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Film review: Freejack

Published: Monday, Jan. 27 1992 12:00 a.m. MST

Talk about your wacko movies! "Freejack" is all over the map, a chase picture that steals liberally from dozens of other sci-fi epics - from "Frankenstein" to "Terminator 2" - and is kept afloat purely by non-stop motion.

Emilio Estevez is the protagonist, a race-car driver in 1991 whose vehicle crashes in the big race. But before he burns up with the car, Estevez is plucked out by scientists who are 18 years in the future. This is no benign life-saving effort, however. These doctors, all decked out in aluminum-foil smocks, are up to no good.

He's apparently expected to arrive brain-dead, but awakens and seems lucid, so they attempt to make him brain-dead. For some reason, Estevez just won't cooperate and before you know it he's on the run, pursued by hitman Mick Jagger, who seems to be leading an army.

Surrounded by car crashes, explosions and a very loud soundtrack, Estevez escapes to his old neighborhood, contacts an old friend (David Johansen) and is nearly sold down the river. Then, his old girlfriend (Rene Russo) doesn't believe he's really who he says he is.

Estevez is not having a good day.

Soon, he discovers he's a "Freejack," someone plucked from the past just before the moment of death so a futuristic person can transfer his mind into a fresh body. Why not simply use the body of someone here in 2009, Estevez asks? Because no one in this bleak future is healthy anymore.

"Freejack's" vision of 2009 New York makes Orwell's "1984" seem positively paradisiacal.

Of course, we see plenty of healthy-looking people, most of them in hot pursuit of Estevez - but don't ask questions.

There are plenty of loopholes, unanswered questions and inconsistencies here. But it's almost as if New Zealand director Geoff Murphy ("Young Guns II," "Utu," "The Quiet Earth") knew he had a potfull of idiocy and just decided to run all over the place with it.

Worst is the rather tasteless foul-mouthed nun played by Amanda Plummer - a fine actress who deserves better (see "The Fisher King").

Best is Jagger, whose sneer and wry humor are most welcome. Anthony Hopkins' understated style is also welcome, but his part is quite small.

Big, loud and as loopy as all get out, "Freejack" makes no sense whatsoever, and sags badly in its center before picking up the pace again. But it's a wild ride most of the way.

Turn off your brain and you might have fun.

"Freejack" is rated R for considerable mayhem, along with some profanity, vulgarity, brief nudity and sex.