Rollerball (2002)
Dir: John McTiernan
Star: Chris Klein, Jean Reno, LL Cool J, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos
Cert / Year: 15 - R / 2002
Format: DVD R1

Jonathan Cross (Chris Klein) is a failed sportsman wannabe when his mate Marcus Ridley (LL Cool J) offers him a chance to play a new sport, Rollerball. This is an ultra violent sport mixing of skating, motorcycling, and Pinball. It is played in parts of former Soviet Union, and is run by corrupt business tycoon Petrovich (Jean Reno). To Petrovich ratings are everything and he soon discovers that the more violence in the game the higher the ratings, the players are expendable. Can Jonathan save his girlfriend fellow Rollerball player Aurora (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) and uncover Petrovich's plans for the sport, or will his death become the next boost to the ratings.

This film is total and utter garbage. There finished, can I go home now? Ok so you deserve more than this, well let's start at the beginning. In 1975 another film was made with the name Rollerball. It was a classic sci-fi film, mixing a beautifully realised violent future sport with an intelligent 1984 big brother style story. This new film has absolutely nothing to do with the earlier film (it bares more resemblance to the Max Headroom episode Rakers), it is not a remake, sequel, or re-imagining (thank Tim Burton for that term). It's setting and technology means that it's not even a sci-fi film Reusing the name of the earlier film in this way is sacrilegious, and displays the uttermost disregard not only for the earlier work but for the movie going public.

The film opens with a pointless and rather pedestrian body-boarding race through modern day city traffic. This has no relevance to the plot and is so badly directed that very little illusion of speed or excitment is given. It's not the best opening for the film. However things get worse when we find out the star Chris Klein is a Keanu Reeves clone. He looks like Keanu, he sounds like Keanu, only he lacks Keanu's already limited acting ability! Don't expect salvation from the rest of the cast as the main roles are taken by an ex singer LL Cool J, and an ex model Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, both of who's acting ability is also strictly limited. The only real actor is Jean Reno who is obviously having fun, but is so much better than this film deserves. All I can recommend is that after this and Just Visiting he should really start to pick his films better.

Continuing on we are introduced to the sport of Rollerball. Oh dear. Instead of a believable professional sport we are faced with a sub Gladiators game show. The track is a small overly complex human pinball table of an affair. The rules are vague and badly described (or maybe irrelevant). But best (or worst) of all are the costumes the likes of which the most outrageous WWF star can only dream of. This gaudy mess could never be described as a sport, and would have trouble competing with the test card for ratings. Ok so it's fast furious, and very violent, but without the sport element it is confusing and ultimately pointless.

If you were expecting salvation from John McTiernan's direction think again. It is difficult to believe the director of Die Hard and Predator is responsible for this (hold on he did do Last Action Hero didn't he). What was already a mess has been made worse as it appears that the film has been heavily re-edited (in response to poor test viewings). In fact it is now so poorly edited that it looks like a monkey with gardening shears completed the film (scenes just stop abruptly, and dialogue jumps). Add to this some Looney Tune style sound effects (Boing!) and any plus points the original may have had has been well and truly destroyed.

Let me make it clear this film stinks, under no circumstance watch it (especially if you have seen the original). Have I been too negative? No, there really aren't any plus points, and obviously someone in Hollywood has more money than sense. With thousands of original exciting stories and scripts out there this film is inexcusable, I really don't understand why it was made at all. I never though I would rate a major budget film so lowly, but this movie sucks more than an industrial sized vacuum cleaner. At least From Hell was so bad it was funny, this is just bad.

Rating: 0 out of 5

Picture 2.35:1 Anamorphic Good picture as you would expect
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Good sound
Features The Stunts Of Rollerball featurette
Interactive Rollerball Yearbook
The Horseman audio commentary
Rob Zombie music video
Verdict A pretty good disc for a lousy film. The extras are limited but probably more than you'd care to watch.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Back Top Home