Freejack is one of my all-time favourite films, even if it does have some issues that can’t be resolved, and it’s also one I never got round to reviewing, as it was in the cinema before I started imparting my missives on the internet (well, April 1992 was a time when I only had access to it at Keele University).
This film has only ever had a DVD release over here and other countries, but I’ve never yet seen a Blu-ray surface. A shame since at the time of posting, the film marks 25 years today since it was released in US cinemas, whereas here in the UK, we didn’t see it theatrically until March 27th of that year.
I remember seeing it a week or two later with my mate from school, Paul, at the Showcase Cinema in Belle Vue, near Manchester, just before I went back to Uni for the summer term. I later saw it again while in Prague over that summer while interrailing around Europe with my mate from Uni, Nigel. I forget how much Showcase charged, but this cinema only cost 50p per ticket. We thought that was 50p down the drain as the trailers started and they were all dubbed into Czech. We looked at each other in panic… until the film started and it was only subtitled – although there are English subtitles in one line of one scene, and the Czech ones were plastered on top so NO-ONE knew what was being said, unless you could speak Japanese, or had seen the film before 🙂
I’m a huge fan of time-travel movies, but in this one, it’s more a futuristic tale as racing driver Alex Furlong (Emilio Estevez) is about to have an accident in 1991 which will lead to his death. Bit of a bummer since he has a long-term girlfriend in Julie (Rene Russo), but never fear since fate has thrown him a lifeline. Vacendak (Mick Jagger) and his Bonejackers have been hired by billionaire businessman McCandless (Anthony Hopkins) to bring Alex forward 18 years to 2009 (what a future that felt like, back then!), so McCandless can transfer his mind into the young man’s, replacing his and ditching his aging body in the process?
But why Alex? I could say, especially since the film is now 25 years old, but it’s not a film that ever had a huge audience so a lot of people won’t know. Hence, I won’t spoil that here.
Yes, once it gets going, it turns into a silly chase movie, but if you let yourself go with it, then it’s a hugely enjoyable film and a perfect example of throwing a ton of muck at the wall and seeing how much sticks – pretty much all of it, in this case. Jagger can’t act so just camps it up nicely; Hopkins hams it up big-time; Estevez wisecracks neatly; there’s an amusing turn from New York Dolls’ David Johansen as Alex’s manager Brad; madcap Amanda Plummer (Pulp Fiction) plays a gun-toting nun and Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad) chews the scenery with relish as Hopkins’ underling… but it ALL works!
There’s even a cameo for Jagger’s better half at the time, Jerry Hall. Oh, and playing Julie’s bodyguard – Boone – in 2009, is the brilliantly-named Grand Bush! (or, here, as Grand L. Bush) That’s worth the price of admission alone!
There’s quotes aplenty, not only in the script but in how they’re delivered:
- One comes when Mick Jagger sees Emilio get away and instructs his Bonejackers, “Get the meat!”
- Another is when a hungry diner says to our hero in a cafe, as he stares at the man, “If you keep looking at me, you’ll see me kill ya!”, which illicits an appropriate smirky look from Estevez, fresh from director Geoff Murphy‘s Young Guns II: Blaze Of Glory, where he reprised his role as Billy The Kid.
- And a third comes at a time I won’t spoil by giving context, but Michelette’s assistant has unwelcome words to deliver, saying, “I hate being the messenger on this. I have a feeling the client’s going to be really pissed!”, to which Michelette replies, “Well, how would you feel if you’d been dead a day and a half… and someone brought you *more* bad news?”
Freejack is one of my all-time favourite films, but it’s still not quite perfect. My main sticking point is Rene Russo as supposedly tough businesswoman Julie (who hasn’t aged a day in 18 years), because she can’t act to save her life. It’s difficult to see who’d replace her vacant stare in what is a not-at-all-demanding role. Warner clearly only hired her as they wanted a model to stare alongside the lead (something Hollywood resorts to a lot), but never expect her to push the boat out. Most of her scenes are with Estevez and he carries her the entire way.
Freejack is available to buy on DVD, and click on the poster for the full-size image.
Running time: 110 minutes
Studio: Warner Bros
Format: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Panavision)
Released: March 27th 1992 (UK), January 17th 1992 (US)
Director: Geoff Murphy
Producers: Stuart Oken and Ronald Shusett
Screenplay: Steven Pressfield, Ronald Shusett and Dan Gilroy (based on the novel “Immortality Inc.” by Robert Sheckley)
Music: Trevor Jones
Alex Furlong: Emilio Estevez
Vacendak: Mick Jagger
Julie Redlund: Rene Russo
McCandless: Anthony Hopkins
Michelette: Jonathan Banks
Brad: David Johansen
Nun: Amanda Plummer
Boone: Grand L Bush
Eagle Man: Frankie Faison
Morgan: John Shea
Ripper: Esai Morales
Earnhart: Wilbur Fitzgerald
Newswoman: Jerry Hall
Time Travel Technician #1: Glen Trotiner
Time Travel Technician #2: Jody Waddell
Promoter: J Don Ferguson
Mr. Plugs: Tom Barnes
Bonejacker #1: James Mayberry
Bonejacker #2: Chris Kayser
Bonejacker #3: Carl Ciarfalio
Bonejacker #4: Jimmy Ortega
Cab Driver: Harsh Nayyar
Jose: Danny De La Paz
Man in Apartment: Johnny Popwell
Woman in Apartment: Myrna White
Old Man: Leonard Shinew
Punk: Bryan Mercer
Girl Gangmember: Mary Ann Hagen
Youth Gangmember: Daryl Wilcher
Senior Japanese Executive: Edmund Ikeda
Hungry Diner: Tony Epper
Waitress: Patty Mack
Checkpoint Officer: Jeff Lewis
Checkpoint Guard: Bill McCurdy
Pickup Man: Jon Kohler
Sax Player: George Coleman
Bartender: Joshua Lee Patton
Cameraman: Jeff Scordino
Shaggy Man: Mike Starr
Stabbed Shaggy Man: Alan Burrell
Tony: Mert Hatfield
Squad Leader: David Dwyer
Switchboard Technician: Mark Gordon
McCandless’ Chauffeur: Dennis Klein
Office Assistant: Chad Governale
Hoodlum: Michael Albanese (uncredited)
Bum: Benjamin Anderson (uncredited)
Race Car Driver: Lee Perkins (uncredited)
Fan: Mary Swafford (uncredited)
Peace Officer: Aaron Weiler (uncredited)