Demolition Man

Directed by Marco Brambilla , 1993

Marco Brambilla
Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes, Sandra Bullock

Demolition Man Summary

Detective Sergeant John Spartan, also known as the ‘Demolition Man‘, is awakened from cryo-sleep in the year 2032 to a world which has radically altered. After the great earthquake of 2010, the new city of San Angeles has been built into a strange totalitarian utopia ruled over by the sinister Dr. Raymond Cocteau. In this artificial, sanitised society of the future the people live in a state of ineffectual ignorance, and are thoroughly unequipped to deal with an escaped mass murderer who is now on the rampage. Spartan is re-enlisted to deal with the crisis, but as he investigates the case, he discovers there is more to this regime than initially meets the eye.

5 Reasons To Watch Demolition Man

  1. The 3 seashells incident
  2. The ‘Verbal Morality Statute’
  3. The great, wince-inducing future-speak
  4. Auto-drive police cars, complete with crash-foam
  5. The awesome Nigel Hawthorne, reprising his typecast as a belligerent but oh-so-smooth-talking bureaucrat

5 more reasons to watch Demolition Man

(I couldn’t resist)

  1. Stallone’s face when he is told about Taco Bell
  2. Stallone’s face after the contact-less ‘sex’ scene
  3. Stallone’s face when he is subjected to the ad-jingles channel on the car stereo
  4. Stallone’s face when he eats the rat-burger
  5. Stallone’s face when he hears about the ‘Schwarzenegger Library’

Demolition Man Themes

What makes Demolition Man a Dystopia?

Lenina Huxley: Now all restaurants are Taco Bell.


Not only that, the new city of San Angeles is run in an extreme authoritarian manner, adhering strictly to the vision of one man, Raymond Cocteau, imposed upon the whole population:

Lenina Huxley: “Ahh… smoking is not good for you, and it’s been deemed that anything not good for you is bad; hence, illegal. Alcohol, caffeine, contact sports, meat… “

This heavy handed approach extends all the way to outlawing swearing. That would do it.

But wait, there’s more! As John Spartan discovers, there is a hidden group of people who reject these principles and are consequently excluded completely from society, denied access to food, and generally regarded as less than human. This creates a distinct two-tier social structure, somewhat reminiscent of H. G. Wells’ ‘Time Machine’ with the Morlocks and the Eloy.

This forceful protection of the population from anything deemed dangerous, has created a world full of ineffectual, naive ‘innocents’, with severely undermined capacity for self-determination or ability to deal with unexpected circumstance. This creates a kind of ‘downward spiral’ where the city’s leader has to go to increasing lengths to protect the population from the ever-impending encroachment of external reality. This starts with denying contact from the outside world, and eventually ends with the secret recruitment of mass murderer Simon Phoenix as a hired mind-programmed assassin to kill the impromptu leader of the disenfranchised underclass.

Demolition Man Quotes

Moral Statute Machine: You are fined one credit for a violation of the Verbal Morality Statute.

Demolition Man Trailer

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