Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-City
Featurette-Highlight Reels (4 + 7)
Trailer-Final Fantasy; Godzilla; The 6th Day
|Year Of Production||2002|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (52:33)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||John McTiernan|
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
LL Cool J
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
French Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
|Smoking||Yes, including cigars.|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, but it's part of the story.|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The story is about ice-hockey wannabe Jonathan Cross (Chris Klein) who travels to Europe to join his high-school friend Marcus Ridley (LL Cool J) in the leagues of the world's newest, and most physical, game - Rollerball. Jonathan is the big star - he gets the big money and all the television coverage - and the game is extremely popular. Things start to come apart, however, when the ratings soar following a number of on-court mishaps. Will the officials do something before it gets out of hand and a player is killed? Not if the ratings get in the way.
The story is certainly nothing spectacular, however it does enough and actually succeeds at getting its point across (total commercialisation is bad okay). The performances are relatively run of the mill, although it is somewhat of a sad situation for LL Cool J as he is an extremely charismatic actor who seems determined to kill his acting career before it starts. Given his resume includes Renny Harlin's flop Deep Blue Sea and now this, he is certainly not the marker of a successful movie. Chris Klein is not as likeable as he should be, and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos is particularly bad (although she is more there for the nude scenes).
The biggest problem for Rollerball is that they had no rules for their game before they started shooting (they were made up in post production based on what they had shot), and it really shows, as the games - games that should have been thrilling action set pieces - are a confused mess of quick cuts and flashes of action that make no coherent sense. All-in-all it really looks more like a skating rink on a Saturday afternoon than a vicious game. This is really where the heart of Rollerball's failure lies - it is not bad enough, and not cheesy enough to appeal to those who like their action obviously fake and over-the-top (the "so bad it's good" crowd), but it is not good enough to make it as a normal action movie. It has successfully found the middle ground - and that is precisely where no-one is.
Presented at the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, this transfer is 16x9 enhanced.
Sharpness is generally very good. The image is not as sharp as is possible, but the slight softness is not enough to get worried about, and aids in keeping aliasing to a minimum. There is only a small amount of grain over the opening shot of the movie between 1:22 and 1:56. Shadow detail is excellent, with the deep blacks never hiding any action. The exception to all this is the night vision work between 56:22 and 63:28, which is very high in grain, is extremely soft, and has very poor shadow detail. Obviously it was used to try and bring something new to the film, but all it ends up doing is creating an entire sequence that seems more like a trippy dream/flashback sequence from a drug film than current events in an action thriller.
Colours (obviously excluding the green-scale night-vision sequence) are very good. The bright uniforms of the Rollerball teams clash very nicely with the more stark colours of the world which they inhabit, and help to enhance the feeling of separation for the players.
There were no compression artefacts present in this transfer (although it is often hard to tell if the night vision sequences contain pixelization or simply severe grain). There is only a single instance of aliasing, at 40:00, and even that is minor. There are a very few, very small, film artefacts present in the transfer, however none are large enough to cause distraction.
There are both English and English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles present on this disc, and from a sampling of both, the English for the Hearing Impaired seem to be considerably better. The English subtitles skip many words, and quite seriously impact the flow of the dialogue, but the English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles are considerably more accurate.
This is an RSDL formatted disc with the layer change taking place at 52:33 during Chapter 17. While it takes place on a scene change, it comes right after a line of dialogue and is still quite obvious.
There are four audio tracks present on this disc, being the original English dialogue, and dubs in French and Spanish all in Dolby Digital 5.1 (at 448 Kbps), and an English audio commentary track in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround (at 192 Kbps).
Dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times, although this is largely guaranteed by the vast amount of dialogue looping used on this movie. Fortunately this does not cause any audio sync issues at all.
The music consists of contemporary pieces and score music. The score is provided by Eric Serra and is good enough that it generally goes unnoticed (although it certainly will not have anyone running out to buy the soundtrack), while the contemporary pieces attempt (and generally fail quite badly) to add "attitude" to the movie.
Surround presence is very good, with extensive use of both ambient and directional surround effects, as well as carrying the music. This is a very pleasing effort indeed.
The subwoofer use is also very good, giving an impressive rumble to the engines, and generally creating a backbone to the action-style soundtrack.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The video, excluding the night vision sequences, is excellent.
The audio quality is also excellent, providing a very good aural experience.
The extras are a little disappointing, although they are not missed particularly much on this disc.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using Component output|
|Display||Loewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-DS787, THX Select|
|Speakers||All matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)|