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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Roller Boogie (Blu-ray)
Roller Boogie (Blu-ray)
Olive Films // PG // July 7, 2015 // Region A
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted July 14, 2015 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
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A U D I O
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The Movie:

Linda Blair, forever known as Regan from the first two Exorcist films, plays Terry Barkley. Terry is a cute girl with a scholarship to Juliard ready for her once she's out of high school. She comes from a well to do family and plays the flute in her spare time. Everything seems like it's coming up roses for Terry until she falls head over heels in love with a boy from the wrong side of the tracks named Bobby James (played by a real honest-to-God roller skating champion Jim Bray).

Terry and Bobby love to do the roller boogie. Nothing makes them happier than slapping on their skates and getting down at the local roller disco rink in Beverly Hills. And hey, who can blame them. Love is grand, especially when it's clad in hot pink polyester and a whole lot of spandex. At any rate, Terry's snobby mother and father (who don't think that Bobby is good enough for their little princess) frown upon Terry and Bobby's love. This tends to complicate things for our Romeo and Juliette of the swinging 70s disco scene, but of course, true love prevails.

Things get even more complicated when the roller rinks very existence becomes threatened over a slightly crooked development deal. This could bring the rink down for good, and then where would our two star-struck boogie children go to get their mobile grooves on? "No, this will not do at all!" I hear you all cry in unison. Will Terry and Bobby be able to win the class war and declare their eternal devotion to one another? More importantly, will they be able to save the roller rink from destruction at the hands of a crazed real estate developer?

Roller Boogie is pure, unadulterated junk, but I mean that in the kindest sense of the word. The plot stinks, the acting isn't too hot, and the characters are flimsy and one-dimensional at best. None of that actually really matters at all though, because this movie delivers what you want in spades, and what you want is that special kind of camp that only the seventies disco movies can provide you with. It's not on par with the classic of the genre, Saturday Night Fever, mainly because no one here has the charisma and screen presence that John Travolta had in that movie. However, it sure does have a whole lot of dancing on roller skates and for some, that will be more than enough to warrant a watch. For those of you out there who, like me, weren't coordinated to skate, let alone dance on skates as a kid (or quite possibly as an adult as well), you can live vicariously through this movie and pretend you were there.

Linda Blair is cute as a button in the lead, skating her way into your hearts and looking good doing it. Jim Bray, well, his performance is less than stellar but man does that cat have some moves. Wait until you see him in his ridiculously short short-shorts shaking what his momma gave him to some serious dance music out on the floor. You'll see why Linda Blair fell for him. He also kind of looks like Scott Baio… he has the same kind of hair. He can't act his way out of a paper bag, but he's got the skills and the dancing ability to get the job done.

So obviously we're not looking at Oscar winning material here. You can probably tell that by the cover art. But what we end up with is a great, campy, corny, genuinely fun movie that provides a whole lot of nostalgia and unintentional hilarity. It's garish, nonsensical, politically incorrect and certainly a product of its time, but a whole lot of fun.

The Blu-ray:

Video:

Roller Boogie was presented on DVD years back in your choice of widescreen or fullframe, but only the widescreen version has made it to this Blu-ray release from Olive Films who offer it up in AVC encoded 1080p properly framed at 1.85.1 widescreen. Like most of the label's transfers, this one is presented ‘as is' without a whole lot of restoration, so you'll notice some minor print damage here and there. A little clean up sometimes goes a long way and we didn't get hat here. However, whatever elements that were used were evidently in pretty decent shape as the print damage that we do see is minor. We get a nice upgrade in detail and especially in color reproduction, both of those elements are frequently quite impressive, while black levels stay solid if a hair under where they might be in a perfect world.

Sound:

The English language DTS-HD 2.0 track on the disc is also quite good. The levels are balanced properly, as you'd hope, and the track is free of any hiss or distortion. The score has good presence and the dialogue is easy to follow save for a few spots where things get just a little muffled in the mix beneath the sounds of roller disco. There are no alternate language options or subtitles of any kind provided here.

Extras:

Aside from a static menu offering chapter selection, the disc contains no other extra features.

Final Thoughts:

Roller Boogie is a blast, even if it is for all the wrong reasons. It's totally dated, but that's where most of its charm comes from. The Blu-ray release from Olive Films disc looks and sounds pretty decent and despite the lack of any extras (the old DVD at least had the trailer), Roller Boogie is still an easy recommendation for anyone who appreciates disco cinema.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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