Violent Rollerball Has Little to Recommend
- Friday, February 08, 2002
Rollerball - PG-13
Best for: Mature audiences only
What it's about: It's the year 2005, and Rollerball, part roller derby/part hockey, is a popular sport in Asia. The American players on the international team are Jonathan Cross (Chris Klein) and his friend and fellow teammate Marcus Ridley (LL Cool J). Jonathan is the team's star until he notices team owner Alexi Petrovich (Jean Reno) injuring the players to make the game more popular and profitable. He and Marcus devise a way to expose the owner, but it ends up putting the two in a dangerous situation. Rebecca Romijn-Stamos plays Jonathan's love interest.
The good: The best and most thrilling part of this movie is the beginning, when Jonathan is shown racing down the hilly city streets of San Francisco on elongated skateboards, zipping through traffic, stop signs and busy intersections. Klein and Cool J are perfectly cast, and both prove they can play action/adventure roles. But they're saddled with a poor script.
This is a remake of a 1975 film that was visionary for its time, but in our current society, with its legal rules and constant litigation, the violence seems a little far-fetched. All of the players skate fast around the Rollerball track, jumping ramps, knocking each other down, shoving, punching and flipping each other, while two people on motorcycles create further commotion.
I liked how Rollerball showed how greed for ratings and corporate money end up ruining the sport and ultimately destroying it. Klein and Romijn-Stamos have great chemistry together, but this isn't a movie for general audiences because of the violence.
The not-so-good: Rollerball is too violent and full of R-rated material. I don't know how it received a PG-13 rating.
Offensive language and behavior: An abundant amount of what's four-letter words, including one "F"-word. Several uses of religious profanity and exclamations. A woman player gives the finger to another. Various characters drink and/or smoke constantly, and drug references are made about one player.
Sexual situations: Various male players in the locker room have only towels around their waists. Various women wear revealing costumes, including S&M leather outfits. Jonathan sees a fellow player working out nude and seduces her in the locker room (partial female nudity). Other scantily clad women are seen in various scenes.
Violence: This is a violent and bloody movie with numerous people killed in various ways (too many scenes to list each one). Athletes are hit, shot to death, run over with a motorcycle, and one character is even outnumbered and tortured by opposing teammates. The violence is extreme and graphic to both men and women.
Parental advisory: This movie deserves an R rating and is definitely too adult for kids or young teens. Parents keep your kids away from this one!
Bottom Line: This is not a movie I can recommend because of the extreme amount of violence and animalistic behavior.
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