Rollerball: ‘updated’ re-make of 1975 classic. NHL potential heads over to the Soviet Bloc to partake in a dangerous sport. Opens with an awesome downhill street luge race through ‘cisco. Everything about Rollerball is totally macho: the sport, cars, bikes, heavy metal, technology, steel, babes, action… which begs one question: who cast the effeminate Chris Klein as the hero? He’s far too nice & boyish to be a convincing gruff badass – and looks ridiculous with fake stubble. Even LL Cool J is a bit cuddly these days. Surely a pair of real badasses would have been more appropriate!? The industrial / metal music’s used well for heightening the action scenes and it seemed to borrow visuals from the Running Man, Starlight Express and PS1 game Dead Ball Zone, neither of which is a bad thing. Some crazy spot-the-cameo moments. The last half hour absolutely ruined the film with a lame night-vision chase, feeble sound effects (boi-oi-oing), a clichéd ending, poorly edited action, and the super-crap super-dated symbolism of an American starting a revolution on Soviet territory. Not quite ‘RollerBollocks’, but not far off.
Doberman: follows cops, robbers, bent cops and transvestites entangled in a feud & bank robbery – although there’s only a few minutes spent in the bank. The film has a strange, over-exposed and grainy, look but remains slick and stylish throughout. There’s a ton of hyper violence culminating in the world’s worst facepalm, but it’s all pretty surreal as it’s based on a pulp comic. The script’s just as brutal and not very PC, mainly due to the transvestite / gay / fetish characters and general eccentric stereotypes. Also, what is it with directors treating Monica Belluci so roughly? Unfortunately, it lacks the depth, substance and story of similarly styled Besson / Tarantino films. Definitely a visual treat, but it’s a bit of a no-brainer and stays in-your-face from the very first frame. Style over substance.
Battleship Potemkin: 1925 silent movie about a bunch of sailors getting mutinous on their cap’n after being served bad soup. After seeing this, it will be a long time before you forget the striking photography: plate-smashing, ques of people, ominous cannons, religious bashing, dead sailor and so on. Perhaps the most famous scene in cinematic history – the Odessa steps massacre – is worth watching the film for and, despite studying and having seen dozens of times, it still makes me feel uneasy. It’s a great shame that the rest of the film doesn’t reach this standard! For its time, and as a work of art Potemkin was decades ahead and is credited as the original use of the now-common ‘montage’ technique. However, as a story it’s essentially an ultra-embellished propaganda film, that’s not the easiest to watch due to pivotal and symbolic scenes being dragged out and over-emphasised. I’d recommend this film to anyone, but would advise them to read a little about Eisenstein and Russia in the early 1900’s to contextualise it.