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Send a maniac to catch a maniac!
~ John Spartan
Is it cold in here, or is it just me?. (Phoenix: Good memory).
~ John Spartan before killing his archenemy, Simon Phoenix

Sgt. John Spartan (a.k.a "The Demolition Man") is the main protagonist of Demolition Man. He is a former member of the L.A.P.D back in the late 20th century and a current member of the S.A.P.D in the 21st century. He is portrayed by Sylvester Stallone.



Back in 1996, John Spartan worked for the Los Angeles Police Department. During the late 20th century, crime lord Simon Phoenix established South Central Los Angeles as his own kingdom. Spartan headed into the intensely guarded territory in a CH-47 Chinook and bungee jumped several stories before landing on the roof. Upon entering Phoenix's base of operations, Spartan was met with intense gunfire from his enemy's henchmen. Fighting his way through the heavily fortified and guarded base, Spartan found Phoenix in a room, under the influence of narcotics.

Phoenix tossing his cigarette on the floor, ignited C4 gasoline that leaked on the floor from nearby barrels he stabbed with his knife. Spartan engaged Phoenix in hand to hand combat and managed to take him down and out before the whole base exploded. Upon being apprehended by the cops, other members of the police force found 32 bus passengers already dead and Phoenix pinned the deaths on Spartan. Being charged with involuntary manslaughter, Spartan was placed in the cryo-prison for a sentence of 70 years.


Simon phoenix is an old-fashioned criminal; we need an old-fashioned cop.
~ (old) Zachary Lamb, a law enforcer and a colleague of John in the past, recommending San Angeles PD to awake John Spartan from his cryo-dormancy

In 2032, 36 years after the apprehension of Simon Phoenix, an earthquake has merged Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Barbara into the pseudo-utopian society known as San Angeles. After Phoenix escapes custody, the San Angeles decide to revive Spartan in order to catch him again. After reviving him, Spartan is immediately re-instated as a member of the police force in order to capture Phoenix within the boundaries of his parole.

Already hating the pseudo-utopian society California has become, Spartan along with his partners Lenina Huxley and Alfredo Garcia head to a nearby museum where Phoenix is caught in the act stealing weaponry from the armory exhibit. Assembling his own arsenal, Spartan engages his enemy in a shoot out, as well as hand to hand combat. Phoenix manages to escape Spartan and goes into hiding, however also seemingly causing Spartan to save San Angeles' creator Dr. Raymond Cocteau from certain death.

After attending a dinner on behalf of him saving Cocteau and engaging in hand to hand combat with the city's last remaining criminals known as Scraps, Spartan heads for his pre-made apartment where he views a laser disc from a nearby surveillance camera at the museum from Phoenix's escape. Realizing that Cocteau is in league with Phoenix, Spartan and Huxley headed to confront Cocteau, however the saviour of San Angeles doesn't talk. After realizing that Phoenix isn't above ground, Spartan and his other fellow officers head down into the sewer where they find a whole civilization of people living with the use of items considered contraband by the standards of San Angeles. After meeting with the leader of the scraps named Edgar Friendly and explaining their situation, Phoenix and his newly formed group of henchmen ambush them with gunfire.

In his attempt to pursue Phoenix, Spartan and Huxley head for a nearby Oldsmobile and utilize the elevator to lift the car to the surface. After heading up to the surface, Phoenix has stolen Huxley's cruiser, leading to an intense high speed chase. Spartan manages to get aboard the stolen cruiser and fights Phoenix who tells him that the passengers that died supposedly because of him were already dead. After angrily throwing Phoenix out of the cruiser, Spartan attempts to regain control of it, but ends up driving into the sign of the S.A.P.D building. Eventually heading to Cocteau Industries, Spartan and Huxley find Cocteau dead and realize that Phoenix murdered him and now plans to release all the prisoners in the cryo-prison. Heading in on his own, Spartan headed into the prison and engaged Phoenix in one final fight. Spartan manages to stop Phoenix by using the cryo machinery to freeze him solid and smashing his head off which falls to the ground and shatters.

He escapes just before the cryo-prison is destroyed along with the frozen headless body of Phoenix. Afterwards Spartan tells the SAPD and Edgar Friendly's gang that they should work together to bring a peaceful but less restricted society. After kissing Huxley, he says that he is going to like the future and departs with her.


  • A subplot involving Spartan's daughter was cut from the finished movie. In the final battle, John is seen protecting a wasteland scrap named Kate. Kate is also seen at the end of the movie standing next to Edger Friendly when Associate Bob introduces himself. Apparently, in a cut scene Spartan is introduced to Kate where he learns she is his daughter.
  • The above plot, plus other scenes that didn't make it in the final film were cut because Warner Brothers wanted a much shorter run time.
  • Steven Seagal was the original choice to portray John Spartan but declined the offer.