Movie Name: Rollerball
Studio: Mosaic Media Group
Release Date(s): February 8, 2002
MPAA Rating: R
Jonathan Cross (Chris Klein) has lived the extreme. When he learns about Rollerball from his friend Marcus Ridley (LL Cool J), it seems like a perfect fit for his abilities. Jonathan becomes a star in the Rollerball circuit while playing for Alexi Petrovich (Jean Reno) in foreign countries where the sport is thriving. When Jonathan, Marcus, and his girlfriend Aurora (Rebecca Romijn) learn that something is corrupt inside when a teammate is killed for ratings. Now, Jonathan must find a way out of the game, but Petrovich wants him to play until he dies.
Directed by John McTiernan, Rollerball is a “reimagining” of the 1975 cult classic film Rollerball based on the 1973 short “Roller Ball Murder” by William Harrison. The movie was universally panned by critics and a box office failure. The movie was nominated for a Razzie for Worst Supporting Actress (Romijn) and often considered one of the worst films of the 2000s.
Rollerball was a great film that could have done with some modernization. There were aspects of the filmed that were dated and the type of film that Rollerball was could have been done in a way that really added to the movie and enriched it…instead, you get this really rotten remake.
The story is made a modern story with events that could really happen instead of a dystopian story. It isn’t the worst idea, but it is so poorly executed here. The movie’s script is jumbled and slow. It doesn’t seem to have any idea where it is going with characters who just bumble along. The movie loses the powerful message of the first movie and just ends in a garble of a quasi-revolution and a hook-up with a girl.
The cast was pretty big for how bad the movie turned out. Chris Klein was a horrible choice for a lead and LL Cool J would have been a better choice. Rebecca Romijn plays the moody, scarred Aurora who really doesn’t seem to do much in the plot. Jean Reno has been in better movies like Leon: The Professional, but he’s also starred in stinkers like this. The movie also features Naveen Andrews and appearances by Pink and the band Slipknot.
I will give some credit to the visuals of Rollerball. Rollerball needed an update and it needed to be extreme like today’s extreme sports amplified. I liked some of the costume stuff, but the film was shot in a rotten way including an extended sequence shot in nightvision that was really more irritating than cool.
Rollerball is a bad film and not a “so-bad-it-is-good” film. It feels long, and it is boring. It is sad that a great concept that could have been good was wasted and now Rollerball is dead. Hollywood however is lazy and what used to take years to remake now can be remade in a few years…so maybe Rollerball will skate again.
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