Roller Blade ~ 1986, Donald Jackson
Things have changed since the rock ‘em sock ‘em dog days of 1986. Let me set the scene for you, and give you some perspective (I was two years old); At that time, The Berlin Wall was still standing fully intact, a constant impediment to the freedoms of the East German people. The Soviet Union was still in operation, ideologically opposed to American values, and seemingly determined to squash out the spirit of democracy, by force, if necessary. The threat of Nuclear War loomed threateningly in the zeitgeist of the entire human race, and the future was very much a topic of much debate, as well as pessimistic speculation. In 1986, it really did seem like we might just be looking at an apocalyptic doomsday in our near future, at a world where barren, Radioactive wastelands would blanket the entire Earth, where mutants and bandits would pillage without compassion for the weak or the unfortunate, and where a militarized religious order of roller-skating babes would fight to protect what was left of human civilization. This really did seem like an unavoidable certainty, just waiting to happen. Honestly, I don’t know how we have avoided that reality for so long, and I’m forced to assumed we have only postponed it… For now.
THE PLOT ~ The evil Dr. Saticoy, who looks like a combination of a Canadian Mounty and a gimp, and who constantly carries a hand puppet, not unlike Mr. Hat, hatches an evil plan to steal a power crystal from the noble Bod Sisters, a chapter of roller skating nuns who have been charged with keeping order in an apocalyptic wasteland filled with adults who ride around on rollerskates. It’s very realistic. Soon, the Bod sister’s are infiltrated by one of Saticoy’s spies, the crystal is stolen, and a confrontation between vicious, uncivilized killers and attractive young women on rollerskates comes to a head. Movies like this exist. Go watch them.
So, there’s other stuff in there… Saticoy’s spy ends up redeeming herself, some ranger type dude gets his son kidnapped, and there’s this dude who talks just like David Lee Roth, but really, who gives a shit? All of those things are Roller Blade’s honest attempt at giving you a plot to care about, and, to be frank, it’s a failure you probably predicted going in.
It’s truly amazing that movies like this can happen; movies with a concept so riddled with madness that hearing it explained it is infinitely more entertaining than actually watching it play out. Far too often these movies fall into the same trap; no matter how nutso your idea is, you either have to be equally insane, or legitimately talented, and if you’re not one of those two things, your movie is going to suck. Again, when you’re making a ridiculous ass psychotronic film, the worst thing your movie can be is boring. Roller Blade is not worth 90 minutes of your time, and that’s the tragic truth. You’ve probably imagined a better movie just reading the description, so quit while you’re ahead.
The real reason Roller Blade is important, though, is that it is, doubtless, an uncompromisingly realistic portrayal of our inevitable future. Is there a chance that soon the human race will engage in an atomic war so furious that vast expanses of the Earth will be left total uninhabitable? Without question; yes. And when this happens, what is the only logical outcome of this scenario? Well, any intelligent person knows that within weeks what is left of humanity will form a limited government/police force/religious order of roller babes to skate around and kill mutants. That’s a given! The logic is airtight, so if you want any chance at survival, it’s time to bust out your skates and get real comfortable with zooming around in short shorts (and that’s addressed to both male and female readers.) Roller Blade may not be entertaining, but neither was Driver’s Ed; however, both are necessary forms of education without which, we would be woefully ill prepared. I’m not sure if the future really will include a hand puppet enthusiast mounty-gimp, though. Probably. Hell, somewhere in the world that’s probably already a thing.
Also worth noting; Donald Jackson did manage to pull off at least one pretty solid film, Hell Comes to Frog Town, released two years later. It’s a good old time, friends. Review forthcoming!