Thursday, 20 January 2011

Wheels On Fire [Review: Whip It]

First there was this re-make of Day Of The Triffids with that one minor plot change. Now we have Whip It! - the new Rollerball, without the murder, the future media politics and the balls, but just as much blood and elbowing.

This non-sci-fi film has a lot to recommend it to sci-fi fans. Directed by, you know, Charlie from Firestarter, it stars Ellen Page as a reluctant beauty pageant contestant who defies her 50s-style parents and secretly joins a Roller Derby crew. With it’s Blockers, Pivots, Jammers and unmitigated high-speed aggression, Roller Derby is the closest real-world sport to Quidditch and the film is an extraordinary juxtaposition of shy, geeky teenager coming-of-age and high-speed rollerskating carnage. Page as Bliss/Babe Ruthless is brilliant – well, we wouldn’t expect anything less, and Drew Barrymore delivers a very watchable sports film, earning her director’s wings while still finding the time to cameo as the accident-prone Smashley Simpson.

Roller Derby is gaining ground fast in the UK with two leagues active in London and several more across the country - the London Rollergirls became the first UK league to join the WFTDA last year. Naturally The Sci-Fi Gene is a fan of the steampunk-lovin' Steam Rollers team. Many RD players give themselves names that appeal to my sense of pun - soccer, golf or snooker would be vastly improved as sports if the players included R. Meg Eddon and Nuke Leah.


Deray said...

I watched the movie a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it. It's charming, moving and has the right amount of action. I loved Drew's character, so funny!

Sci-Fi Gene said...

Drew's character (Smashlee Simpson) seems to be the only one who actually gets proper injuries - she's always in a sling or a foam collar of some sort. Anyway DeAth Ray great to hear from you - now get your skates back on ;)