FREEJACK

Freejack

THE PLOT

“Geoff Murphy directed this time-travel chase movie. Emilio Estevez stars as Alex Furlong, a racecar driver from 1991, who is just about to experience a deadly crash in his Formula Atlantic. But at the last moment Alex finds himself transported to the streets of New York in 2009. He is saved from certain death and zapped into the future by 21st-century bounty hunter Vacendak (Mick Jagger), who wants to take over Alex’s body. Alex escapes Vacendak’s clutches and decides to look up an old girlfriend. When he locates Julie (Rene Russo), he enlists her support to help him from being captured by Vacendak. Much to Alex’s surprise, he discovers that Julie now works as a top executive for a giant corporation presided over by McCandless (Anthony Hopkins). Julie, separated from Alex for almost twenty years, must decide whether to renew their relationship. But there is not much time for thought by either party, since Vacendak is still coming after Alex.” – Rovi’s AllMovie Guide

THE POINT

“The year 2009 will be recreated on Hollywood Boulevard in an extravaganza featuring eight futuristic vehicles… These will include a 75-foot people mover, a supersonic limousine along with 21st century taxis and motorcycles, which will parade down Hollywood Boulevard.” So exclaimed the press release for the 1992 world premier of Freejack. “Emerging from these will be some of the real-life characters from the film as well as a cast of 45 extras posing as the film’s ‘bone-jackers’ (futuristic bounty hunters) and Peace Police. This will be followed by the star-studded arrivals of the film’s stars as well as other top stars from all phases of film, television and the music industry… Stars expected include Sting, Madonna, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Paula Abdul, Andrew Dice Clay, Brian Wilson, Harry Shearer and Spinal Tap, Stevie Nicks, Poison, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Julian Lennon, David Byrne, Pat Benatar and many more.” So what did Freejack have that managed to attract such a luminous list of rock royalty (for 1992 anyway)? Why Mick Jagger and David Johansen in starring roles of course.

I guess it’s nice all those fine folks got to watch their forefathers on the big screen, but really, couldn’t somebody have warned the rest of us that the future was going to be populated almost entirely by haggard aging rock stars? At least then we would have had time to hide all the liquor. Of course, given the future depicted in Freejack it kind of makes sense that rock stars would survive. After all, besides the rats and cockroaches, who else besides rock stars would have an immune system already accustomed to the ravages of pollution and drug abuse which has left most of the rest of the population in Freejack in a constant state of deteriorating health. Oh wait, Rene Russo and Jerry Hall were once fashion models, weren’t they? Chances are they probably didn’t even notice when things changed.

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Of course, since we’re only talking about the far flung future of 2009, I don’t suppose there was that many changes to begin with. I mean, sure they have the technology to kidnap somebody utilizing time travel, but they still have to use fax machines. And yes, everybody drives around in cute Skittle-colored tanks, but they haven’t quite got around to inventing palm sized cell phones or the Internet yet. And despite the fact that they can transfer a person’s soul into a computer (wait for it), people are still having to eat river rats to survive. What, you mean you’ve never had homemade rat jerky before?

Fine, if you’d prefer to avoid that dubious pleasure, then I suppose it’s a good thing not everybody in the future is required to be rundown, diseased, and living off vermin. All you have to do to avoid munching on mice is to be rich. Yes, as is often the case even today, the wealthy in the future get to eat well and maintain a healthy appearance. They get to wear clean clothes and live in spacious apartments within pristine towers. And when they start to near death, they can pay to have their “souls” stored in digital format until it’s able to be transferred into the body of someone who was kidnapped from the past at the moment of their own death. Oh wait, you mean the rich can’t do that yet? Well, don’t worry, they’re working on it.

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An article in The Daily Mail notes that Ray Kurzweil, author, inventor, and director of engineering at Google, recently made the claim that in less than 40 years, humans actually will have the means to upload their entire minds to computers and effectively become digitally immortal. “We’re going to become increasingly non-biological to the point where the non-biological part dominates and the biological part is not important any more.” Kurzwell predicts. Still, he believes humans won’t be willing to give up on corporal existence so quickly. “We do need a body.” he postulates, “Our intelligence is directed towards a body, but it doesn’t have to be this frail, biological body that is subject to all kinds of failure modes… So we’ll be routinely able to change our bodies very quickly as well as our environments. If we had radical life extension only, we would get profoundly bored and we would run out of thing to do and new ideas.” In other words, Kurzwell thinks that within a couple of generations, at least part of the future predicted in Freejack will come to pass. The primary difference is that in Kurzwell’s digital utopia, rather than using a spiritual switchboard to hop inside Emilio Estevez, we’ll be jumping in and out of various robotic containers instead.

David

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