Hello, and welcome back to my journey into science-fiction part:27. Freejack, 1992 is a science-fiction cyberpunk action film directed by Geoff Murphy. That sounds pretty good. However, I have watched it before and remember nothing about it. The screenplay was written by Steven Pressfield, Ronald Shusett and Dan Gilroy. And the story is loosely based on Robert Sheckley’s 1959 science-fiction novel Immortality, Inc. The film, produced by Morgan Creek, and released by Warner Brothers, managed to make a 7-million-dollar profit at the Box office from a $30 million budget. Freejack received mainly negative reviews on release and currently sits at a 25% audience score on Rotton Tomatoes. Despite the negativity surrounding the film, I feel optimistic about watching this film. Wish me luck, and see you on the other side.
Well, that was certainly a thought-provoking film to watch! First of all, I would like to say that the opening credits looked very promising, and the music by Trevor Jones was feeding my brain with visions of something as cinematic as Blade Runner, 1982. However, it isn’t long after the start that things start to feel slightly little clunky. Instead of tears in the rain, you will get the splatter of feathers from the national bird of America and a nibbled ear.
I’m not sure how much this film resembles Immortality, Inc, but I feel like the overall spine of the movie is supported by Robert Sheckley. I guess I will only find that out after reading that novel, which I have purchased and will review at some point. I could be wrong; I could be right. I just felt the originality of Sheckley’s idea is like the Atlas of the film, carrying all the extra ideas, gags and rewrites on his shoulders with bent knees.
The story of Alex Furlong Emilio Esteves is captivating and should be very effective in a science-fiction film. Alex is a Formula One driver whose body is snatched by a time machine moments before his death on the racing circuit in 1991. At this point in the film, it’s all coming together nicely. Furlong is an up-and-coming star of the sport, and he is obviously in love with Julie Redlund Rene Russo. I guess you can feel the weight of catastrophe and understand how this is a painful moment for all involved.
Okay, maybe there are a few glimpses of pure schlock in the opening of this film, but that is nothing compared to what comes straight after. Before I moan about this film, it is worth pointing out that Geoff Murphy asked for his possessory credit to be removed from the film. Emilio Estevez also said he felt let down by Murphy because the director focused more on the action in his final cut of the film. I will discuss this later, but I think this is where studios always fail. In the film, the super wealthy of the future can achieve immortality by the way of a mind transfer to another human being. However, in 2009, the world’s resources have plummeted, pollution is slowly destroying the planet, and most people are living in poor physical health. Alex Furlong, however, is in perfect physical health, and after a quick mind wipe, he is worth a lot to the right client. Victor Vacendak, Mick Jagger bonejacker and hardened mercenary is the man responsible for delivering this fresh piece of meat. Unfortunately, Victor and his crew are attacked by savages in this dystopian wasteland, and Alex Furlong escapes with his memories still intact. Sounds pretty decent, but when Alex arrives in the future, it radically begins to feel like Spaceballs and Flash Gordan. I mean, the whole scene as they try to wipe Alex’s mind is comical and not in a funny way. Imagine booking into a five-star hotel and learning that your view is terrible, or a favourite saying from round my way is, fur coat, no knickers.
The problem is that the story becomes way too complicated in its execution. Julie Redlund is an employee of the powerful McCandless Corporation. Alex, Julie and McCandless Anthony Hopkins become involved in some bizarre love triangle with very few emotional beats. You have another subplot with Victor Vacendak, who seems to have a strong dislike for his employees. I thought the ending inside the spiritual switchboard was beautiful, and those trippy GGI visuals took me back to the 90s. So, visually, the end was pretty sweet, but the story became tiresome. There were so many twists and turns that I lost all emotion for the characters. I was just bored. Alex pretends that McCandless mind swap with his host was a success, leaving him with the woman he loves. However, Victor sees right through Alex, even lying for him. However, I didn’t even care at that point. It was like fifteen films rolled into one, ranging from Laurel and Hardy to 1984. I think I was more concerned about why Victor never used his lie-detecting machine again in the film and why did Alex furlong become a beacon of hope? I am pretty sure all these answers ended up on the cutting room floor in a state of desperation.
I read that Freejack went down like a lead balloon with a couple of test screenings, resulting in over 40% of the movie being reshot. I guess that’s why I feel the story isn’t as powerful as it could be. That is pretty sad, as I thought the film had the chance to become something much more. Is it a thriller, action movie or comedy? Regardless of all my negativity, it is an enjoyable watch, but maybe for the wrong reasons! The production value of Freejack is commendable but very funny as well. I said earlier that the film reminded me of Bladerunner. Well, there is one shot that is identical to that film. However, instead of neon beauty and beautiful imagery, you end up with wooden crates and chickens. The lighting is horrible, and it’s pretty bland, and it just made me laugh so hard.
And now I am back to admiring the film because it has a lot to appreciate. I think the design of the cars in the film is visually exciting and very reminiscent of the concept cars of the 1940s. I think swinging hips Mick Jagger and David Johansen both gave a decent performance in the film, considering they are both from the music industry. Emilio Esteves was pretty bad, but if that look of confusion throughout the entire movie is acting, the man deserved an Oscar! Amanda Plummer is brilliant as the Nun and something I remembered almost immediately from my first viewing in the 90s. Freejack is a bizarre viewing experience because some scenes look great, and then you have wacky races with absolutely terrible bluescreen backgrounds. My main issue with Freejack is that the studio didn’t know what the film was supposed to be, so neither did the audience. As I said earlier, that is a real shame because the concept is brilliant.
Maybe the film didn’t give me the joy I was looking for, but Freejack has given me some great choices on where my journey will take me next. One choice was Minority Report, 2002. Ronald Shusett was Executive producer on the Steven Spielberg film. Next up was Real Steel, 2011, written by Dan Gilroy, who also worked on Freejack. However, there can only be one winner. The Quiet Earth, 1985. Geoff Murphy directed this film, and it sounds pretty much perfect to me.
So please join me for My Journey into Science-Fiction Part: 28. Please like, share or subscribe to my site. Also, I would love to hear your comments about Freejack and if you enjoyed the film or not? Many thanks for visiting, and see you next time, Adios.