Xanadu" in the same sentence).">
  09/19/2014  
Love Finds You in Sugarcreek on DVD Oct 7Frontline: Losing Iraq on DVD Oct 7The Calling on DVD Sep 232 Broke Girls: The Complete Third Season on DVD Sep 30Found on DVD Sep 23Beyond Borders & Faces of Israel on DVD in SeptemberAfter on DVD Sep 23

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Love Finds You in Sugarcreek on DVD Oct 7...
Gwen Stefani, Blake Shelton get epic in 'Tonight Show' ...
Frontline: Losing Iraq on DVD Oct 7...
The Calling on DVD Sep 23...
Julianna Margulies and Jimmy Fallon Perform Musical Mor...

JB Joseph Burke

The Answer to American Idol's Problems Is......
CONCRETE BLONDES...
CREAM FAREWELL CONCERT...
JACK REACHER...
MANBORG...

CA Chuck Aliaga

CORRUPTION (BLU-RAY)...
THE ATTACK (BLU-RAY)...
TANK GIRL (BLU-RAY)...
HORROR STORIES...
THE UNINVITED (BLU-RAY)...

RR Rich Rosell

THE GIRL...
THE HORDE...
LIFE IS SWEET (BLU-RAY)...
SHOUT AT THE DEVIL (BLU-RAY/DVD COMBO)...
THE BLUE ANGEL (BLU-RAY)...

MZ Mark Zimmer

BABY PEGGY: THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM...
STORAGE WARS: VOLUME THREE...
Take Part in a Film Restoration...
THE 39 STEPS (BLU-RAY)...
DARK SHADOWS: THE BEST OF BARNABAS...

JS Jesse Shanks

2 BROKE GIRLS...
DOWNTON ABBEY SEASONS ONE & TWO LIMITED EDITION...
FLORENCE AND THE SPIRIT OF THE RENAISSANCE...
NAZI COLLABORATORS...
KATT WILLIAMS: KATTPACALYPSE...

RJ Ross Johnson

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP (BLU-RAY)...
PURPLE NOON (BLU-RAY)...
WEEKEND (BLU-RAY)...
JUAN OF THE DEAD...
THE DEVIL'S NEEDLE AND OTHER TALES OF VICE AND REDEMPTI...

JD Jon Danziger

SUNSET BOULEVARD...
SALO, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM...
TABLOID...
CUL-DE-SAC...
3 WOMEN...

JC Joel Cunningham

YOJIMBO/SANJURO...
SUMMER HOURS (L'heure d'ÈtÈ)...
WIZARD OF OZ...
WINGS OF DESIRE...
HORTON HEARS A WHO!...

DH Dan Heaton

REVANCHE...
LAST DAYS OF DISCO...
NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS...
STARGATE SG-1: CHILDREN OF THE GODS...
STARGATE ATLANTIS: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON...

MS Matt Serafini

THE STEPFATHER...
THE HILLS RUN RED...
MANAGEMENT...
NIGHT OF DEATH...
GNAW...

KC Kevin Clemons

Freddy Got Fingered...

JU Jeff Ulmer

Secure The Second Season of The Border on DVD August 25...
THE WALTONS: THE COMPLETE 9TH SEASON...
Dance Me Outside kicks onto DVD May 6, 2008...

DD Dale Dobson

Film-Fest 4: Sundance 2000 & Hawaii...

RM Robert Mandel

Saving Private Ryan...

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

20th Century Fox presents
Roll Bounce (2005)

Torri: Come on! Y'all never heard of the Bee Gees?
Junior: No, but it sounds like something my cousin caught from his girlfriend.

- Jurnee Smollett, Brandon T. Jackson

Review By: Joel Cunningham  
Published: January 16, 2006

Stars: Bow Wow, Chi McBride
Other Stars: Brandon Jackson, Marcus Paulk, Khleo Thomas, Rick Gonzalez, Jurnee Smollett, Mike Epps, Wesley Jonathan, Meagan Good, Nick Cannon, Wayne Brady
Director: Malcolm D. Lee

Manufacturer: PSDC
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language and some crude humor
Run Time: 01h:51m:40s
Release Date: December 13, 2005
UPC: 024543219897
Genre: sports


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B+C+B C

DVD Review

More so than almost any other genre, you can generally go into a sports movie knowing what kind of story to expect, so the pleasure, or lack thereof, is in the details. A good baseball movie, for instance, will have a strong focus on character, and usually a nice smattering of humor and heart, to make up for the fact that the story follows a rhythm as old as the game itself. Roll Bounce, from director Malcolm D. Lee, has some advantages in this respect. Of course, it's about roller skating, meaning it doesn't have to be compared to anything as good as, say, Field of Dreams (Roller Derby isn't putting up much of a fight), but it has merits beyond that, and despite a storyline cribbed from a dozen other films, avoids falling on its butt (or careening across the rink and slamming face-first into a pole, for that matter) thanks to a winning cast and charming period atmosphere.

Pint-sized rapper turned actor Bow Wow (L'il no more, but developing nicely as a charismatic actor) plays Xavier ("X" to his friends), a teen living on the south side of Chicago in the late 1970s. He and his buddies spend most of their summers on wheels at the rundown local roller rink, but when it closes down, they are forced to travel across town to a fancy blacklight and laser place on the north side, were all the skaters are rich kids and a smooth cat known as Sweetness (Wesley Jonathan) rules the roost. Sweetness' posse (and because it's the '70s, these guys can be cool despite tight, glittery polyester pants that match) doesn't want "the welfare crew" around, and a rivalry develops. Don't worry, though, there's a convenient end of summer group skate contest that will settle the score.

With that setup, you can see where the story is going, and you're probably right. But the plot avoids plenty of potential pitfalls. For one thing, the rivalry between the skaters isn't racially motivated—making it white versus black would have been a mistake in such a lighthearted movie. They don't enter the skate contest to win the cash prize for some dire reason, or, thank goodness, to save their local rink (I think Dodgeball helped retire that particular plot device, thankfully). Contrived drama is also kept to a minimum. When not skating, X struggles to deal with his mother's recent death, and his relationship with his father (Chi McBride) is rather rocky as a result. If these scenes of conflict feel a little too maudlin at times (especially when the boy smashes a car with a baseball bat in a fit of anger, seemingly without consequences), the heartfelt conversations between father and son play well enough, and are a small enough part of the story that they give the lead a satisfying emotional arc rather than distract from the lighter sequences at the roller rink.

Because really, that's why the movie works. X has a gang of friends that comes across as completely genuine, both in attitude and performance, and even if they are all sort of one-note, they're a lot of fun. Junior (Brandon Jackson) is the requisite loud mouth, always engaging in putdown contests. "Mixed Mike" (Khelo Thomas) gets needled because his dad is black and his mom is white, but it's good-natured ribbing. Naps (Rick Gonzalez) has nappy hair, and it pretty much defines his character, and Boo (Marcus Paulk) is the silent type. It's not brilliant or anything, but any scene with the whole group together is entertaining because it seems like real friends hanging out (I'm reminded of a similar dynamic in The Sandlot, a remarkably similar movie in many ways). There are also a few girls in the story. Torri (Jurnee Smith) is your typical ugly duckling, but she can stand up for herself, too, and is quick with the comebacks when Junior disses her. And then there's the requisite love interest, Naomi (Meagan Good), whom X is attracted to whenever his emotions aren't getting in the way.

Director Malcolm D. Lee proved he knows how to do the '70s on film with the under-seen private eye spoof Undercover Brother, and in Roll Bounce, he shows the same eye for detail. Sure, a lot of it is pretty broad and jokey, especially at the roller rink—Sweetness' Tony Manero-style skating uniform, a roller rink employee (Nick Cannon) who looks and acts like Hendrix—but scenes of the friends lounging around playing early Atari games or strolling around the neighborhood are sweetened with a warm hint of nostalgia (and I wasn't even around in 1978). And then there are the skating scenes, of course, which are cleverly shot to show off the moves and hide the stunt doubles, and they play very well, accompanied by the disco beats on the soundtrack.

Roll Bounce is a little uneven, and probably too long, but its heart is in the right place. It did zero business in theaters (Fox Searchlight can't seem to market itself out of a paper bag these days, what with this and the disappointing returns for the excellent In Her Shoes), but deserves to be rediscovered on DVD. Kids, especially Bow Wow fans, will love it, and don't worry too much about the PG-13 rating. There are a few mild, fairly innocent sexual references (primarily repeated shots of the guys ogling some hottie walking by) and some very mild language, and that's it. If this actually came out in the '70s, it would be rated PG, easily.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Perhaps Roll Bounce's '70s atmosphere is too genuine, because this transfer looks badly dated. I know it's a low budget film, and I didn't see it theatrically so I don't know how it's supposed to look, but it takes some getting used to at home. The image looks very soft and hazy, with background details lacking definition. There is also a lot of grain, particularly in dark scenes, which already look a little rough thanks to worse than average shadow detail. There's also some edge enhancement visible in spots. This isn't a horrible transfer by any means, but it's shockingly sub-par for a new film, especially from Fox.

Image Transfer Grade: C+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: The audio mix comes across better, and the disco and funk tunes on the soundtrack help to flesh out a fairly straightforward, front-heavy comedy mix with added bass and some surround action. Otherwise, dialogue sounds clear and natural, and the rear channels offer decent atmospheric enhancement during crowd scenes at the roller rink.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Like Mike 2, Dr. Dolittle 3, The Ringer
5 Deleted Scenes
3 Featurette(s)
3 Feature/Episode commentaries by director Malcolm D. Lee; Lee and actors Bow Wow and Mike Epps; Lee, writer Norman Vance Jr., and producer Robert Teitel
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extra Extras:
  1. Gag reel
Extras Review: The special features start off with no less than three commentary tracks. The first features director Malcolm D. Lee solo, and he gives an engaging, chatty account of the film's production, with lots of interesting anecdotes not of the type I usually hear on commentaries. The second, with Lee and actors Bow Wow and Mike Epps (who really only had a cameo, but whatever), gives you a little different perspective, and Lee peppers his lead with questions about what it was like making the movie. The final track includes Lee (yet again), writer Norman Vance Jr., and producer Robert Teitel; this track looks at what it took to get the film made and how the story was shaped.

Twelve deleted scenes (19m:51s) offer up some excised storylines and character moments, and are presented here with optional commentary from Lee and Vance, while Forward Motion: The Making of Roll Bounce (12m:58s) is a pretty standard promotional making-of piece. Most of the running time is used up on the actors talking about their characters and explaining the plot, but the end does cover the training and extra effort that went into the skating scenes.

Bow Wow Profile (03m:51s) is a brief, fluffy interview with the lead actor, who talks about why he was attracted to the film. He says he doesn't think there's ever been a father and son relationship onscreen like the one in this movie. Bow Wow needs to go to the theater a little more often. '70s Stylin': The Look of Roll Bounce (04m:01s) offers a bit of detail on the film's period clothing and atmosphere.

Two reels of Skating Competition Newswraps run around six minutes, and I'm not sure exactly why they're on the DVD. From what I can gather, a skate-off was held to help promote the film, and these are interviews with some of the teams that competed. There's also a cute gag reel (09m:51s) of the kids goofing off on the set and falling down on the rink; it runs a little long but is OK as far as these things go.

In the realm of promo material, there's the trailer, a music video for Boogie Oogie Oogie and a soundtrack spot, a featurette/preview of Ice Age 2 and clips for The Ringer and direct-to-DVD sequels Like Mike 2 and Dr. Dolittle 3.

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

A fun and funky sports film that manages to distract you from a rather rote plot with charming, quirky characters and convincing period detail, Roll Bounce deserves a second chance on DVD. I'd call it the best roller skating movie since Xanadu, but I don't want to give you the wrong idea (I also have problems using "best" and "Xanadu" in the same sentence).

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

drama, television, reality, tonight show, late night talk, nbc, gwen stefani, blake shelton, jimmy fallon, spike jones and his city slickers, documentary, julianna margulies, the tonight show, saugarties high school, taylor swift, shake it off, abc, daytime talk, the view, rosie o'donnell, charles krauthammer, whoopi goldberg, nicolle wallace, music, rihanna, thursday night football, run this town, jay z, kanye west, canceled, cbs, don cheadle, sean mcmanus, comedy, rosie perez, kristen chenoweth, robin thick, vicodin, alcohol, blurred lines, paula patton, paula, horror, movies, box office, foreign, movie, dolphin tale 2, harry connick jr., winter, nathan gamble, cozi zuehlsdorff, kris kristofferson, ashley judd, morgan freeman, saturday night live, weekend update, michael che, cecily strong, colin jost, sasheer zamata, action, u2, songs of innocence, worldwide giveaway, itunes store, bono, joey ramone, raised by wolves, series, sons of anarchy, charlie hunnam, danny trejo, theo rossi, katey sagal, nicki minaj, new york fashion, alexander wang, anaconda, i saw the light, hank williams, tom hiddleston, shelton hank williams iii, move it on over, wheatland music festival, adventure, marvel, guardians of the galaxy, sci-fi, fantasy, superheros, celebrity, joan rivers, johnny carson, atlantic city, edgar rosenberg, 2010 documentary, joan rivers: piece of work

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

earth mosaics

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

DVD Marketplace

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact