He demolished ‘90s action cinema...and now he’s demolishing at the Clinton Street Theater in 2022.
On Friday, July 1, the Clinton Street Theater will screen Demolition Man, the bad-but-kind-of-brilliant action film starring Sylvester Stallone. No, it’s not an anniversary (although the film will turn 30 next year). Apparently, the theater just really wanted to show it, and good for them.
Set in the future, Demolition Man could hardly be mistaken for a highbrow ‘90s sci-fi like the Wachowskis’ The Matrix, Kathryn Bigelow’s Strange Days (which, bafflingly, still isn’t streaming anywhere), or Alex Proyas’ Dark City. But to connoisseurs of bizarre filmmaking, it’s a deranged delight.
Directed by the Italian-born filmmaker Marco Brambilla, the film stars Stallone as a meathead cop who is cryogenically frozen. He awakens years later to find that Earth has become a utopia that is peaceful, sexless and boring; luckily for him, his old nemesis (a crazed Wesley Snipes with a memorable bond dye job) shows up to make things interesting.
Demolition Man is the kind of endearingly dumb blockbuster you just don’t find anymore. The frantic action is pure sensation (the film is a “fuck you” to spatial coherence) and Brambilla’s soapboxing about the necessity of brutality and anger in any human society is more laughable than wise.
Yet somehow, Demolition Man works. Partly, it’s because Stallone is so blithely blind to the film’s absurdity (full marks to him for saying “rat burger” with a straight face), but it also helps that a pre-Speed Sandra Bullock is legitimately great in a supporting role.
As a perky cop tasked with babysitting Stallone’s character, Bullock goes impressively deep; she cannily conveys her character’s lack of awareness that the bright future she covets is actually kind of oppressive and dystopian.
The question of whether or not Demolition Man is “good” is debatable, but it’s undeniably enjoyable. The screening begins at 7 pm; tickets are $8 and are available here.