Ancient history records situations when opposing armies chose to compete through duels between their champions rather than engage in full-scale battles. According to the creators of Futuresport, 1998 television film directed by Ernest R. Dickerson, such practices might become popular in near future.
In the world created in Robert Hewitt Wolfe's script basketball disappeared in 2025, following devastating corruption scandal within NBA. Tremaine "Tre" Ramzey (played by Dean Cain) and Obike Fixx (played by Wesley Snipes) grew up in Downzone - futuristic Los Angeles ghetto – and found alternative to basketball in the form of futuresport - combination of basketball, baseball and hockey. Futuresport was supposed to be embraced by local gangs and used as non-lethal alternative to turf wars. Years have passed and two of game's founders chose different paths. While Obike remained in Downzone, "Tre" used to commercialise futuresport. Now he is top futuresport player and world's greatest celebrity. In the meantime, world got into trouble - North American Alliance and Pacific Confederation are disputing ownership of Hawaii, island which is currently struck by pro-independence terrorists. "Tre" decides to save the world from further conflict by offering a futuresport game that would resolve the issue.
In its time, Futuresport was known as the most expensive TV film ever made. Most of it went to special effects, and some of the action scenes are quite attractive for television standards. On the other hand, script suffers from usual mix of cliches, implausibilities and unnecessary romantic subplot. The acting is mostly good, with Snipes making the best impression in the role of character speaking with heavy Jamaican accent. But the most interesting segment of the film in scriptwriter's speculations about near future. Unlike most of similar attempts in Hollywood, this one makes some sort of sense - future incarnation of USA would clash with China, entertainment celebrities are going to be more important and have more clout than politicians, the gap between rich and poor would increase. Most of the audience would probably care little about those issues, but for them Futuresport offers passable entertainment.
RATING: 5/10 (++)
(Note: The text in its original form was posted in Usenet newsgroup rec.arts.films.reviews on July 26th 2004)
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