Director: Geoff Murphy
Stars: Emilio Esteves, Mick Jagger, Anthony Hopkins
Every once in awhile a film comes along and people are a bit startled that I haven’t seen it before. A good example of this would be The Good, The Bad and The Ugly as a lot of people were shocked that I had gone through film school without ever having seen this film before. Strangely, there were a few people that, when I told them I’d recently viewed Freejack were a bit taken aback with the response of: “You mean you’ve NEVER seen Freejack before?” This simply confuses me because Freejack is just some unremarkable dystopian film from the early nineties that offers nothing new to the filmmaking style or the sci-fi genre. Sure there may be some sort of cult status for this film but I really don’t see why as there’s nothing particularly unique about this film to set it out from the rest. In fact the only reason I am reviewing this absolutely mediocre sci-fi film for Dystopia Month is simply because of the people who said: “You mean you’ve NEVER seen Freejack before?”
Emilo Esteves stars as Alex Furlong, a famed race car driver in the present day (well 1992). He’s got a great life at the moment, full of potential and a loving girlfriend named Julie (Rene Russo). He’s got a big race coming up and Alex is confident he’ll win and find all the success and happiness he wants. Meanwhile, in the future we see Mick Jagger as Vacendak setting up something massive. It’s not made clear what it is but it clearly has something to do with this race in 1992. The race goes on after a gross cameo from Buster Poindexter and as Alex is passing another racer his car flips into the air in a fiery and fatal wreck. Just at the moment of impact, however, Vacendak activates his great big machine and teleports Alex into the future (well 2009).
Now Alex is an eponymous Freejacker. In the dystopian future of 3 years ago (really movies should not put an actual date on future years like this) – the wealthy elite who don’t want to accept death pay loads of money to have someone from the past who died during the prime of their life yanked away at the last inevitable moment. This rich bastard (Anthony Hopkins in this case) can have their mind and soul transferred into this new, younger body. The reason they pull people out of the past instead of just yanking some schmuck off the street is because the Earth is a polluted place in this “future.” People in the past are just cleaner – there lungs still function like they should and their body’s relatively untouched by carcinogens. Alex happens to escape from his captors however and roams free through this strange new world. He even finds that his girlfriend is now a successful business woman – still single and, luckily, still pining for Alex.
What follows is just one big YAWN. Everything in this movie is just so typical, so cliched, so goddamn unoriginal and boring. Some of the actors (the ones that are actually actors, at least) manage to do the best with the material they’ve got. I’ve seen worse from Emilio Esteves, Anthony Hopkins and Rene Russo, but I’ve seen better from them as well. These three aren’t exactly phoning in their performances but you can tell their not really motivated about being in this movie. I don’t blame the actors for this, however, I blame the poor script that’s uninspired and completely lacking in any kind of character development. It’s pretty difficult for an actor to make a role their own when they’re not given anything more than a character’s name to go off of. The two “actors” that DO make their roles their own however, that at least try to add something unique to their characters are Mick Jagger and Buster Poindexter – and they are TERRIBLE at it. I hated everything about Mick Jagger’s character, and his sand-paper deliver of every line was an assault on all senses – still I did not mind this guy as much as Buster Poindexter (real name David Johansen). MAN, he is awful. Yeah, he had some minor success as a singer, being a member of New York Dolls in the 1970s and making a big hit in the 1980s with “Hot Hot Hot.” The music industry is really where he should have stayed because his acting has always been unnecessarily flamboyant and too over-the-top. Granted the guy does have the voice and demeanor as a character actor suited to particular character types. The character he plays in Freejack, Brad the shady sports agent, is one of those types. He’s still not very pleasant. In fact, sticking with my dislike of Buster Poindexter for a bit, I just read on his imdb trivia page that he was considered for the role of Max Cady in Scorsese’s 1991 version of Cape Fear. MY GOD that would have been terrible. Max Cady is a character first excellently played by Robert Mitchum in 1962 and then made even more memorable by Robert DeNiro in 1991. Buster Poindexter would have spoiled that character and Cape Fear the same way that Steve Guttenberg turned to shit any project he graces with his very presence.
There’s really not a whole lot I feel I need to say about this movie – it is completely mediocre and unremarkable. It’s premise is a pretty weak one at that and it never really does much with it. There aren’t really “characters” in this movie as much as they’re all cliched archetypes with names. The action scenes are just typical of ANY early 90s movie. There’s nothing bad about Freejack – no glaring flaws, but there’s nothing here that makes it succeed, not a damn thing to rant or rave about. I really don’t know why people would have expected me to have seen this movie before? Is it because of Mick Jagger’s performance – because even that is nothing special. The only reason I would ever recommend this film to anyone is like this: “Oh, you want to know what tepid means? Trust me, you don’t know what mediocrity is until you’ve seen Freejack.”