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February 11, 2002 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-02-11

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, February 11, 2002


Awful 'Rollerball' fails to live up to 1975 version

By Jeff Dickerson
Daily Arts Editor
There are certain elements to a movie the average
film viewer takes for granted. Plot, acting, continuity,
editing and lighting - the building blocks for a
motion picture - often go unnoticed. In one of the
most bewildering moves in recent Hollywood memory,
director John McTiernan attempts, and fails miserably,
at remaking the 1975 Norman Jewison cult film
"Rollerball" without following the fundamental ground
rules of filmmaking.
"Rollerball" is a disaster movie, but not in the ways
that "Volcano"
and "Earth-
quake" are
movies. Bad
acting, an
narrative and
plot holes run
amok in this
a c t i o n
C o n -
EM ha ye n -

tional logic is thrown aside from the onset, and by the
end of the 98 minutes the viewer has gone through an
experience that incorporates the pains of child birth
and circumcision (as an adult) wrapped
into one agonizing package.
The story begins on the hilly streets of
San Francisco as protagonist Jonathon
Cross (Chris Klein, "American Pie") street
sleds through traffic and police cars in a ROLLE
"Fast and the Furious" meets "Bullitt"
action sequence. The NHL hopeful returns At Show
home to fibd an armada of police officers Quali
surrounding his apartment, apparently M(
street sledding in San Francisco is the
equivalent of first degree murder. His best
friend, Marcus Ridley (LL Cool J, "Deep Blue Sea"),
invites him to Central Asia to participate in the hottest
new sport in the world, rollerball.
Four months later, Jonathon is the Wilt Chamberlain
of rollerball, as hundreds of foreign fans chant his
name as he gleefully skates around the rink. In the brief
time he has become romantically involved with Aurora
(Rebecca Romijn Stamos, "X-Men"), one of his team-
mates. Alexi Petrovich (Jean Reno, "The Professional")
controls all aspects of the thriving sport, with his eyes
on a North American cable deal. Petrovich does every-
thing in his power to ensure high ratings by provoking
fights and violence. By the end of the game the ratings


quadruple, at least according to the global ratings indi-
The game itself is never fully explained to the view-
er. Psuedo-athletes, decked out in absurd
costumes and not-so-convincing accents,
run circles around a multi-colored track,
all pursuing the evasive rollerball. Throw-
ing the ball into the satellite shaped target
ERBALL results in a slew of fireworks and a point
on the scoreboard. How invigorating.
vcase and Chris Klein may very well be the first
ity 16 unsuccessful clone of Keanu Reeves. His
first feature film, "Election," showcased
GM the young "actor" as a dim-witted high
school jock. After "American Pie" and
"Here on Earth," it became apparent Klein was never
actually acting, he is simply an idiot.
Originally slated for a summer 2001 release with an
R rating, "Rollerball" went through massive re-cuts
and re-shoots to obtain a more box office friendly PG-
13 label. Uncle Jessie's better half, Rebecca Romijn-
Stamos, had her nude scenes removed and digitally
altered with shadows to cover up adult oriented body
parts. Romijn-Stamos fumbles with her role, concen-
trating more on her scantily clad (and often naked)
body rather than remembering her accent.
"Rollerball" is the kind of movie that warrants pun-
ishment placed on all who were involved in the mak-

Klein is Reeves, Reeves is Klein. Potato. Potato.
ing of the film. Maybe blame can be placed on MGM,
which took control away from director John McTier-
nan. In the late '80's, John McTiernan was the premier
action director with "Predator" and "Die Hard," but
with the release of "Rollerball" he has solidified him-
self as the worst director in the industry.

Schwarzenegger proves more than
damaged goods in new 'Collateral'

By Matt Orandstaff
Weekend Magazine Editor
In early September of 2001, the previews
for "Collateral Damage" appeared to reveal

life torn apart when he witnesses his wife
and son die from a terrorist attack on a
Columbian embassy in Los Angeles.
Following the death of his family, Brewer
goes into a deep depression, which is
snapped when a Columbian reporter states

nothing more than a typical
Schwarzenegger shoot-em-up
action flick with the film's plot
being pure terrorism cliche.
Following the horrible events
of Sept. 11, however, the film's
theme hit too close to home for
the producers of the film, and
it was delayed indefinitely.
Five months later, "Collater-
al Damage" has finally hit the-__
aters nationwide. But while the
country has had time to heal from

At Showcase and
Quality 16
Warner Bros.

that his family's death is mere-
ly a case of collateral damage
as a result of American sol-
diers staying in Columbia. In
"Commando"-esque fashion,
Schwarzenegger's character
then decides that he must take
matters into his own hands and
take out the terrorist responsi-
ble, known as "El Lobo,"
(played by Cliff Curtis).
For the next hour of the

tive." This comes as no surprise, as director
Andrew Davis is responsible for both
The remainder of the film involves vari-
ous confrontations between Brewer and "El
Lobo." These scenes are the most interest-
ing of the film, as the two want to kill each
other, but at the same time hold sympathy
and respect for one anther as a result of
having similar family situations. Neverthe-
less, the two square off in great fights that
include explosives, lead pipe bashing and
ear biting that makes Mike Tyson look like
a chump.
While "Collateral Damage" has its share
of senseless action, the film brings a
refreshing change to the typical
Schwarzenegger action m'ovie. Using real-
istic stunts and lacking in the one-liner
department, "Collateral Damage" actually
shows that there is a future for the 54 year
old in action films. Much like what "The
Fugitive" did for Harrison Ford, "Collateral
Damage" does for Schwarzenegger. His


Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Grampy Arnie hoping his hip lasts out for his 30 gazillion dollar pay-day in "T-3."

the ter-

rorist attacks on New York City and Wash-
ington D.C., "Collateral Damage" still
leaves an unsettling thoughts in one's mind.
This is because Schwarzenegger's character,
a firefighter named Brody Brewer, has his

film, Brewer slips out of sticky situations
left and right by jumping over waterfalls,
running through the woods and avoiding
FBI and Columbian agents much in the
same way Richard Kimble averts the
authorities after him in 1993's "The Fugi-

character is someone that the audience
holds sympathy for rather than just being
an overpowering superhero. This results in
the film being Schwarzenegger's best film
since 1994's "True Lies."
Aside from Schwarzenegger's perform-
ance, many of the other performances in
"Collateral Damage" are forgettable. Of
these, John Leguizamo and John Turturro
are the most notable. With these actors

being the most noteworthy outside of
Schwarzenegger in the film, one would
hope they would have well-developed char-
acters. Instead, the two give poor perform-
ances, and each are on the screen for less
than five minutes.
In the end, "Collateral Damage" is a film
that action fans should enjoy. The film con-
tains interesting plot twists, great action
and, of course, Schwarzenegger.

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TNTs 'Witchblade'
-a sharp takeoff oF
the female'herone


By Jennifer Fogel.
Daily Arts Writer
A new wave of television is hitting a
small screen near you, and if you
haven't noticed it yet, you're definitely
out of the loop. This past
fall season can be s
summed up in two
words: Girl Power..
Between the wonderful-
ly dramatic mother and WITCH
daughter duo on Mondays
"Gilmore Girls" and
Jennifer Garner's sexy T

battle of good versus evil and each side
seems equally appealing. Trying to
seduce Sara to the "dark side" is the
wealthy industrialist Kenneth Irons
(Anthony Cistaro, "Angel") who covets
the Witchblade. The only barrier

between him and his prize
is the fact that only a
woman can wield the
Witchblade. An already
failed attempt to wield the
blade has left Irons scared
and obsessed with a
desire to control Sara. His
dark and mysterious lack-


at 9 p.m.

secret agent on "Alias,"
women are taking over tele
the audience (according toc
ings) loves it. Hoping to catc
the bandwagon; TNT is re
summer breakout series "W
centering on another ass-kic
Spawning from TNT's orig
based on the comic book, "W
stars Yancy Butler ("Drop
New York Homicide Dete
Pezzini, a fierce beauty wit
tion for breaking the rules t
crooks. While conducting ar
tion against a ruthless mobst
believes murdered a childh
Sara comes into contact with
gauntlet during a shootou
miraculously protects her fr
of bullets and an eventual
Sara is unable to explain
bracelet that adorns her wrist
able to identify the mysteric
figure that now stalks her ei
Through a number of viol
culminating in the death of l
partner Danny (Will Yun L
Bridges"), Sara comes to fi
she now possesses the Witc
ancient weapon that heighten
ers of perception and transf
sword that is one with its wea
Physically and mentally
by her new "gift, Sara is c

ey, Ian Nottingham (Eric
vision and Etebari) carefully monitors Sara's usage
current rat- of the blade, and more often than not,
h a ride on warns her when danger is near. Hoping
airing its to keep Sara on the straight and narrow
itchblade," is the spirit of her dead partner who
king hero- speaks to her from the beyond (Obi
Wan-style), appearing during times of
ginal movie great strife. Meanwhile, in the land of
Ilitchblade" the living, Sara is tailed by her new hot-
Zone") as shot partner Jake McCarty (David
ctive Sara Chokachi, "Baywatch"), who yearns for
;h a reputa1 a chance to earn a little respect and ulti-
o catch the mately seems very loyal.
n investiga- While the story behind "Witchblade"
er who she seems genuinely repetitive of other clas-
ood friend, sic female heroine plot turners, the
an ancient character of Sara Pezzini is innovative
it. After it and as strong as she is vulnerable. The
om a spray "superpowers" that she finds herself
explosion, inundated with are both a blessing and a
n the new curse, and she is often torn between giv-
, nor is she ing into Irons or using her weapon to
'us hooded circumvent criminals - both concen-
very move. trating on the human condition and very
ent events, unlike a true superhero. The multiple
her beloved plot twists and storylines also prove the
'ee, "Nash show is a cut above the rest. Adding to
nd out that the dramatic narrative is an artistic array
chblade, an of stunts and special effects, although
is her pow- some of the effects are blatant "Matrix"
orms into a rip-offs. "Witchblade" also features an
arer. interesting use of time as it incorporates
challenged both flashbacks and flash-forwards, as
caught in a Sara is introduced to past and future
wielders on her journey to mastering
the Witchblade. Unfortunately, while
the innovative plot immediately cap-
tures the audience, Sara's cohorts fail to
produce any strand of real acting ability,
not straying far from their stereotypical



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