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Introduction
I went to my local video store and figured I'd just rent out two of the most attrocious movies this century (apparently) and have a good "crap-night" in for once - the other movie I saw was Queen Of The Damned, review online.

"This is the funkiest Rollerskating Diner I've EVER been to!"
Unfortunately, Rollerball [2001] tends to fold in on itself because much of the dramatic content was butchered out by MGM only so we get to the action asap - the continually unexplained changes in motivation from the leading players as well as the simplistic observation of corporations manipulating society leaves us with little to ponder about at all.  This means that the audience has very little interest in where the characters end up, and the lack of a deleted scenes archive on this DVD doesn't help the video sales of this movie either.  Having said all that, the Rollerdomes are quite visually inventive but the goals themselves look a lot like paper-maché plungers (not like the original 1975 metallic cone-suckers!).  John McTiernan of Die Hard 1 & 3 fame directed this one, too.

Movie
Set in the near future (seems just like yesterday, really) we see the old cliché of two characters, Jonathon Cross (Chris Klein) and Marcus Ridley (LL Cool J), literally bumping into each other to utter a few lines of much-needed exposition about their lives and plans for retirement.  Jump ahead a few deleted scenes later and watch our hero "Jon-A-Ton" joining up with Ridley's Rollerball team (something John said he wouldn't do before, huh?).  Along the way, Chris gets it on with the team bike(r) Aurora (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) all whilst battling the forces of corporate evil with sports guru Petrovich (Jean Reno), then it's one unrelated set-scene after another with everyone chasing their own tail trying to save the world from big business artificially bumping up the Nielsen Ratings!

"Awooga Awooga, Awah Awah ... Awooga Awooga, Awaaah!"
This movie is indeed set in the future, but the only thing that has any remoteness to a time unlike our own is the decidely retro-looking cheap-plasticy gear worn by the players on the Rollerdome itself - this is obviously meant as a tribute to the original 1975 incarnation of the movie.  Either that or the art department thought they could relive Andrew Lloyd Webber's Starlight Express just one more time through this flick, hehe.

Video
Hardly anything to fault here, except for the night-shots.  The transfer of this image is razor-sharp with a funky delineation of colours, solid black/shadow detail and no grain to speak of - that is until you watch the outside nighttime sequences.  There is an obvious effort to make the nightlife of San Fransisco a really hip place to be (just like in Driven), but this unusual filming technique makes much of the environment look kind of flat and lifeless, even with all the flashy cars and motorbikes zooming around.

"I knew I should have stayed back in France ..."
Audio
Again, the worst (produced, not directed) movies get the best treatment on DVD, there is little that disappoints about the interactivity of this soundmix, except maybe the movie itself really.  Dialogue is quite easy to understand except at the very beginning where the subtitles reveal that people are actually saying something and not just hanging around for the hell of it (something I didn't pick up on earlier).  The rear speakers get the whole gamut of use, from the calm environmental settings right up to the hard-core split-channel surround effects.  The subwoofer also suitably grounds all this growling activity with a presence that gives a wonderful "being there" feel to it.  A flashy soundmix for a flash-cut movie.

The French and Spanish dubs are, as usual, hilarious to those who don't speak the language(s) and are not very well sonically integrated to the rest of the aural environment.

"Take your hand off me left nut or I'll run you over myself."
Extras
The audio commentary is kind of like Dr Jeckyl and Mr Hyde for me ... the dialogue from Chris Klein and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos is a fun and easy-going banter about their filming experiences with cast & crew, whereas the obviously edited-in LL Cool J just acts like a rap-cool sports commentator going yee-hah all the time with stupid quips like "Yeah, Go Chris!" (although he does manage to say one or two things of poignancy).  Then there's the Rollerball Yearbook with all its overhyped lack of information regarding the Teams, Players, Game Gear, and Rollerdome itself ... the first two sections contain thirty-second video Highlight Reels which have little or no bearing on what preceded it from the text-information (which details their supposed "methodus operandi") and there are some interesting pics on the helmet headgear but little else than that.  The theatrical trailer of this movie (and three others) are of the same quality as the main feature present on this disc.  There is also an easter egg in the form of a Rob Zombie music video, nothing terribly remarkable of course.

"Bitch !" ... "Slut !"
Summary
I suppose this is an admirable way of wasting 90 minutes of your life and being able to come out of it thinking that you've been entertained (sort of), maybe if you could just turn the brain off and not concentrate on any remnant of a plot.  The dialogue is cool, the action is fun and you can't go past a bit of totty every once in a while ... but when it comes down to it, will this be the disc that sits in your "guilty pleasure" library for that inevitable dose of mindless plotless bang-splat action, or are you just so intelligent that you'll want to stay awake attemtping to analyse the point that it's trying to make (whatever that is!)


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