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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Dystopian science fiction movie satirizes a sanitized future.
Positive Role Models
Violence and aggression implied to be an inherent part of the human condition; the two lead characters engage in a lot of both.
Violence & Scariness
Extremely violent. Fights with guns, knives, fists, feet. Amid the smoldering ruins of South-Central Los Angeles, a building is destroyed by a psychopathic criminal's explosives; it's implied that 30 hostages are killed as a result. A prison warden has his eye removed by the antagonist. Car chases.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Brief nudity, female breasts. Lead female character asks male protagonist if he would like to have sex with her. The sex act is no longer intercourse in this sci-fi reality, but two people who sit in front of each other and wear helmets that seem to broadcast brief sexual images before orgasm. Sex is referred to by the protagonist as "boning," "wild mambo," "hunka junka," and "bone rollercoaster."
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Frequent profanity. Regular use of "f--k" and variations, including a child who says, "F--k you, lady!" "S--t," "a--holes," "ass," "f-g," "damn." The lead female character, a police officer trying to use action movie phrases unfamiliar to her, mangles "let's kick his ass" to "let's lick his ass," and "let's go blow away this guy" to "let's blow this guy." Various euphemisms for sex including "boning," "bone rollercoaster," and "wild mambo," etc. Joke referencing serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.
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Products & Purchases
Taco Bell (Pizza Hut in the movie's foreign release) is the only restaurant left in this sci-fi reality. The hit songs of the day are commercial jingles from the 20th century: Characters repeatedly sing the jingle for Armour Hot Dogs, a lounge singer sings about Green Giant. Scene in an Oldsmobile dealership. Ken-L Ration referenced. Characters drink Bud Light; Bud Light neon sign prominently in some scenes.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Cocaine use by antagonist. Some beer drinking. Cigarette smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Demolition Man is a 1993 science fiction movie in which archenemies Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes live in a sanitized and helplessly pacifist society. The violence is constant and unrelenting: gun battles, fistfights, martial arts violence, car chases, building explosions, and in one scene, an eyeball removed from a prison warden's eye socket. The profanity is also nonstop: frequent use of "f--k" and its variations and many other curse words, as well as various euphemisms for sex. There is some brief nudity; female breasts are shown. Some iffy humor includes use of the word "f-g" and a joke referencing serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. There's drug, alcohol, and cigarette use by characters. While the movie satirizes consumer culture, it also has quite a bit of product placement. While there's a somewhat satirical exploration of themes like free will, behavior conditioning, consumerism, and human nature, the excessive action movie mayhem and profanity drown it out. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
With its sci-fi satire of modern-day consumerism and forced civility at the cost of personal freedom, this movie had a message to convey. The humor of futuristic toilets, fines for cursing, and cops who don't know how to arrest anyone is clever, no matter what debts it might owe to Brave New World and the Hungarian sci-fi writer who claimed the movie plagiarized one of his novels. But these messages on behaviorism and social engineering don't get much space to breathe amongst the bombast and frenzy of two action-movie stars knocking each other around in a plethora of ways, the constant profanity, and the feeling that, shorn from its sci-fi dressing, it's really nothing new.
There's the cop who breaks the law to enforce the law. There's the maniac criminal who laughs a lot and makes twisted witticisms. Both played by big-name stars. Demolition Man tries to please the deep thinkers attracted to sci-fi while also trying to please the not-so-deep thinkers who just want escape in the form of the entertainment of loud bone-crushing violence. The fact that the latter wins out in a blockbuster movie should surprise no one, but by going for that lowest common denominator, a potentially great movie is instead just a slightly more thoughtful '90s action movie.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.