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WEIRDO FLICKS: 'The Roller Blade Seven'

by Eli Kroes

You might not be familiar with the term 'Z-Movie,' but if you grew up in the 90's, chances are you've seen one. They're the beyond-low-budget monstrosities that teased you from the walls of the mom-and-pop video store. Usually, the films themselves could never live up to the pictures on the videotape boxes (because this was way before your fancy 'Digital Video Discs' and 'Blu-Rays') but occasionally you'd find something truly unique. 'WEIRDO FLICKS' will clue you into some movies which 'unique' doesn't even begin to describe...

'The Roller Blade Seven' - 1991, Directed by Donald G. Jackson

You might remember a bit ago when I reviewed this surreal monster of a film. Well, I finally delved into some of Scott Shaw's other projects, including this one. 'The Roller Blade Seven' is one of SEVERAL sequels to the original 'Roller Blade' movie, most of which have absolutely nothing to do with the original. This does not include Mr. Shaw's several OTHER films about futuristic roller bladers that are in NO WAY connected to the original. Yeah, these guys have a tendency towards rehashing ideas.

But, that tends to happen when you're just making up movies on the spot, which seems to be one of the main tenets of Shaw's 'Zen Film-making' strategy. Basically, he gets together with some of his B-list celeb friends (like Frank Stallone and Karen Black) and kind of gives them an outline of the movie, then shoots a bunch of stuff and tries to make it work in post-production.

This often seems to result in surreal, plotless films that distill the worst (and best) elements of 1980's action flicks into their sleazy, head-spinning essence.

That being said, this wasn't one of Shaw's better outings, but it still has moments of pure brilliance. The basic premise from the original is still here, just kind of re-worked a bit. Shaw plays a martial arts warrior who has to go into the 'Wheel Zone' to save his sister (although it is unclear whether this is his ACTUAL sister.) Shaw refuses to wear roller blades in the 'zone, which constantly makes him a target for various baddies.

I guess he meets some other 'good guys' and then ends up marrying some roller blade lady, and saves the day?

I'm guessing because there is really no plot, very little dialogue, and several characters seem to fade in and out, going from good to bad. I guess that also happens when you're working without a script.

Whatever the case, the film certainly has an odd feel to it, and I wouldn't call it a total waste of time. It's not as good as, say, 'Max Hell Frog Warrior,' but there are some interesting shots, and quite a few funny one-liners. It also feels like some movie you saw as a child and remember through dreamlike images instead of an actual story or characters, so I guess that counts as a success.

VHS photo by Toby Hudson.