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Year: 1986

Cast: Suzanne Solari., Jeff Hutchinson, Shaun Michelle, Katina Garner, Sam Mann, Robby Taylor, Christopher Douglas-Olen Ray

Director: Donald G. Jackson

Synopsis from the Video Jacket: The City Of Lost Angels ... the Second Dark Age. From the rubble of the failed industrial world comes a mystical cult of sensuous she-warriors. Risen from the ruins of dead technology, they embark on a savage quest to defeat the evil army of a demonic warlord. Their mission: to save his helpless victims from fiendish torture and torment. This is the dawn of the age of ROLLER BLADE.

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The Harsh Cruel Reality: Mysterious warrior nuns on roller skates wearing psychedelic bargain bin Halloween Knights Templar costumes fight against an evil Freddy Krueger-esque hand puppet and his odious Lord Humongous impersonator master over a glowing crystal marble as the audience stares on slack jawed and confused.

Warrior nuns on roller skates? Glowing crystal marble? What the >BEEP< is this?

Shot on 16 mm with a whopping five thousand dollar budget Roller Blade is one of those low budget, released straight-to-video, cheapjack exploitation titles that, when viewed today, not only looks a thousand-fold more ridiculous that it must have to the unsuspecting videophiles who rented it for the first time in the 80s but is corpse bloated with irony. For, today, the words roller blade conjures images of this:

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An inline skate used for, naturally, inline skating. Whereas Roller Blade, the movie, was about tough female street warriors on roller skates in a post-apocalyptic world (or at least it's back alleys) wielding naked steel blades. These roller skating gang femmes of the "Holy Order of Rollerblade" take themselves (and their faux Shakespearian dialogue) way too seriously, which makes this Mad Max knock-off with a thrift store budget oddity all the more bizarre.

Roller Blade is a blunderbuss affair of warped jus naturale so astonishingly ludicrous that it actually manages to transcend its gibbering incoherence to create a surreal hallucination captured on video. First, there is Mother Speed. .

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The wheelchair bound Mother-Superior slash gang leader and High Priestess, she is the rink leader of the mysterious mystical gang femme sisterhood of "The Holy Order of Rollerblade", though her ultimate authority and power structure remain woefully ill defined. Kneeling at her feet is Marshall Goodman. .

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A sheriff on roller skates who's office, for reasons known only to the set designers and the penny pinching gods of cheapness, is covered with Styrofoam take-out food containers. The Marshall has a son, Little Chris (Chris Olen Ray), who manages to get himself kidnapped by. .

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A roller skating reject from a 80s glam rock video. And, yes, that's Little Chris in the shopping cart. As a matter of fact several people get thrown into shopping carts and, incomprehensibly, are unable to get themselves out! Which says a lot about the budget, or lack thereof, of this guerrilla film epic. It's obvious, had there been a budget, these would have been car chase scenes. As it is the shopping cart chases render this otherwise critically embarrassing effort laughable in an unintentionally prophetic sort of way given current gas and oil market prices. While not ha-ha funny Roller Blade manages, due in no small part to the enormity of its shortcomings, to be deliriously chuckle worthy.

Inexplicably this direct-to-video cheapie actually spawned a number of sequels with such unimaginative titles as Roller Blade Warriors: Taken By Force, The Rollerblade Seven, Return of the Roller Blade Seven, and Legend of the Roller Blade Seven. Some of which may be little more than re-reedits of the same footage regurgitated in true exploitation fashion under different titles in a madcap effort to cash in on the series schlock success, either that or bilk unsuspecting video renters. The failure of these movies to receive a DVD release, aside from briefly appearing in a few rather shady multi movie packs, is perhaps further evidence of just how utterly worthless these 'movies' are.

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Availability

Released to VHS by New World Video and Video Treasures. The box art of the releases are very similar with only minor alterations and, of course, different company logos. The edition viewed for this review was an unrated LP mode Video Treasures release with a copyright notice on the obverse jacket sleeve of 1989 for "Video Treasures, Inc" (the same folks who released stuff for Anchor Bay). A budget release in EP mode was also issued under their Starmaker imprint. A DVD might exist, at least one has been sighted on eBay in the past. However Roller Blade is suggested only for true connoisseurs of ripe bad movies and post-apocalyptic junkies.

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Copyright © C. Demetrius Morgan

[This is an archived review. Originally posted here.]