The first action sequence has 'Jonathan' flying down San Francisco streets on some kind of skateboard thing, kinda like a toboggan or something. Its pointless, bland, completely uninteresting and makes no difference to the plot, just like the entire film. It is there we find out Chris Klein is our hero, playing the role James Caan did so well, what is totally ridiculous is in no way does Klein look like he could be a powerful 'Rollerball' player.
As for the game itself its a horrific mess of over the top unrequired gloss that is completely the opposite from the original material. All the players are decked out in pathetic costumes that look like something from a mardi gras, the women are squeezed into rubber/latex fetish outfits (I quite liked that) and the helmets worn just make you laugh, talk about nonfunctional for the game. Everything in this film is needlessly blown out of proportion whilst also ejecting the entire sterilised political bigbrother type concepts of the first film.
The other hilarious issue with this film, apart from the pantomime like costumes on the players, is the track or arena. The track where the games are held in the original film was a large circular hard surfaced arena like in speed skating (without the ice naturally). In this remake the track is a figure 8 shape with ramps, dips, bumps, high levels and what looks like chutes to skate down, in short it looks like a kids skateboard park cross adventure playground.
This whole concept completely removes you the viewer from the film as there is simply no way the huge amount of players and bikes could fit on this pathetic track/arena. You can see they don't in many shots throughout the film!, its a total fudge up I tell ya, a funny one at that. The action is a horrible muddle of skating, blood, fighting and stupid bike stunts all crammed within this tiny arena, at the same time you have other players skating down from higher levels or platforms for no apparent reason other than to look cool in the film.
Oh and the track/arena had its own rock band on the sidelines to play the right tone of metal to accompany the in-game violence. Do I need to mention how jokey that is? yes...yes I do, it was embarrassingly jokey, just like the oversized helmets some of the players wore.
I understand that the original 77 film had limitations of tech for the era and I'm sure it may have been more stylised and flashy if the creators had the modern benefits this 02 film had. But like many other films ('Star Wars') the limitations of the time proved to be the films winning key, this element like other modern films has been lost completely here.
Instead we are presented with an absolute turd of a film with shockingly bad 'action' set pieces (despite not actually requiring major action set pieces for the plot), dreadful visuals that might as well be that 'Gladiators' TV show complete with glitter and sparkles, a god awful thrash/heavy metal soundtrack just in case you forgot this film was suppose to be tough and your obligatory dire big name cast hot of the heels of other poor major blockbusters (yeah stick him/her in it, big name, can't go wrong, doesn't matter if they actually fit the role or not pfft!).
The finale is a typical example of how less is more. The whole film is an example of how less is more frankly but the ending is so cliched and dumb it was awkward to watch.
A vile modern remake that deservedly flopped bigtime thank god. Its just a shock that McTiernan was behind the camera for this, the man who gave us 'Die Hard' and 'Predator' for fudges sake!.
This disgusting piece of cinema is a remake of a minor classic from the 70's. The original wasn't that good, pretty boring actually so why bother making a remake of it?
The story is simple and stupid, the dialogue is awful and the acting is something that all of those who participated in the making of this movie should be ashamed of. Jean Reno was probably druged when he signed the contract...
"Rollerball" is something that the MTV generation could probbaly like. Fast editing, loud music and women in leather. I like women in leather also but not in "Rollerball"!
This film should be avoided by all and all of the copies that are available for you to watch should be burned and buried.
[font=Arial][color=darkred]Jonathan Cross (Chris Klein) is an NHL draft pick in trouble with the law after a stupid high speed street race. His pal Marcus Ridley (LL Cool J) tells him of a new extreme sport catching on in Central Asia, and Jonathan accepts his offer. The two are enjoying their success in Spandex but start to have reservations when they notice Petrovich including more violence as a ratings booster. Jonathan can't just look the other way. Because he's the good guy. So after a botched escape (shot infuriatingly all in what seems like Night Vision green) he collects his fellow ballers to rebel against Petrovich and whatever.[/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=darkred]As you can easily see, the story of Rollerball is not exactly its strong point. Not that there is a strong point in Rollerball.[/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=darkred]The original Rollerball came out in 1975 and was full of political themes like corporate dictatorships and Orwellian observations on a dominated, passive society where war and nationalism have been replaced with a roller sport. Though the themes of this James Caan vehicle were a bit heavy-handed at times, the action was rather impressive especially as the corporations try their best to squash Caan in a bloody onslaught of an ending. The 1975 Rollerball had a political message and some nice action. What does the 2002 version have? Try banality and plenty of it.[/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=darkred]Klein is possibly the blandest action hero since Ralph Macchio tried to wax a car. Klein came to the limelight through movies like American Pie and Election, and if his dimwitted deer-in-headlights look wasn't doing it for you before then God help you with his performance in Rollerball. Klein is like Keanu-lite, only one calorie but still the same horrible taste.[/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=darkred]Rebecca Romijn-Stamos plays Klein's teammate and lover on the Rollerball circuit. He tells her at one point that her face isn't as bad as she feels (she has a scar over one eye but still looks mighty hot), proving Klein has indeed seen her blue-nude performance in X-Men. Reno deserves a trophy for even delivering the majority of his lines with a straight face.[/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=darkred]Oh how the mighty have fallen John McTiernan. You once directed such great 80s action movies like Die Hard, The Hunt for the Red October, and Predator but now you spend your days remaking old Norman Jewison films. It began with the lukewarm remake of The Thomas Crown Affair and now a boring re-cooking of Rollerball follows it up. Can a remake of F.I.S.T. or Fiddler on the Roof be the only thing we have to look forward to now?[/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=darkred]The most jarring problem with Rollerball, and there are so many to choose from, is the hack editing choices made. The way the movie plays one wonders if they threw all their footage in a wood chipper and grabbed whatever pieces they could and glued them into a movie. Scenes exist but appear in no discernible pattern or order. All one sees in their chair is a whirl of colors and you might be wondering if you stepped into Kaleidoscope: The Motion Picture.[/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=darkred]The story behind this Rollerball was that it was originally slated to come out August of 2001, but after test screenings that left people howling the studio bumped it to the winter and cut it from an R to a more commercial PG-13. Lost in this cost-cutting maneuver are gore (which you would think would be important for a violent future Gladiator sport) and a full-frontal nude scene involving Romijn-Stamos. Which version would you have rather seen?[/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=darkred]Rollerball is a laughably noisy and empty film that will leave your head spinning for all the wrong reasons. It's likely the worst flick you'll see for 2002 right now, that is, until the following week when Britney's train wreck of a film debut opens. But until that time Rollerball is the true champion - of boredom and stupidity.[/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=darkred]Nate's Grade: D- [/color][/font]
The action seen in the '75 make is far more dramatic and satisfying in that it is much better supported by the plotline's underlying conflicts and philosophical questions regarding the nature of man and society. And Caan delivers a fine performance to boot.
So sad that that shallow-headed Hollywood execs keep going back to its vault-list of great films and then basting them with tepid success formulations - - rather than actually allowing new, original screenplays of quality to simmer to the surface.
The issue is, of course, that such executives would actually have to possess the talent to recognize such quality when it bubbles up.
RECOMMENDATION: See Caan shine. Go for Rollerball (1975).
The plot was...no.
The acting was...no.
The effects and cinematography were...no.
The ending was...nonexistent.
The soundtrack - yes, finally something - the soundtrack was decent enough.
Next time, just play the original twice, because it's twice as good.