Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.5.
USA/Germany/Japan, 2002. Atlas Entertainment, Helkon Media, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Mosaic Media Group, Toho-Towa, Yorktown Productions. Screenplay by Larry Ferguson, John Pogue, based on the 1975 screenplay by William Harrison and his short story Roller Ball Murder. Cinematography by Steve Mason. Produced by John McTiernan, Charles Roven, Beau St. Clair. Music by Eric Serra. Production Design by Dennis Bradford, Norman Garwood. Costume Design by Kate Harrington. Film Editing by Robert K. Lambert, John Wright.
The second time that John McTiernan has remade a Norman Jewison film hasn’t been nearly as succesful as the first (see The Thomas Crown Affair). Edited sloppily after almost a year of post-production madness that included reshoots and massive re-cuts, the weak story of this film features a boneheaded performance by Chris Klein as a burned out thrillseeker who signs up to play Rollerball, an ultraviolent sport that incorporates rollerblading, hockey and a tough silver ball. The game is hugely popular in the Middle East and is making team owners rich over there. Klein and LL Cool J are Rollerball’s star players, and they are enjoying a luxurious life of fine cars and beautiful women until they realize that their corrupt team owner (Jean Reno) is arranging for accidents to occur on the set of the game to increase the show’s ratings. The film has some exciting moments, as well as some excellent stunts, but for the most part its story doesn’t manage to actually peak anywhere or even feel like it has the least amount of substance. Rebecca Romijn is wasted as a fellow teammate who starts out all tough and ends up just being another girl in search of a man to love.