Surprisingly, Roller Blade is not the first post-apocalyptic roller skating movie. Skatetown, U.S.A. and Roller Boogie both preceded it by a decade. And if you don’t think either of those films qualifies as post-apocalyptic, I don’t know what else you’d call one movie starring Linda Blair from the director of Truck Stop Women and another featuring (deep breath!) Patrick Swayze, Flip Wilson, Ruth Buzzi, Horshack, Marcia Brady, Scott Baio, and some chick from Little House On The Prairie!
Roller Blade is notable though for being the first roller skating movie from noted roller skating movie genre titan, Donald G. Jackson. While most of the world fondly remembers Donald for pitting pro wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper against really big frogs in Hell Comes To Frogtown, his true legacy is in little seen movies with the word “roller” in the title. Roller Blade Warriors: Taken by Force, The Roller Blade Seven, Return Of The Roller Blade Seven, and most tantalizing of all, Rollergator pepper his directing resume like welcome kernels of corn in a big chunky dookie your grandad left in your commode after a particularly intense Thanksgiving dinner.
It would be easy to say that watching Roller Blade was as painful as getting a handjob with a rusty cheese grater. Easy because it’s true!
When it finally ends after a way too long hour and a half (I thought all these really incompetent, gimmicky, trying-too-hard-to-be-a-cult-movie projects never topped out at over 75 minutes!), you’d swear that you can actually taste the aborted fetus hand puppet that was one of the bad guys! It’s like this sweaty, rubbery taste. Failure, I think the sophisticates call it.
In its broadest terms, the story seems to be about a world where everyone wears roller skates. The movie may be called Roller Blade which probably thrills the real Rollerblade company that makes inline skates, but there aren’t any inline skates to be seen here, only those nasty old four wheel jobs we all used when we were little and thought it was the height of awesome on a Friday night if we could go the local skating rink and do the limbo.
No explanation is given as to why the end of the world necessitated the exclusive use of roller skates and in several scenes the roller skates actually seem to hamper people in their activities. Watching people try to climb ladders or scoot around on scaffolds or even just try to fight with each while wearing a pair of skates makes you think that something horrible occurred when the end came that caused people to forget they had regular old feet. In fact, when Marshall Goodman’s son Little Chris disobeys his dad and plays outside and gets captured by the bad guys, Goodman seems pretty upset that the kid was outside WITHOUT his skates!
Goodman is a roller cop who patrols the run down part of Los Angeles where the movie takes place. He’s pretty much an Armageddon of annoyances with his nauseating speech pattern that includes lots of thous, thees, and verilies.
He finds himself up against the diabolical Saticoy, a dude in a leather fetish mask who constantly argues with the puppet he wears on one of his hands. Saticoy wants the power crystal that the religious order of roller skating nuns possess. I think the power crystal allowed the nuns to physically heal people. But they can only heal a person once. But then one of them figures that the power was inside them all along. And worst of all, it turns out that Little Chris really wasn’t dropped into the vat of acid by Saticoy!
The roller skating nuns work overtime competing with Goodman and Saticoy to see who is the most wretched presence in the movie. They have initiation rituals in a hot tub, wear nun costumes that look like colorful KKK outfits, and manage to get themselves doublecrossed by an evil chick working undercover for Saticoy. They also wear leotards and sometimes less when they do their roller skating. They even have a dog that Donald G. Jackson forced to wear a costume and every so often gives a close up to for no apparent reason.
If you get the idea sometimes that some stuff was just kind of made up on the spot, it may have been! Donald’s Roller Blade Seven movies have been trumpeted as the beginning of Zen Filmmaking. And what is Zen Filmmaking? No script! You just make it up as you go along! Put on a pair of roller skates, G-string, and call “action!” Instant roller blade movie!
Donald could have been testing some of that out on Roller Blade! Or he may have actually written a really big part for a shopping cart into his movie. I’m trying to give the guy the benefit of the doubt! At least the Zen crap kind of provides an excuse!
All of the roller skating stupidity could be overlooked if the movie at least provided the teeniest bit of entertainment on any conceivable level. The poorly staged and meager action and the horrifically shot roller skating scenes will make your eyes bleed.
Aside from the whole idea that everyone will wear roller skates after the collapse of civilization without any reason to do so, it’s even harder to swallow when your roller blading boobs are weakly brawling with one another on a scummy beach when cars can be seen driving by on the highway in the background. And I’d wager that the lights of the city we can see at night surely are not coming from roller skates with headlights on them. And it almost seems cruel at this point to complain about the ridiculously dubbed audio track and the special effects straight off someone’s 1980s camcorder.
Seek this out only because it’s the easiest of Donald’s roller skating movies to find and once you’ve been tormented by it, you won’t waste any more of your life looking for the others. I rate this film an easy four little tire tracks across my scrotum!
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