'Rollerball' a worthy
Some films just don't need to be remade.
Others ... well, there are a few movies that would benefit from a remake;
the story's message
would still have to be relevant, but with
the more appealing ways of making films today, audiences would get a better
With John McTiernan's remake of Norman
Jewison's Rollerball, the filmmaker does well. He doesn't attempt to make
it something it
wasn't the first time around.
McTiernan, an excellent director as far
as being able to supply a steady flow of action, tells William Harrison's
1975 short story just as
Jewison did. There are a few differences
in characters and setting, but the ideas are identical.
Also, Jewison's version was well before
its time; the futuristic themes in the earlier film can only benefit from
today's film techniques, not
to mention the remake's $80 million budget.
In short, both films focus on Harrison's
ideas that the corporate world's hand in something like sports is just
as corrupt as any other
ventures the magnates involve themselves
in to make money. The result of these huge businesses attempting to sell
sports is violence.
Rollerball is the futuristic sport used
as a vehicle to express just how corrupt a sport can get in such situations.
The game is similar to
roller derby, but the rules of the game
or who wins is never relevant in the film. There are hardly any rules and
those sitting in the owner's
box influence a majority of the penalties.
In other words, all the owners want to
see is violence, and they go to great lengths to stage unnecessary injuries
that come in the form of
staged head-bashings or motorcycles purposely
engulfed in flames, etc. There's even a "global instant rating" screen
that shows the
game's rating around the world as it's
being played. Once the violence begins, the ratings soar.
McTiernan does well by implementing fast-paced
camera movement and music or just a beat that drowns out most of the irrelevant
dialogue. The focus of Rollerball is to
portray the violence of the sport and the ways in which the owner, played
well by French actor
Jean Reno, controls his players.
McTiernan, who is known mostly for his
efforts in such films as Die Hard and Predator, never relies too much on
the acting to tell the
story. Perhaps producers liked what they
saw him do with Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger films he made
decent films with
sub-par acting talent.
Or maybe McTiernan was chosen for the simple
fact that this would be the second film of his in a row that's a remake
of a Jewison film,
the first being The Thomas Crown Affair.
Yes, Chris Klein does fill the lead role,
but Klein's character is nothing close to what he was asked to do for American
Pie or even Here
on Earth. Instead, Klein's acting was
never intended to be the spotlight in scenes where he could suffocate a
film with nonsense lines or
be asked to show how he's fallen in love
with mere facial expressions (a la Freddie Prinze Jr.).
Klein does just enough to portray Jonathan
Cross, a young National Hockey League hopeful who turns to the rollerball
arena after those
hopes are dimmed. His friend Marcus invites
him to play in the sport that is growing rapidly in the bowels of a few
For the most part, Klein's character is
not too keen on how corrupt the sport is as the Russian owner/businessman,
accommodates the star of the sport in
Even LL Cool J couldn't ruin this film
if he wanted to, since the actor/rapper's role as Cross's best friend isn't
a focus for more than a few
shots at a time. And when LL is attempting
to replicate his past performances from such films as Halloween: H2O or
Any Given Sunday,
whatever's coming out of his mouth is
not the most important dialogue in the film.
Supermodel Rebecca Romijn-Stamos' role
as a team member, Aurora, isn't focused on either — despite the fact that,
well, she's a
The filmmakers' idea not to highlight the
talent in Klein or Romijn-Stamos may not go over well with younger audiences,
but the original
story wasn't about coming up big at the
McTiernan's tweaking of the movie, which
was first slated for release in May of 2001, is probably the reason Rollerball
didn't result in a
disaster of a film. His in-your-face style
of directing does what was intended for this remake — it makes Jewison's
film more appealing for
a newer audience.
With Rollerball, the director made a decent
remake of a decent film.
Daily Cougar Staff
The highly anticipated film Collateral
Damage was pushed back after the events of Sept. 11 because its plot focuses
on terrorist attacks.
The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as
Gordy Brewer, a Los Angeles fireman who loses his wife and son to an embassy
After seeing the face of the terrorist
known as the Wolf, Brewer is determined to avenge the murder of his wife
and child. He then travels
to Colombia to tackle the guerillas and
take down the cocaine cartel.
The movie is packed with action, but you
may find it humorous because it is so ridiculous. The directors of this
movie forgot to make
Schwarzenegger wear his cape and fly.
Had this been a movie about a superhero it may have been more believable.
Gordy is a fireman, but he is mysteriously
equipped with a military advisor and a restricted passport to Columbia.
Brewer is smarter than
the FBI and CIA; he finds the guerillas'
camp without the help of either.
The unrealistic plot belittles the admirable
performances by funnyman John Leguizamo and Quiz Show prodigy John Turturro.
actors serve as comedic relief, but have
only brief appearances in the film.
The action scenes include bombings, fires
and fights. There are many action sequences, but they are short-lived.
When you become
interested in the fights or guerilla wars,
it quickly ends.
The twist in the end is enjoyable, but
you have to sit through the entire movie to see it.
The film assumes its audience is concerned
only with a patriotic theme, which is incidentally the only asset of this
This film has been done several times.
There are many other movies with plots similar to Collateral Damage and
they are still better than
Do not see this movie at theaters and do
not rent it when it is released on video. Wait until one of the major networks
Damage as a Sunday night special so you
can watch it for free. But even then, you may still find there could have
been a better movie to
Daily Cougar Staff