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Man Movie Encyclopedia: Demolition Man

May 8, 2020 | Posted by Caliber Winfield
Demolition Man

Greetings, all. I hope you’re all doing well.

The other day I read that Demolition Man 2 got the green-light, and when I went to find my article on the original, nothing came up. How on Earth I never covered this before now is beyond me, but now I’m fixing such a grevious error. Enjoy ya’ll!


We open up in LA, 1996, where the Hollywood sign is literally in flames. This part of the city is controlled by a man named Simon Phoenix. Cops, ambulances, nobody comes here. Apparently a bus driver disobyed, and the entire bus and it’s occupants were held hostage. Well, this naturally brings John Spartan, the baddest-ass cop that’s ever bad-assed. He drops in, literally via a rope from a helicopter, and aprehends Phoenix after a tussle. But before he loses the fight, Simon sees to it that the whole building goes down with a massive explosion. Afterwards, Spartan’s CO is all “I’m tired of this Demolition Man shit!”. OK, how many buildings has this guy caused to collapse, inadvertently or not? After the 3rd or 4th time, I’d imagine he’d be paying out the ass for insurance. The best part is when he’s all “ay, this wasn’t my fault, Phoenix dumped all the gas and explosives” and a cop goes “yeah, sure”, because apparently he believes John Spartan to be the King of Pockets or something, because how the fuck is one person gonna carry enough material to blow up a building that’s 2 blocks long? Is he going on missions with his arms full, like when you’re trying to bring the groceries in all at once?
Well, as it turns out, the hostages were in fact in the building, and Spartan is being put in a cryo-freeze prison, because Phoenix killed them. What? So, because Phoenix kidnapped them, and Phoenix killed them, Spartan goes to jail? Well alrighty. They put him in, and for some reason he doesn’t take this opportunity to put himself in a very graphic pose, so that for the duration of his sentence, everyone would have to see his gooch. That’s what I would have done. And I gotta say, this movie did a pretty decent job predicting some future tech, such as Alexa, iPads, and self-driving cars.


We meet a Lt on the police force named Lenina, who’s all about the 90s. So, they also predicted how people would be in the future. She wants action in her life, because in this world, the liberals won. You aren’t allowed to swear, and everyone is a dandy. Hell, they even have portable Safe Spaces where you can go to get some confidence when you take a Me Day from work. Well, she’s about to get her wish, as during a parole hearing, Phoenix breaks out, steals a car and heads to an information booth where he picks up said information on a man named Edgar Friendly, as he’s suppose to kill him. Cops arrive on the scene, and since everyone is so peaceful, they all get their asses kicked.


He disappears, and they unthaw Spartan, who promptly shows how awesome he is by swearing a bunch so he can get enough citation papers to wipe his ass with. Literally. Also, man, just once I want to be the guy who has to solve something. Like there’s something going down, and I’m the ONLY man who can do it. I don’t care if it’s “Hey, there’s been a rash of rogue glory hole murders on the blower’s side, and there’s only ONE man with the knowledge of blowing homeless men at gloryholes that can solve this, get me Caliber Winfield!”. I’d still be stoked.
Spartan deduces that Phoenix is going to first go for a gun, as they don’t exist for the most part in this world, and are kept in a muesum. Spartan shows up and they have a good ol’ fashion shoot out and brawl, and we see Phoenix getting ahold of what I assume is a Rail Gun, which is essentially a gun that shoots energy. Phoenix is able to escape, and he runs into a fellow named Dr Raymond Cocteau. He’s a bit of a guru, and responsible for the way society is these days. We discover here that he’s the one behind Phoenix’s break out, and mission to kill Friendly. Spartan runs up, as he continues to give chase, but Phoenix is able to get away, and Cocteau played like he was in danger, and thanks Spartan for saving his life by inviting him to dinner at Taco Bell, which is the only resturant left in the country, and it some super fancy shit. As it should be, dammit.
At dinner however, they’re ambushed by a bunch of underground dwelers, lead by Edgar Friendly. They attack a food truck, looking for food, while Spartan takes out a few, thinking they’re bad guys. Meanwhile, back at Cocteau’s, Phoenix shows up and says if he’s gonna do this job for him, he’s gonna need a few other guys to help.
After the whole ordeal, Spartan and Lenina head back to her house, where she asks John if he wants to hop on the good foot and do the bad thing. He’s down, obviously, but in this era, sex is virtual. As typical sex is against the law. However, he ends up going back to his place to knit a sweater. Part of the rehab is getting knowledge implanted, and learning how to knit was what he got. He also figured out that Cocteau is behind this, and loaded Phoenix with a ton of info, like martial arts, weapons, all the good stuff.

John, Lenina, and a 3rd cop named Garcia head to the underground, where the outcasts live. It’s dirty, and resources are very liminited, however, you can live as you please. John sets right in by having a beer and a rat burger. He finds Friendly, and they discover that they have a lot in common, and that neither are the enemy. It’s at this time that Phoenix and his crew show up and start blasting the place all to hell. Again, we get Spartan chasing Phoenix, this time in a car, where at one point he decides to jump on top of Phoenix’s car, before crawling inside to wage war. He ends up tossing him out into the freeway, before his self-driving car sends him flying into the pond outside the police station.
Back at Cocteau’s place, although Phoenix can’t kill him, he has one of his soldiers do it. It’s about this time that Spartan and Lenina show up. After whooping on some baddies, they discover that Phoenix’s plan is to unfreeze a ton of criminals, which this society could not handle. John shows up to the cryo-freeze building where Phoenix is, and we get ourselves a hell of a brawl, which ends with John dropping a cryopod, freezing Simon, and then kicking off his frozen head. Could you imagine someone telling you that?

Fellow Officer: How’d you finally end up dealing with Simon?
Caliber The Demolition Man: Ah, story as old as time. So, he was about to cave my skull in, but I noticed he was standing in water. So, I cracked a cryo-pill into the water, and jumped up on this moving crane that was spinning around the room while Phoenix froze. As I came back around, he was frozen solid, and, ya know, I kicked his head off.


Afterward, the guys underground and the people above decide to try and find a happy medium, while John rocks some smooches on Lenina.

1-Liners: 5
Guys Beat Up: 14
Guys Killed: 7
Swear Words: 58
Boobies: 2
Explosions: 4
Broken Bones: 0
Fight/Shoot-Out At Motel?: No
Guy Get Girl? Yes
Guy/Girl Smoke?: No

Snipes moves were so fast that they blurred on camera, and he was asked to slow down.

Stallone said that his cryo-freeze scene was the worst 5 hours he’s ever had on a set.

The outfit that Bullock wore during the Taco Bell dinner weighed 40lbs.

Stallone wanted Jackie Chan as Phoenix. Holy shit, that would have been AWESOME.

The seashell deal came from when the screenwriter wanted to have something futuristic in the bathroom, but couldn’t come up with anything. He called his buddy who was also a screenwriter, and also happened to be in the bathroom. When asked if he had any ideas, he said he had a bag of seashells on his toilet, and the dude said “Ok, I’ll do something with that”.

There’s quite a few deleted scenes, mostly violence related, which explains where the hell the rest of Simon’s men were in the finale. I hate studios.

Demolition Man is by the numbers in terms of framing, but the inside of it has a ton of originality. The future settings look futureistic, but not in a hokey, Back to the Future II kinda way. Stallone & Snipes deliver as always, the humor is well done without any cringe, and we get some decent action pieces. My only complaints are that, oddly enough, I just felt like there wasn’t enough action, and I feel vindicated by that after finding out how much had been deleted. There’s honestly nothing wrong with the movie, and it’s a damn good time, but for me, there’s just something missing that keeps it from being an all-time classic. Even still, do yourself a favor and give it a watch.
***1/2 Head-Butts out of 5

Any questions, comments, drunk-ramblings, feel free to send them my way, I always dig hearing from you, the beautiful people.
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