A better part of my youth was spent watching roller derby reruns on television. Although the sport never really caught on (despite unsuccessful revival attempts in both the 80’s and 90’s), at least a handful of movies were made to forever document it’s brief, but glorious popularity. Kansas City Bomber was the big studios version of a roller derby movie, and while it pales in comparison to The Unholy Rollers, it’s low budget drive-in counterpart, it’s still a lot of fun.
The flick features Raquel Welch as a single mother who pays the bills by being the top roller derby queen of
What I really like about this movie is the notable lack of the usual sports movie clichés. Sure Raquel is a single mother, but she more or less states up front that her job comes first and her kids (one of whom is a very young Jodie Foster) comes second. Even though there is one scene where her mother scorns her for not spending enough time with her children, none of this really interferes with Raquel busting heads while wearing roller skates. And while there is a bitter rivalry between Raquel and another skater on the team, it’s actually kind of refreshing because Raquel is pretty much a bitch at all times and not some cookie cutter goodie two shoes.
The dramatic aspects of the movie seem ripped out of a Lifetime Original, but whenever Raquel is on the track knocking the crap out of people, it’s damn good times. The roller derby action is well executed and exciting and I particularly liked the mid-game interviews Raquel gives in which she vows to kick her opponent’s (or sometimes teammate’s) ass. And even though Raquel doesn’t bare her considerable assets, in one scene she does don an incredibly sexy see through dress. McCarthy is also quite good as the manipulative owner and lots of real roller derby stars add lots of color to the proceedings.