7 March 2003 | pzanardo
How to get an awful mess remaking a good film
I suspected 2002 "Rollerball" was an ugly movie, but not that ugly! Well, let's get rid of the only merit of the movie: the presence of Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, beautiful and tremendously sexy. Indeed, a statuesque female warrior is always sexy, all the more with that alluring scar on her face.
The tragic fact with "Rollerball" is that the story should be good, per se. The authors took the ideas from the original (and true) 1975 "Rollerball". They deleted the political and moral messages, which were somewhat a weakness of the 1975 film, and placed the story in some remote countries of a near future, allegedly ruled by violence, greed, abuse. But the way the film is made turns it into a disaster.
There is an over-long (and boring) preamble, with a race down-hill of some cretinous youngsters, in San Francisco. This is a great narrative mistake. The audience is anxious to know about the Rollerball game, and you excruciate them with idiots, easily found, alas!, in everyday life. In the next scene Jonathan (a remarkably blunt Chris Klein) has become the undisputed superstar of the Rollerball. We don't understand anything of the rules of the game. As a matter of fact, we don't understand anything of the plot! The guys on the screen keep talking about other guys, seemingly killed by the bad ones, or something like that. Who are who? The audience utterly ignores it. The next scene (say: someone escaping from somewhere) has no logical connection with the previous one. I bet that in the final editing of the movie a good 30 minutes were cut, making the story a complete mess. The only thing we get is that the villains deliberately provoke accidents on the field to raise the TV audience of the game. And then there is the lousy greenish nocturnal scene. Up to my knowledge, the worst visual idea in the history of cinema. Some 15 minutes of sufferings for the innocent viewer. The ending is even more ludicrous than expected.
But what is really incredible, even in a terrible movie, is that, in spite of the enormous technological improvements, the scenes of the game, and related special effects, are by far less spectacular, exciting, violent than those of the 1975 "Rollerball". The possibly interesting presence of women playing Rollerball is not exploited at all. The uniforms of the teams are worse than horrible, they are stupid.
There's nothing to save in "Rollerball". Just take Romijn-Stamos and bring her to another movie (keeping the scar on her face, if possible).