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Rollerball (2002)

DVD Cover (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
Movie Connections:
Rollerball
> Rollerball (1975)
> Rollerball (2002)
Genres:
Action, Sci-Fi Action, Science Fiction, Sports Drama
Director:
John McTiernan John McTiernan
Starring:
Chris Klein Chris Klein
Jean Reno Jean Reno
LL Cool J LL Cool J
Rebecca Romijn Rebecca Romijn
Naveen Andrews Naveen Andrews

3.0 / 10 - Overall Rating

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In this fast action-packed thriller, Jonathan, Marcus, and Aurora compete in a dangerous, fierce sport called Rollerball. Although Johnathan and Marcus try to quit, cruel and vindictive promoter Alexi Petrovich encourages them to still participate. --TMDb
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Review by Crispy
Added: November 10, 2012
1975's Rollerball was a great film. It was beautifully acted with a subtle message that lies just to the side of the film's main focus. Twenty-seven years later, all of that is tossed in the trash and replaced with a loud, flashy affair about how humanity loves violence.

NHL hopeful Johnathan Cross' career isn't exactly moving as smoothly as he'd like to. He just can't seem to break out into the majors, and runs street luging matches to pick up a few extra bucks. But when one door closes a window opens and all that, and his buddy Marcus has just gotten back from Russia. You see he's achieved superstar status over there as a biker in the sport of rollerball, a brutal X-Game affair played with motorcycles, rollerblades and a grapefruit-sized solid steel ball. Cross takes his offer to join the league and by mid-season he's the leading scorer. Granted, he does kind of grate on his teammates with his cocky ball-hogging (especially the smoking hot biker, Aurora), but whatever. The crowd's chanting his name every night, and the team's promoter, Alexi Petrovich, loves him. Of course, it's a full-contact sport, and people do get hurt every here and there. However, it's kind of odd that right before an especially brutal "accident" all the cameras zoom into that spot.

Damned do we have some problems here. For starters, the movie is unabashedly aimed at fifteen year olds. Even the game itself has been retooled to be "UBER-EXTREEEME!" The simple roller derby derivative has been ramped up to something out of the X-Games: the circular track has been changed to a figure 8, there's some tunnel over the top of it for no reason whatsoever, and ramps everywhere to get some ups! As you can imagine, it's convoluted as hell, and I never really did understand this "new and improved" rollerball. Also, the music has been totally cheapened; the super effective use of Bach was replaced by a rocking soundtrack by the nu-metal/alternative acts of the time, including a cameo performance by the masked Slipknot. In fact, there's cameos from pretty much everyone that age bracket would appreciate: ECW's Paul Heyman, WWF's Shane McMahon, Ford Mustang's Carroll Shelby and punk/pop rocker P!nk.

I caught this movie for the first time in theaters, and at the ripe old age of fifteen, I was the exact target audience McTiernan was aiming at, and you know what. I'll admit it. I liked it. After watching it again eleven years later, I can tell you without a doubt that this movie is atrocious. There's not an ounce of charisma in any of our main stars, and The cliche-ridden plot is about as shallow as it gets; and that's before we even begin to compare it to the original movie. Every praising sentence in my review for that film that went something along the lines of "it's not the tired cliche of A, but B" is inverted here. Rollerball '02 is every "A" I mentioned. I'll give them the one scene after a teammate gets hurt where Johnathan gets the band playing and rallies his team around the track; it was a well-shot scene, but everything else is one long music video. The film is unashamedly a flash-in-the-pan affair designed to make some money and then be forgotten.

As its own movie, Rollerball '02 earns maybe a 2/10 for some brain-dead entertainment and pseudo-nude scenes with Rebecca Romijn, but as a remake, that score is somewhere far into the negatives. Either way, don't waste your time with this crap.
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