“…one of the most inspirational movies I have ever seen.” – Oliver Stone, from a 1993 Entertainment Weekly interview
When my boy Kyle and I were researching films for this retrospective, one instantly grabbed our attention by the dicks and wouldn’t let go until we acquired a copy. Directed by Donald G. Jackson, the “Ed Wood of the video age,” 1991′s The Roller Blade Seven is an immensely enjoyable shit-show of jump-cuts, non-linear action sequences, and rollerblading. I even enjoyed it sober. The movie stars martial artist and zen filmmaker Scott Shaw, who has appeared in countless cult films, including the 4th installment of Jackson’s Frog Warrior series. The film was never “formally” released in the U.S., but like all misunderstood masterpieces has developed a cult following.
The movie follows Hawk Goodman (Shaw), a member of the Master of the Light Institute, who travels into the Wheelzone to rescue Sister Sparrow, who has been abducted by Saint Offender (Joe Estevez – younger brother of Martin Sheen and Emilio). If you get caught travelling without some form of self-propelled-wheeled-transport while in the Wheelzone, you get beat up and forced to sing. Along the way, Hawk takes magic mushrooms with Karen Black, befriends a Kabuki rollerblader wielding NERF bats, fights a giant armored, rollerblading minotaur, and runs into a Banjo playing blader wrapped up like the Invisible Man. The movie also features Elvis, Frank Stallone, S&M, and almost no dialogue (thank the gods). Another unique “touch” is the inclusion of title cards every time a new character is introduced, which displays the actor’s name. It’s like they asked the coolest kid in middle school to list everything he’s always wanted to see in one movie.
Unlike the other two films we’ve looked at, RB7 features no sweet jumps and the action sequences are fucking miserable. Scott Shaw is supposedly an accomplished martial artist in real life, but in these fight scenes he appears to barely know where the handle is on a sword. But unlike the other two films, RB7 makes you feel like you’re on mind-bending drugs. During one fight scene, I found myself blinking really slow and heavy because I thought my eyes were fucked up. Nope. They really did just show Hawk kicking that ninja in the face…11 times. The same shot is shown 11 times.
But it works, maaaan. It’s a campy movie with lots of bladin’, thongs, and . Throughout it felt like I was watching a movie one of my friends had made, if my friends were brilliant and knew the little brothers of Sylvester Stallone and Emilio Estevez.
Retrospective Pt. 1 – Prayer of the Rollerboys
Retrospective Pt. 2 – Solarbabies