Freejack is a film that makes no sense at all one never understands why the rich have to snatch people through time to house their minds. Nor is it ever explained why Anthony Hopkinss corporate exec goes to such extensive lengths to obtain Emilio Estevezs body there is an explanation about him desiring Estevezs old girlfriend Rene Russo and wanting Estevezs body to fool her, but the film clearly believes that explanation as little as we do and shows it to be ruse a few minutes later, whereupon no further explanation is ever offered.
Freejack was made by expat New Zealand director Geoff Murphy, who had previously made the anarchic cult NZ comedy Goodbye Pork Pie (1980) and the fine end of the world film The Quiet Earth (1985). Alas, after The Quiet Earth made Geoff Murphys name on the international stage, all his films in the commercial mainstream, including the likes of Young Guns II (1990) and a couple of other sf/action hybrids, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995) and Fortress 2: Re-Entry (2000), vanished into the routine and formulaic. The script for Freejack was co-written by Ronald Shusett who once had the career-boosting credit of the story for Alien (1979) on his resume, but away from collaborations with Dan OBannon has only written the likes of King Kong Lives (1986) and this.
The film features some odd casting, the most bizarre of which is Mick Jagger. Here the producers having clearly banked on Samuel Johnsons old adage (concerning women preachers and dancing dogs) that audiences would pay not to see it done well, but done at all. At least, Mick Jaggers non-acting and marbles-in-the-jowls accent is preferable to the awful acting indulged in by Jonathan Banks, who goes through the same teeth-clenched, temple-straining thing he always does, and David Johansen (aka parody rocker Buster Poindexter) who takes the opportunity to go thoroughly over-the-top. Amanda Plummer does the flaky, spaced-out giggly thing she always does as a gun-toting streetwise nun but the effect is so awful that her scenes are embarrassing to watch.
The films interesting, albeit repetitive, background and Cyberpunk designs are actually more interesting than the film itself. The vehicles seem cumbersome and the technology not that advanced, but the interior designs are memorable. Although, as a future, the film fails to convince that such sweeping social changes, let alone the idea of the Spiritual Switchboard and time-travel, could have occurred in the space of 17 years. (Rene Russo never appears to age during this time either).
The only other Robert Sheckley works to have been filmed have been The Tenth Victim (1965) about a future where human hunting is a legalized sport; The Prize of Peril (1983), which features similar themes; and Condorman (1981) about a comic-book artist who gets to bring his creations to life, which was very loosely based on Sheckleys spy novel The Game of X (1967).