It’s an interested look on the future. And one that seems we’re progressing into. So what is there to say about Demolition Man today? To start, it’s about two guys. One is a cop who’s excessive on the use of force. The other is a career criminal turned MK Ultra victim. More on that later.
Now in this movie there’s this struggle between a would be terrorist and a benevolent fascist. He created this utopian world where everything seems ideal on the surface. He basically created this wet dream of a society that some people would die for.
The police are bonafide security guards. Citizens are docile inhabitants. Self-driving cars are the norm. The use of language is controlled. People are implanted with microchips. The society is cashless and they need those microchips to buy things. Munition is reserved in museums so let’s assume the right to bear arms is illegal. Everything bad for the citizens, like salt, is illegal. It’s a smorgasbord for a social engineer, and one of the characters played by Sandra Bullock explains this new world all throughout the story. We continue to see these themes on the future constantly play out, and strange enough they seem to be coming true.
It takes place in the year 2032, so we’re not too far out. Now when I think of these solutions being suggested like social distancing because of the coronavirus it’s like we’re right on track. For instance, hand to hand contact is discouraged and in this world it’s prohibited to exchange bodily fluids. Sandra’s character explains this when she and Stallone try to have “sex.” So in effect, they practice social distancing to the extreme.
Now About Simon Phoenix
As stated earlier, he’s a criminal who was programmed to kill Edgar Friendly, the torn in the side of our benevolent fascist. The only reason he was brought out of containment was to serve this purpose, like some type of Manchurian candidate. If anyone is a terrorist, it’s him and one who was created by the ruler himself. To make matters worse he’s a hypocritical liar. But what this ruler didn’t account for was his plan going wrong. He figured that using Simon was a way to kill two birds with one stone by creating a public crisis and eliminate the remaining people who stood against his ideal society. Our protagonist John Spartan slowly but surely becomes aware of this.
But Who Is Edgar Friendly?
He exposes a class and ideological divide. In part, he represents a body of people we’d call revolutionaries against the status quo. Where they live is tantamount to a sewer while those right above live in squalor. It’s the price to pay for freedom I’d say. But all throughout the movie, Friendly is someone the ruler desires to kill because he poses a threat to the world he built. With Friendly out of the way and the populace in fear of Phoenix, he’d have “carte blanche” to implement his grand plan.
There’s a lot more to the story of course. In the end, the bad guys lose and the good guys win. If only reality were so. But I think my point of bringing this movie up is relevant considering so many aspects of our society is up for debate. I can imagine this utopian world as something people wouldn’t mind. If such a thing ever exists, I’m guessing it’ll play out similar to Demolition Man because not everyone can or will be boxed into whatever vision of society that people may think is best. I think freedom is a stubborn thing that no system of order can or should try to contain, especially when that order turns to authoritarian methods. I suppose we’ll see.