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video review out of 4 Movie Review: Rollerball

Starring: Chris Klein, L.L. Cool J
Director: John McTiernan
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 104 Minutes
Release Date: February 2002
Genres: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action, Sports

*Also starring: Jean Reno, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Andrew Bryniarski

Review by Steve Rhodes
½ star out of 4

ROLLERBALL, a DRIVEN for the skateboard and rollerblade set, is loud, silly, stupid and pointless. Fast editing, dark lighting and close-up shooting is used in an attempt to cover up the lack of a story. The sport, rollerball, a human pinball game, manages to make even less sense than the movie itself, which is no small feat. A remake of an already ridiculous picture, it shouldn't have been made in the first place. Reportedly pulled and recut after disastrous test screenings last summer, it's hard to see how the movie could be any worse than the mean-spirited and ugly version that was just released. If I my son hadn't wanted to see it all, there is no doubt that I would have walked out.

Director John McTiernan made a terrible casting choice for the lead, choosing baby-faced innocent Chris Klein to play Jonathan Cross. Klein can be effective in the right role, his sweet performance in ELECTION being his best. But, as an action hero, he is miles out of his league. Suffice it to say that he's no James Caan, who played Klein's part in the original. Let's hope that McTiernan doesn't next try to remake THE TERMINATOR with Kevin Spacey taking over from Arnold Schwarzenegger.

It's hard to find anything to admire in this piece of garbage, but I must admit I did smile a few times at Jean Reno's hammy performance as the sport's entrepreneur looking for his Holy Grail, "a North American cable deal." As he sits high up in the owner's box, he screams lines like, "Vodka! Vodka!" The studio should find it cheap to distribute the film abroad since subtitling would be a waste of money. All of the dialog is senseless.

ROLLERBALL runs 1:38 but feels like four hours. It is rated PG-13 for "violence, extreme sports action, sensuality, language and some drug references" and would be acceptable for kids around 12 and up.

My son Jeffrey, age 12, gave it just one star. Although he liked the rollerball action, he complained that the plot was dull and stupid. He especially hated the ending, which he thought made no sense.

Copyright 2002 Steve Rhodes

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