Volume 95, Issue 76

Friday, February 15, 2002

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"Authentic" restaurant feels cheap and fake

Western gets ready for Purple Shorts

Like a rocket in your Pocket, these Dwellers bring the funk

Vagina opens up to the Western audience

Disc of the Week

Space rock takes flight in London

Rollerball = worst movie ever

Shits and Giggles

Rollerball = worst movie ever


Chris Klein, LL Cool J, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos

Directed By: John McTiernan

No stars

By Aaron St. John
Gazette Staff

Gazette File Photo

For far too long, there's been a trend within Hollywood to try and make some easy money by remaking an old film.

In recent years, remakes of classic films like Pyscho and Planet Of The Apes have been so horrible that they damage the lustre of the original.

With few exceptions, these endeavors are invariably left on the cutting room floor. Rollerball is no exception.

Directed by John McTiernan, who helmed the 1988 blockbuster Die Hard but has since wallowed in one bad film after another, Rollerball is no exception.

This new version follows the adventures of Jonathan Cross (Chris Klein), as he is convinced by his friend Marcus (LL Cool J) to play a violent new sport called Rollerball in Asia. The Rollerball league is controlled by the evil Alexi Petrovich (Jean Reno) who will stop at nothing to increase his profit margins.

With it's non-stop action, horrendous dialogue and barely cohesive plot, Rollerball might have made a half-decent video game, but as a film it's barely watchable. Spawned by the same production team behind last year's equally moronic The Fast And The Furious, Rollerball is all about style over substance, filled with quick edits and jittery camera work, flashy cars and high-speed action sequences.

While those elements can be used to great effect when melded together with some substantive material, in this case it just demonstrates everything that is wrong with modern movie-making.

Fresh off his success as a dumb guy, Chris Klein (American Pie) shows off his range by making his character in this film slightly more dense than usual. His performance is the worst of the bunch, but LL Cool J (Halloween H20, Deep Blue Sea) and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos (X-Men) are not much better.

Even Rollerball's action sequences are sub-par.

McTiernan's work is now lumbering and stale. One of the movie's centrepieces a long scene set in the desert at night is shot using some sort of night vision filter, giving everything a green glow. The effect is not only annoying, but it's also hard on the eyes. Elsewhere, the film contains footage of several Rollerball matches clearly meant to appear fast-paced and reckless, but are instead disorienting.

Towards the end of the picture, as the characters slowly realize the kind of manipulation they've been the victims of, the film attempts to make some sort of comment about the evils of media conglomerates.

That's a fair enough theme for a movie, but given Rollerball was produced by one such organizations, it seems likely this plot twist was simply designed to cash-in on this currently hot theme.

A horrible film from every conceivable angle, Rollerball is a fine lesson in how not to make a movie.

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Copyright The Gazette 2002