With Chris Klein, Jean Reno, LL Cool J, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos
Directed by John McTiernan

If you've seen, know & love the original film version of the short story, then catching this remake will be a superb disappointment. Rollerball is a high speed, high action arena game on roller skates and motorcycles - the object to bang a steel ball that gets shot around the circuit into the goal. A super-extreme Gladiator-Basketball hybrid, if you will. The original was a look at the future and how huge corporations run the world. They pacify the sheepish population with this violent game, pushing one up as a superstar. With this remake, the corruption in game management (causing violence for ratings) overpowers the first outing's balance of impact and message. But, not having read the short story, I cannot say to what degree these elements and many others were present in its first incarnation on paper. The new version also emphasizes the modern sport angle far more and unlike the great 70s original, is not exactly set too far in the future and teams are multi-national as opposed to the strict country oriented battles in the ring. Our leading man has the presence of an eggplant, not even close to the shadow of original leading man, James Caan. It seems as if his stiff Keanu Reeves qualities were sought - was our guy on tour with his band
Dogstar or too busy with the new Matrix movies? LL Cool J does his best to live up to his middle name while the female inserted team-mate-love-interest is sure hot, but hardly effective in the overall scheme of things. Luc Besson favourite, Jean Reno is enjoyable as the ruthless team owner, but becomes a stereotypical caricature. It feels as though somebody paged through the new version of the script and removed chunks to shorten the whole affair, which still feels a bit long. Then there are sporadic moments like an extensive night chase shot with a grainy green night vision look - fine for a few minutes, but the entire scene? McTiernan has made some great action movies like the
Die Hard series, but needn't have bothered with this. At least now the first movie got a renewed interest widescreen, digital DVD release as a result, so do yourself a favour and get that in stead. The highlight of this muddled flashy joke is the brief moment that masked mayhem band Slipknot performs live!

2 / C
- PB

1 2 3 4 5 6
B - C

never let a review decide for you, but for those who need a rating, see the Flamedrop scale below
6 - Volcanic
5 - Blistering
4 - Hot
3 - Smolder
2 - Room Temperature
1 - Fizzled
0 - Extinguished

A: Multi-Viewing Potential

B: Could Enjoy A 2nd Look

C: Once Should Suffice

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