Movie review

Chris Klein, Jean Reno,
LL Cool J, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos

Director : John McTiernan

RollerballNorman Jewison's 1975 flick Rollerball was burdened with slow, cod-social commentary which took the edge off the ultra-violent James Caan-led action sequences which rightfully made it famous. Fast-forward to 2002 and John McTiernan's Rollerball has found a novel way to avoid this dichotomy: No plot at all.
    Rollerball was never meant to be a remake of its illustrious predecessor. This movie is another 're-imagining', another Tim Burton's Planet Of The Apes, another turkey I'm afraid boys and girls . . .

So where does it go so horribly wrong? Where do I start? Jonathan Cross (American Pie's Chris Klein) is a player in the supposedly violent (we'll get to that later) future sport Rollerball. The sport's owners realise that life-threatening violence equals rating. Cross tries to run away. That's not a plot for a film. You'd struggle to get a haiku out of that!
    The characterisation is pitiful; the characters exist solely for the action sequences, which are toned-down to such a degree that it's all just toothless eye candy. That the WWE's Paul Heyman and Shane McMahon make appearances is no surprise, because the sanitised nature of recent WWE programming is what Rollerball most closely resembles.
    The sport of Rollerball - already a tenuous mix of skates, motorcycles and a fist-sized solid steel ball - has evolved into something so contrived it would make the creators of Battle Dome blush. Competitors from around the world wear bizarre sub-Power Rangers costumes which do nothing for the sport's believability.
    Finally, in a sequence which sees Cross and LL Cool J's Marcus Ridley riding across the tundra on a Harley to escape evil corporate type Petrovich (Jean Reno), the bike crashes through a wire fence. The sound effect which accompanies this is a 'boing' which would normally accompany Wile E Coyote strapping springs to his feet.

In conclusion, Rollerball is the sorriest excuse for a movie I've seen since Dungeons & Dragons. A straight to video disaster that seems to have garnered a full release on the strengths of its participants previous works alone.

:: Rowan Shaeffer

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