Set sometime in the not-so-distant future, America has fallen, as has the stock market, plunging its citizens into an unrecognizable new lifestyle. Gangs have taken over the streets, and a substance known as Mist has become the drug of choice. This drug is manufactured and distributed by a gang of racist rollerbladers known as the Rollerboys. Young Griffin (Corey Haim) is trying to keep his head above water, as well as take care of his little brother. Both of his parents have passed away, and they now live in a tent, and hang out with their good friend, Speedbagger. He struggles by as a pizza delivery boy, and his brother attempts to find one man’s trash that might be another man’s treasure. One night, he is driving his pizza van, and sees a house fire. He rescues the guy inside, who turns out to be Bullwinkle, the right hand man of Rollerboys boss and founder, Gary Lee (Christopher Collet). It just so happens that Griffin and Gary Lee used to be friends as kids, and they are reunited when Gary Lee makes Bullwinkle thank him for his good deed. Gary Lee attempts to woo Griffin into their gang, basically promising him anything. He even buys the pizza place a new delivery van. Griffin’s younger brother, Miltie, is far too tempted, and begins to sell the Mist on the streets for the Rollerboys. Griffin finds himself entangled in a complicated mess trying to keep Miltie out of trouble, keep Gary Lee and his attractive lifestyle away, not to mention being prompted by a police captain and undercover cop, Casey (Patricia Arquette) into going undercover in the gang to put the drugs and money together with the Rollerboys. Griffin soon takes the test and is initiated. Gary Lee is elated, and is thrilled that Griffin decided to join them. He tells him he can send him to college and they can make a lot of money. They buy him a brand new RV to live in, and Speedbagger is disappointed, feeling completely alienated by Griffin and his new ‘friends’. The Rollerboys are advised to never use the Mist drug, and of course, Miltie starts to, and is strictly reprimanded by Gary Lee. Their slogan, The Day of the Rope, turns out to be a sinister plot to sterilize all the users of the Mist drug in order to weed them out and create a master race. Griffin is determined to stop them and agrees to go undercover. Now, everything he does is carefully monitored and he is wary to say anything suspicious so as to not blow his cover. One day, the Rollerboys decide to beat up an old man wearing a hood. Griffin joins in, falling in line with Gary Lee and the others. It turns out this man is Speedbagger and he is admitted to the hospital. For Griffin, it’s now gone too far and he is willing to do anything to stop them, along with Casey and Miltie.
Having never really gotten along with Griffin, Bullwinkle had purposely chosen the Speedbagger as their target. Griffin threatens him and they all leave. He’s got to make a plan with the police, so Casey tells him to try to work the Misthouse, where the drug is made. Bullwinkle confronts Griffin at Casey’s house and discovers she is a cop. Suddenly, Casey’s partners bust in and shoot him dead. The police captain tells his crew to dump the body in the alley so it would look like a rival gang killed him. Griffin now serendipitously has the chance to work the Misthouse. The next day, he goes to work, and is made to work alongside Bango, another Rollerboy. After what seems like forever, the police make their move, and Bango realizes Griffin’s in on it. They fight, and just when you think Griffin’s done for, the two cops from earlier bust in and shoot him as well. They then turn on Griffin, having ulterior motives. They had been the ones that started the fire that trapped Bullwinkle in the first place! Casey shoots them, claiming she didn’t know they were dirty cops. Gary Lee has now gathered Miltie and is holding him hostage as he is surrounded by the cops. Griffin goes after Gary Lee on his own, in an amazing cat-and-mouse chase sequence on rollerblades. Griffin ends up winning the fight, and Gary Lee is arrested. The end of the film shows Griffin, Casey, Miltie, and a now healed Speedbagger leaving town in the RV, while Gary Lee plots behind bars to set up gangs in the pacific northwest, which just so happens to be where Griffin and company are heading.
This movie is kick-ass, plain and simple. With amazing skating sequences, rockin’ early 90s music, and a painfully attractive and seductive cast, this film has become quite the cult classic. It is definitely one of my favorites. It may be a little campy, but that’s part of the fun. And nowadays, this type of dystopian future doesn’t seem that impossible! Corey Haim (sigh…) is fantastic in this, as he is in anything, and this is one of my favorite roles of his. Featuring a sinister yet charismatic performance by Christopher Collet as Gary Lee, this movie outlines the worst that can happen when society falls apart and it becomes every man, or every race, for themselves. Collet, being an incredibly talented young actor in many films of the 80s and 90s, has never truly received the credit he deserves. I always felt he was an impeccable actor, and that he was never properly recognized for it. Patricia Arquette is, of course, attractive as ever, and always a consummate performer. If you’ve seen this movie, you’ll know why I’m crazy about it, and if you haven’t and are into semi-futuristic films, definitely see it!