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Demolition Man – The Film That Saw The Future
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Demolition Man – The Film That Saw The Future

Demolition Man was released in 1993, featuring the star-studded cast of Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes, and Sandra Bullock. The story, set in 1996 and 2032, revolves around police officer John Spartan, (Stallone,) engaged in a heated conflict against a sadistic crime lord Simon Phoenix, (Snipes.) After a battle between the two reaches a boiling point in 1996, Spartan unintentionally causes the deaths of multiple civilians. He and Phoenix are put into cryogenic stasis as punishment.

Phoenix is released from cryogenic sleep decades later in 2032, for initially unknown reasons. But it quickly becomes apparent that society has changed dramatically since 1996. It turns out that a murder has not been committed in 16 years, anything not good for you has been banned, including meat, salt, and sex, and the police force is now made up of people who have never encountered violence. This leaves the future drastically unprepared to deal with Phoenix, who sets off on a murder spree.

Of course; Spartan is now needed by the inadequate future police to deal with Phoenix, and so the cop from the past is also unfrozen.

A Satire Of Modern Society

At release in 1993, the hapless, overly soft nature of pretend 2032 society was played for laughs. Virtually every minute of the film is punctuated by a gag, emphasising how laughable the world would be if it ever really landed up like this.

Spartan acts as the straight man, reacting to how restrictive things have become, and playing the fish out of water. He tries to fit in while still being an effective force against Phoenix. But given the restrictions, it is all but impossible for him to do his job without treading on toes.

Yes, if you’re not putting it all together, the 1993 film Demolition Man somehow seems as if it predicted the surge of PC culture in 2019. The similarities are uncanny, with some moments almost seeming to be directly addressing social media, internet white knights, and social justice warriors. But lest we forget; you could not play bingo online in 1993 when the film was made, never mind create a Twitter account.

More Relevant As Years Go On

A key point of the film is that the fictional society of 2032 isn’t just ‘peaceful,’ they are also extremely intolerant of anyone who reflects their ideas of forced perfection via conformity. A resistance group hides out in the sewers, representing a part of society that is not willing to conform. To go back to an earlier plot point; it turns out that Phoenix had been unfrozen in order to murder the resistance leader; Edgar Friendly, (Denis Leary.)

Edgar Friendly gives a key monologue; he prefers freedom of choice over conforming to a compulsory set of rules.

The film dialled up an ultra-restrictive society to 11 for satirical impact. Though, should our increasingly PC society ever really get what they demand, the result would not be so far off from what is being made fun of in Demolition Man.