Friday, February 8, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 89


 
 









 

'Rollerball' a worthy remake

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 film.

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 countries overseas.

For the most part, Klein's character is not too keen on how corrupt the sport is as the Russian owner/businessman, Petrovic (Reno),
accommodates the star of the sport in every way.

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
supermodel.

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 box office.

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.

Rollerball

MGM Studios

Rated PG

3 stars

—Geronimo Rodriguez

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 bombing by
Colombian guerrillas.

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. Both
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 film.

This film has been done several times. There are many other movies with plots similar to Collateral Damage and they are still better than
this movie.

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 airs Collateral
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
watch.

Collateral Damage 

Warner Brothers

Rated R

1 star

—Becky Proctor

Daily Cougar Staff
 
 
 
 
 

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