Hologram Man (1995) — Demolition Man (but with holograms)

“I may be a little misunderstood, but I am not sick!”

Justin’s rating: But where’s Jem? This is totally outrageous!

Justin’s review: You know how pop culture in the ’80s seized upon computers and robots as these magical objects that could do pretty much anything, even though they only had 64K of RAM at the time and operated on BASIC?

Well, the ’90s were a bit like that with holograms. We had these fancy light shows dazzling us in Total Recall and Back to the Future Part II, not to mention every sticker collection, trading card sets, and even bank cards at the time. Holograms! Who knew what they were, but dang it if they weren’t shiny and futuristic.

I mean, does it make sense for a movie to center around the premise that a killer could use what is, in effect, reflected light to actually present a danger? Not really, but hey, holograms are cool so shut it.

Hologram Man kicks off with the most insane shootout ever between the Generic Police and Vague Bad Guys. My favorite part of this, bar none, was the police chief — John Amos! — who gets out a special gun and proceeds to blow up cars with one shot apiece. Then a super-buggy rams through all of the cops and so many explosions have already happened that Die Hard movies are like, “Dang boy, maybe you want to pull back a tad.” This all happens to the mild consternation of pony-tailed Decota, our hero of the hour who’s on the first day of the job.

As you’re wrapping your head around that, the movie then throws a completely random sex scene at you followed by this guy talking to our head villain, a dude named “Slash:”

He might be evil. I’m checking into that. He orders some minions to hijack the bus from Speed and then ram it into the governor’s motorcade. The movie’s second firefight in 12 minutes ensues, and the bus loses its entire roof while its passengers rue the day they were asked if they were wearing adult diapers or not.

Eventually, Slash is captured by a not-really-with-it Decoda and sentenced to Future Jail™. In this version, criminals have their personalities removed from their body and rehabilitated as holograms for a while before being allowed to go back into their meat sacks after five or so years. So of course Slash is going to figure out a way to escape down the line, and Decoda is the only person who’s able to stop him.

Yes, it’s a complete and shameless ripoff of Demolition Man. You know, just with holograms.

Except this movie has no idea what a hologram is. R2D2 had a better idea than this flick. In Hologram Man, this technology lets you walk around, fire out electrical blasts, use a force field for protection, and interact with the regular world. As the titular creation, Slash’s holographic form eventually gets dipped into a flesh machine so that the movie can save on the F/X budget.

Not only is the hologram prison technology wonky, but by only taking us five years into the future, it gets pretty hard to believe that flying cars and giant biodomes have become the norm. Oh, and a completely fascist police state has taken root with CalCorp pulling the strings. So we’re a bit RoboCop too?

The really weird thing about Hologram Man is that the dude who plays Slash, Evan Lurie, also wrote the movie. And so he made Slash kind of the main character here, pushing back against the fascist corporation with his homicidal anarchist ways. If you ever want a movie where you’ll be utterly baffled who you’re supposed to root for and hiss at, pop this in and let the confusion settle over you like a fine fog.

This does explain why Slash has a colorful rogues gallery at his command, including a brainy hacker played by William Sanderson (Newhart, Blade Runner), eyepatch dude, a flamethrower man who loves to wander around the headquarters setting stuff on fire, and 8-Ball, a guy with football gear and an eight tattooed to his forehead. By comparison, Decoda has a forgettable female scientist assistant and a mountain of hair products.

Never had the phrase “mixed bag” applied so well to a movie. Hologram Man is not lacking on exciting gunfights, copious explosions, and a bundle of borrowed scifi ideas. But it’s also saddled with a bad guy who can’t act to save his life and a good guy who’s the most monumental weenie you’ll ever meet. Despite decent action and camera work, Hologram Man can only point you toward better films rather than its own merits.

Didja notice?

  • No expenses were spared on this movie logo!
  • Nothing like kicking off a movie with a police shootout involving flaming cars and super shotguns and a pistol that literally blows up cars. Oh and then a super-buggy comes along to ram through cars.
  • These cops are the worst shots ever
  • Hey here’s a random sex scene that has no context whatsoever
  • Really bad guys have TWO strings on their eyepatches
  • Governors are strangely cool with attempts on their lives
  • Dude, that bridge just tore off the roof from that bus
  • When your girlfriend is dying, it’s time to get a last French kiss in
  • You can assassinate a governor, kidnap and terrorize a bus full of people, and kill scores of cops… and you’re still eligible for parole in five years?
  • That city dome isn’t covering most of the city
  • It’s illegal to turn off corporation news
  • Decoda’s hair is so lush and full
  • It’s Larry from Newhart! Where’s Daryl and Daryl?
  • Nobody in the bad guy hangout seems concerned that a guy is playing with a flamethrower over there
  • Maybe they’re distracted by the dude with the “8” tattooed on his forehead
  • The Speed Racer car
  • All shootouts in this movie are two groups facing off from behind obstacles like they’re at paintball
  • Holograms can do karate
  • Yes, let’s shoot at the hologram. Smart cops.
  • Hey, they have a holodeck!
  • Helicopter explosion
  • When you get blown up by a bomb, you need someone to scream in your face “FIGHT IT!”
  • The bad guys pull the “ram a truck through the front doors” trick at least three times in this movie
  • And now this movie wants to be Die Hard
  • Rubber paint can create super long hair?
  • Making out with a hologram fries all of the appliances around you
  • “Good eye.”
  • Holograms put people in white leotards for some reason

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