by Adam Miller
In my review of THE FORGOTTEN I pointed out that sci-fi and fantasy films can be forgiven for questionable logical so long as they play by whatever rules they set for themselves. Sometimes, however, a film's logic is so flawed that it distracts from the message. This is the case of FREEJACK.
In the year 2009 mankind America's classes stand in stark contrast. On the one hand, corporate big-wigs live in nifty apartments and wear fur coats, on the other, the huddled masses kill one another at the drop of a dime and eat rat meat dredged from the sewer. The super-rich, however, have an extra advantage. They have invented two (two I tell you) mindblowing sci-fi machines. Not only has modern man invented time travel, he has also invented a supercomputer which can store the consciousness of a dead man for three days and then allow his consciousness to be inputed into the body of a still living human (otherwise known as a "Freejack").
In 1991 Alex Furlong (Emilio Estevez) is a healthy, young racecar driver whose luck runs out in a fatal carcrash. To the spectators, it appears Alex has died a fiery death, but little do they know that he has been teleported into the future as 2009's latest Freejack just before he died. Behind the deed is Mick Jagger as the mercenary "Bonejacker" Vacendak. Vacendak's task is to neutralize Alex so that he is ready to receive the consciousness of the mysterious-rich-dude who purchased his body. Of course, things go terribly wrong. Alex wakes up and escapes and now spends the rest of the film on the run from the Bonejacker's and just about everyone else willing to cash in on a Freejack's bounty (Alex's body is worth millions).
This is all well and good, but the logic behind the conceit is unbelievably contrived. According to U.S. law in 2009, a Freejack is considered "dead" and thus has no rights. The Freejack is considered dead because he was rescued from certain death by the time travel device and brought to the future "unnaturally." This of course makes no sense. Surely by 2009 the lawmaking bodies of the U.S. would realize (as they have in 2008) that there are all kinds of ways to "unnaturally" stave off death. Hell in the early 20th century even Freud posited that no death was natural! Furthermore, the use of this time travel technology is also dubious. Why not bring back (to the future) Abraham Lincoln or Albert Einstein? Indeed, considering that anyone can be snatched from the bring of death, why the need for Freejacks at all? Couldn't the dying mega-millionaire just snatch his own body from the past? (The film explains why its particular mysterious-millionaire chooses Alex's body, but the implication is that Freejacking is a common occurance).
It seems too far-fetched that a power as immense as time travel would be used so shallowly and with such little ethical thought as this movie likes to imply. In FREEJACK the future clearly sucks, but it is not defunct. There are still people in charge. Economics still function. And presumably so does semblance of law and order (at least for the rich). Time travel seems like it could be used to cure all sorts of this society's ills, and instead the only person they choose to bring back is Emilio Estevez?