Rollerball
Dressed to kill. LL Cool J, Klein, Romijn-Stamos face their fans...
dir John McTiernan
scr Larry Ferguson, John Pogue
with Chris Klein, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, LL Cool J, Jean Reno, Oleg Taktarov, Naveen Andrews, David Hemblen, Janet Wright, Andrew Bryniarski, Kata Dobo, Paul Wu, Jay Mahin
release US 8.Feb.02; UK 28.Jun.02
Columbia
02/US 1h42

1 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
get in the game This 1975 original was a message-based action-drama; this remake is a dumb thriller, utterly meaningless ... and unnecessary. It's about the all-American Jonathan (a badly miscast Klein) who's the star player of the Central Asian TV phenomenon Rollerball, a skating/motorbiking arena sport involving steel balls and a figure-8 track. But Jonathan is becoming disillusioned with the increasingly violent sport, so he plots with his colleagues (LL Cook J, Romijn-Stamos, Taktarov) to escape the clutches of the sport's owners (Reno, Andrews). Soon it becomes apparent that the horrific accidents are orchestrated to improve ratings. And that the owners won't just let their player go.

The story isn't that bad, but the script is terrible, never making anything of the issues involved, and refusing to develop the characters to any level whatsoever. Then there's McTiernan's direction--illogical, incoherent, loud and pushy. It never develops any sense of speed at all; the set pieces are badly staged and edited, and every aspect of the production design is cheesy and lame, from sets and music to makeup and costumes. Furthermore, the sport itself never makes any sense; it's too chaotic to ever be the TV hit it's supposed to be. The film is so overwhelmingly and aggressively awful that it's physically painful to watch. And how this otherwise talented crew managed to make a film that feels this amateurishly low-budget is anyone's guess.
themes, violence, nudity, language cert 15 12.Mar.02

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
get in the game send your review to Shadows... "What a piece of crap!" --Dave Smith, London 31.May.02
2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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