- Directed by Geoff Murphy
- January 17, 1992
A race car driver is snatched a split second before he died in a wreck. Now, trapped in the future, he must struggle to survive remain free as “bonejackers” seek to capture or kill him.
As I get older more and more films set in the future recede into the past. Freejack is one such film. Given certain elements of the plot-that it was set in 91/92 and that most of the characters from the past are still alive and mostly youthful in the future-too much time could not pass between the two dates. Here the break is 17 years so the future is November 23, 2009.
Freejack looks like it was an attempt to turn Emilio Estevez into an action star. Obviously that did not work but that does not mean this is an entirely bad film. I am not calling it great. Rather I am calling it entertaining.
It is an interesting twist of the time travel concept. I am not talking about time travel itself but rather in its use. Nobody is trying to undo or alter history. These are just people willing to unnaturally extend their lives.
Emilio Estevez plays race car driver Alex Furlong who is presumed dead in a fiery racetrack accident. In reality Alex has been yanked 17 years into the future. In this future the world is polluted and the United States has not that long ago gone through a 10 year depression. The haves have a lot and the have nots have almost nothing at all.
The rich with all their wealth and power have access to a crude yet effective time travel technology and they use it to extend their lives. How? By snatching individuals that are about to die and bringing them to the future where these people who are considered legally deceased will have their minds erased and replaced with those of the rich individual. They do this because those living in the future are too diseased and polluted to serve as new bodies.
Furlong’s main nemesis in this film is a bounty hunter named Vacendak (Mick Jagger). I am not sure if he did anything before this but I know he’s had a few parts since. I rather enjoyed Jagger as Vacendak. I admit his acting was not the greatest, but it was serviceable enough for the part. He gave it all his all and made Vacendak an entertaining asshole. Sometimes a solid effort can overcome much.
As an action film Freejack relies heavily on gunplay and explosions. Estevez is not built like a fighter nor is Jagger so those two getting into fisticuffs with each other or with just about anybody else would not necessarily work. We also have some exciting chase scenes tossed in to get the adrenaline pumping.
The creative minds tried to have two mysteries going in this film. The first is who ordered up a hot plate of Emilio Estevez brought to the future. The second is who ordered up the goon squad to stop that order of Estevez whose interference allowed Furlong to escape. The first mystery is pretty obvious. It is the head of not only the largest corporation in the world but the company that controls the spiritual switchboard.
I need to take a step or two back and explain what the spiritual switchboard is. It is as an important part of the plot ya know. The spiritual switchboard is where the mind of the individual who is getting the new body is stored. To give this a bit of a ticking clock, anybody stored on there can only last for about 36 hours or so before the mind degrades to the point of irretrievability. Hence why people are using bullets and tasers when chasing Furlong.
Anthony Hopkins plays corporate tycoon Ian McCandless. Furlong (not Edward though) was not chosen at random. McCandless has harbored a long-time crush on Alex’s former fiancé Julie Redlund (Rene Russo) who now works for McCandless and this is all part of his screwed up plot to get her to fall in love with him. It’s clear though from her initial reaction of seeing Alex that it would not have worked.
This came out during a high point in the careers of not only Anthony Hopkins but of Renee Russo. Interestingly Russo met her husband Dan Gilroy while making this very movie. From what I’ve read they have one daughter.
The last question this movie asks is who is sent the people to prevent the delivery of Alex to McCandless? That takes a few more minutes to figure out only because Jonathan Banks as devious corporate executive Mark Michelette does not have too much screen time right away. If Banks is in something he is probably the main villain or one of the central villainous figures.
Jonathan Banks is a personal favorite actor of mine. I first remember him from a little-known television series called Other World from the early 80s. Banks played a character called Nuveen Kroll in it who was the chief threat to the central characters of the series. I loved him in the part and I have always enjoyed his work ever since.
We also have Amanda Plummer making an appearance as a less than saintly nun and David Johansen, the man behind the Buster Poindexter persona, as Alex’s manager Brad. The latter’s casting is interesting because people have stated he resembles Mick Jagger and currently he really does and here they are in a movie together.
It is like Freejack wanted to be Blade Runner but tries to do so on a RoboCop budget with the director behind Young Guns II, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, and Fortress 2. To be fair the guy has worked as all three Lord of the Rings films as a 2nd Unit Director so he cannot be too bad.
Overall Freejack is an entertaining bit of mind rot. It is quality junk food. It has good action and a decent enough script that is executed better than one would think. I will however call this an if you want as it might not appeal to all.