Among the things that “Demolition Man” accurately predicted are self-driving cars, a global pandemic leading to some seriously weird social changes, and a nationwide ban on abortion, but it also accurately predicts that not everyone will go along with totalitarian rule, and some people won’t be allowed into a “perfect” society. These outcasts all live in “the wasteland,” an underground city of its own full of people just trying to scrape by. They’re led by Edgar Friendly (Dennis Leary), who wants to fight to free San Angeles and bring the people of the wasteland above ground. The corporate overlords in charge of San Angeles want Friendly dead, which is why they unfroze Phoenix, and Spartan has to rescue him.
Friendly goes on a classic Leary rant about what he wants in life, and it’s hard not to agree with some of it:
“Cause I like to think, I like to read. I’m into freedom of speech and freedom of choice. I’m the kind of guy who wants to sit in a greasy spoon and think, ‘Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of barbecued ribs with the side order of gravy fries?’ I want high cholesterol. I want to eat bacon, butter, and buckets of cheese, okay? I want to smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in a non-smoking section. I wanna run through the streets naked with green Jello all over my body reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly might feel the need to.”
Friendly wants total freedom for himself but doesn’t understand how that might impede on others, which is its own kind of problem. So what’s a man from the past to do with these future problems?