criminals he released because he doesn’t understand what variables are or how to plan things. There isn’t a scene like in 1989’s The Abyss when Coffey has a moment of clarity before he dies, realizing he was the villain all along. Dr. Cocteau dies under the impression that his plan that made no sense at all was still a great plan. It didn’t fail because he came up with a dumb plan that was clearly overly complicated and had way too many variables to screw up. No, he died thinking his plan was screwed over by outside forces.
The movie ends with Spartan finally killing Phoenix, his nemesis for over half of a century, in the prison they were frozen in earlier in the movie. Phoenix’s death also destroys the prison in the process, killing every convict who is still frozen inside it. It seems that almost every single character in this movie decides to execute their ideas with the most violent, destructive, and cruel ways they can. Not a single person knows what consequences are. If a cop broke into a prison and killed everyone in it because one guy in it was also an evil terrorists, then that cop has also become a terrorist. Does anyone even know who the protagonist in is this movie?

Not this guy.

Dane is completely unaware that the 2011-2012 NHL season is still going. When the Red Wings aren’t a part of it, the season is over. You can follow him on Tumblr and Twitter!

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  • The lamentable Stallone version of Judge Dredd was set in Mega City One – a fictional megalopolis on the Eastern seaboard of North America. The clue to its location for people who don’t read the comic is in the movie itself, where a map displaying the locations of the three US Mega Cities (One, Two and Texas City) and the Aspen Penal Colony.