Logline: Chris Klein is a hockey player who does something illegal and extreme sports-y, so he goes to Central Asia to join his friend LL Cool J in the game of Rollerball, a game in which…no. Fuck you, movie.
Another late night at the College Inn Pub, another stout Stout hangover (“Gretchen, stop trying to make ‘stout Stout hangover’ happen! It’s not going to happen!”), and now I have to write about a movie that, during the rewatch yesterday, confused me to the point of anger. I’m still not sure if I’m capable of much else other than publishing my viewing notes, but I’m also not sure if director John McTiernan’s incomprehensible science-fiction-extreme-sports-Soviet-dystopia-plus-Rebecca-Romijn-has-boobs-and-a-funny-Russian-accent-plus-silly-masks-action-thriller deserves anything more.
I’m going to stick by that logic. Don’t pretend like you wanted to see a deep, thought-provoking blog entry about John McTiernan’s Rollerball. It’s simply not worth it. Consider this an anti-review. Call it Dadaist if you want.
Is It Better Or Worse Than I Remember?
What’s Better About The Film?
That I’m not watching it anymore.
What’s Worse About The Film?
What Did I Learn From This Experience?
Why do I have a copy of this movie? “It was free” doesn’t seem to cut it anymore.
[Angry, Violent,] Free-Floating Thoughts:
Chris Klein is in a lot of terrible films, but I still refuse to call him a terrible actor. I have no real evidence for this other than Election, which in hindsight now seems less like acting and more like brilliant casting on Alexander Payne’s part.
Why is this opening San Francisco street luge scene filmed in such a dark, muddy fashion? I know that San Francisco is a very gray city (something Hollywood movies tend to get wrong), but I still need to be able to see what’s happening.
Can’t swing it in hockey? Do Rollerball in the distant future of 2005! In Kazakhstan!
LL Cool J, much like Harrison Ford, is extremely capable at inhabiting ridiculous films without looking foolish. I’ll follow this maniac anywhere.
So the citizens of Kazakhstan filed a lawsuit against Borat, but not the Rollerball remake?
Stevi on the film’s costuming, paraphrased: “This is strange. Even though they’re wearing masks and heavy clothing that obscures almost their entire bodies, they still feel the need to differentiate the genders via their outfits.”
This was held back from theatres for nine months. Oh, Dumpuary film releases. (Phrase trademarked by Grantland.com)
Jean Reno: Vodka!
Did I blink and miss Pink’s cameo?
Stevi: “Oh, so Rollerball is roller derby plus Quidditch.”
Stevi on Naveen Andrews’ terrible haircut: “He looks like brown Alan Rickman.”
Why is Twiki from Buck Rogers one of the athletes?
LL Cool J warning Chris Klein about a violent competitor: “It could be PCP for all you know. That dude doesn’t feel anything.”
Rollerball is a terrible sport. I need to finally sit down and watch the original soon, because that version of the game just has to be better than this bullshit.
“Is it true your mother is a crackwhore?” LL Cool J is about to get all Naval Criminal Investigative Service: Los Angeles on your ass, Russian journalist.
This film’s portrayal of athletes’ excessive lifestyles has nothing on Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday.
From the IMDb goofs section: Mongolians do not speak Cantonese.
John Stamos fucked up. Apparently, Rebecca Romijn lifts weights topless.
Oh, hey Slipknot. I forgot you were a thing.
Blah blah blah bored. Time to screw around on Letterboxd.com. (Does anybody need an invite? I have three to send out right now. Give me your e-mail address.)
I can’t believe I let slip my mind the major central action sequence (at least seven minutes long) filmed entirely in night vision. Additionally, it seems that a sound designer trolled the movie by inserting a Hanna-Barbera boioioioioioiiiiing sound effect in the middle of it. This is…this is awful. This is like theKnight Rider remake. What happened to you, John McTiernan? (I’m talking purely in terms of aesthetic talent. Let’s not even get into his legal trouble with the FBI.)
I bet the writers thought that Chris Klein killing all of Jean Reno’s henchmen with a rollerball was a metaphor.
Ah yes, one of those endings where the heroes murder everybody.
Freeze frame on Chris Klein’s bloody face. Cue bad Rob Zombie song. Roll credits.
There’s no reason this should’ve cost $70 million. It looks like a TV movie on Spike.
From Keith Phipps’ review:
Rollerball was reportedly tampered with extensively over the months since its planned release last summer, and the signs that it’s been edited past the point of comprehensibility arrive early. Before the movie’s first match, Cool J turns to Klein and asks, “You got your armadillo on?” The comment makes sense eventually, but it initially sounds jarringly bizarre.
From Ebert’s review:
The funniest line in the movie belongs to Reno, who bellows, “I’m this close to a North American cable deal!” North American cable carries Battling Bots, Iron Chefs, Howard Stern and Monster Truck Rallies. There isn’t a person in the audience who couldn’t get him that deal.