Back in 1992, racing driver Alex Furlong (Emilio Estevez) is preparing for the big day of motorsport, having been woken up by his girlfriend Julie Redland (Rene Russo) who accompanies him to the track. But seventeen years later there is a lot of preparation happening as well, with so-called bonejacker Victor Vacendak (Mick Jagger) setting up the equipment that will bring Alex into the future. As the driver commences the race, he has no idea that in a matter of minutes he will be thrown forward in time, with everyone in 1992 thinking he is dead...
Freejack was a flop sci-fi effort based on a Robert Sheckley novel, tailor made for the talents of Estevez, and the more attention grabbing Jagger. It was his first dramatic role since Ned Kelly over twenty years before, and while that was a notorious bomb, er, so was this, not doing the Mr Rear of the Year 1965 any favours in furthering his acting career. The reasons he had for playing a baddie in a sub-Total Recall action potboiler are unclear, but he certainly brightened up what was a pretty dull affair, even when the characters were rushing around and either trying to kill each other or avoid those trying to kill them.
Many noted how unavoidably camp Jagger came across as his Vacendak fired off the de rigueur quips and mean-minded observations, and even got to make with the gunwielding for those all-important shoot 'em up sequences. Not to mention the car chases, one of which he conducts while in light conversation with Estevez over what looks like a webcam as explosions are set off all around. Oh yeah, and this was 1992's idea of what 2009 looked like, and in a striking departure from the norm they depicted it as a dystopian hellhole, overrun by corporations who care little for the majority of impoverished citizens which populate the world.
Well, not so much a departure as a depiction of the future exactly the same as every single one concocted after about 1969, all of them, ever, with no exceptions. So already there was a seen it all before appearance to Freejack, including the threadbare, slapdash plot which was warmed over Alfred Hitchcock leftovers with the usual innocent man on the run escaping the authorities with seconds to spare. Alex was that man, plucked from the wreckage of his car just before it exploded and winding up all that time later to be part of a body farming project where his corporeal form is tagged to have someone else's mind downloaded into it.
That someone is a rich businessman, but we're not supposed to be one hundred percent sure who it is until the finale. Which begs the question, what was Anthony Hopkins doing in this, seen only on a screen and essaying the role of rich businessman McCandless, who is seeking his McCand - no, not really, he's up to something but as his underling Julie trusts him, he couldn't be a baddie, could he? Setting that to one side, you were left with a lifeless adventure which only sprang into action when there was an instance of the deeply naff, such as Amanda Plummer's would-be shocking, actually groan-inducing nun who swears, totes a shotgun and kicks men in the bollocks. But as Estevez slipped into blandness in a thankless part, Jagger was the man to watch, making you wish they'd gone the whole hog and created a comedy instead - at least he was having fun. Music by Trevor Jones.