12/2/09

Prayer of the Rollerboys (1990): Our God, Who Art in Skates....

For a couple of years near the end of the ‘80’s, the Coreys were kings. They ruled the land of teen films for as far as the eye could see, but then the nineties reared its ugly head. The Haim and Feldmen partnership was torn asunder, and while Mr. Feldman embarked on the new decade with his scintillating turn as the voice of Donatello in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Mr. Haim decided the time had come to lace up his skates and get post-apocalyptic with it. That brings us to 1990’s Prayer of the Rollerboys. If you only ever get to see one movie about a teenage gang on rollerblades, it pretty much has to be this one.

What you’ve really got here is your basic gang type tale. Cory Haim plays Griff, a guy who’s just scraping by delivering pizzas, but it keeps him and his brother out of the homeless internment camps. It just so happens that his childhood buddy is Gary Lee,(Christopher Collett) the charismatic mulleted leader of the globally funded, white supremacist, drug pushing gang known as The Rollerboys. When Griff unknowingly saves a member of the gang, Gary Lee decides its time for Griff to join their ranks. Griff, of course, is his own man, and its not until he catches his brother selling a street drug called Mist that he decides he has to do something. Something ends up meaning going undercover in the Rollerboys so the cops can bust the drug ring. With the help of fellow undercover officer Casey (Patricia Arquette), Griff must bring down the Rollerboys if he wants to keep his little brother in line.

So what could have happened to the world to cause the rise of a group like the Rollerboys? An American banking crisis. That’s right people. Now we know what “too big to fail really means”. What they’re actually trying to say is “too big to fail because we’d end up with America coming under the sway of a rollerblading, white trench coat wearing gang.” Now if they would just come out and say that then I think the whole bailout thing would be more understandable. I mean Haim is nineteen years older now. There’s no way he could go undercover in a gang like that now. Maybe Feldman, but not Haim.

I can’t wait any longer to talk about the title to this film. Prayer of the Rollerboys. Now, granted there are Rollerboys, but there is definitely no prayer. Who would want to pray for these guys? There’s never a single point in the film when any of the Rollerboys seemed redeemable. Even the one named Bullwinkle was a psycho racist jerk off. I mean how do you sully a good name like Bullwinkle? He should be pulling rabbits out his hat, not beating up friendly black guys that run junk yards. The Rollerboys are unquestionably the bad guys so I just don’t get it. I think it’s really the ‘of’. Even if you replaced it with the word ‘for’ then it already gets a little better. So to whoever owns the remake rights to this one, just leave it as Rollerboys. Trust me.

I should get serious about this movie for a moment, but I just can’t. From top to bottom this thing is a silly mess. You get not one, not two, but three separate chase sequences on rollerblades. You get to see Patricia Arquette in a series of strange hats. You get to see synchronized rollerblading gangs. You get to see Cory Haim’s hair get more and more absurd as the film goes on. You even get an early appearance by the NIN song “Head like a Hole”. To top it all off, you find out that there may be a financial collapse, but there will still be a Dunkin Doughnuts open somewhere.

I really don’t have too much more to say about this one. I don’t think I really have a burning need to talk about Corey Haim’s acting chops, director Rick King’s other great directorial effort Kickboxer 3, or incredible dialog like “I have this thing about betrayers, they piss me off.” There’s just nothing about this film that screams for dissection. What it really screams for is laughter. I had a really great time watching this slice of absurdity, and possibly an even better time thinking about it later. The image of the Rollerboys skating in unison will forever be ingrained on my mind. While I don’t think there is really a Prayer of the Rollerboys, I might just take up prayer to see if I can get more people to check this one out.


Bugg Rating

4 comments:

  1. Never seen the film, but I have powerful memories of seeing the trailer in theaters back in '90. I have never heard an audience laugh so hysterically at any movie trailer in my life—not even the the funniest comedy trailer got the hoots and hollers when the title Prayer of the Rollerboys appeared on screen. Great high school memories.

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  2. I watched this movie constantly when I was in high school. I absolutely loved it. I found the DVD for a dollar a few years back and I just had to. The comedic value alone makes it worth a watch.

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  3. Glad some other folks know about this one. It was definitely a "so bad its good" experience.

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  4. wher can u git a roller boy trench coat.

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