What Not To Watch: Rollerball (2002)
Having never seen the original Rollerball from start to finish, I figured that made me the perfect candidate to watch and review a remake I heard some awful things about. I would not have the same loyalty to the original that a lot of those who said awful things may have had, so I could go in with a fresh perspective.
With all that said… the Rollerball remake was awful.
- The Premise: Jonathan Cross (Chris Klein) dreams of being in the NHL, but his friend Marcus Ridley (LL Cool J) convinces him to try out a new sport known as Rollerball. Cross goes for the cash and ends up becoming the star attraction of the Rollerball circuit. But as the violence of the sport increases, Cross’ desire to be a part of it decreases and now the powers that be are looking to take him out.
- The MTV Crowd: This movie feels like it was made specifically for the MTV crowd. All style, no substance. Music, quick cuts and pretty people. I definitely don’t think the filmmakers had any intention of incorporating the political and social messages the original did and they succeeded at that. It was purely a movie about good looking people playing a sport that nobody really understands the rules to.
- Is That Brian Dennehy?: I mentioned the movie being filled with pretty people, like Rebecca Romijn and Chris Klein. But they weren’t all pretty. In fact, the coach of Klein and Romijn reminded me of Brian Dennehy… the bigger problem there, the coach is a female.
- Night Vision: I’m sure it was another stylistic choice but there’s a portion of the movie where Jonathan Cross (Chris Klein) and Marcus Ridley (LL Cool J) are trying to escape the game and make a run for the border and it is shot in some sort of “night vision”. For me it was just an added layer of annoyance and at that point in the film, I was already pretty well annoyed.
- Taking It To The EXTREME: Kids back in 2002 liked two things, Hoobastank and things that were EXTREME and who better to call the EXTREME action than the mad genius behind Extreme Championship Wrestling, Paul Heyman. As a wrestling fan, this was one of the few bright spots in the movie. Heyman is a gifted speaker. Legend has it, that he told the ECW locker room that he was going out to California to negotiate a new TV deal for the organization but in reality he was there to film Rollerball… I wonder if he had anything to do with the cameo that Shane McMahon (son of Vince) makes in the film.
You can add my name of the list of people that say Rollerball was awful and definitely one not to watch. In fact one of the stars of the film, LL Cool J, also admitted the movie sucked when he was interviewed by Conan O’Brien to promote the film. Way to keep it real LL!