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TV Review

'Futuresport' Skates Over the Edge of Believability

October 01, 1998|DON HECKMAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The story meetings that led to the production of ABC's "Futuresport" were probably more entertaining than the picture itself. Imagine what a burst of producing and writing creativity it must have taken to come up with a tale in which the future of the free world is resolved via a competition between two teams on free-floating skateboards.

But what's really amazing about this disjointed future epic, with its cheesy visuals and utterly unbelievable story line, is that it ever got made in the first place. "Futuresport" has the look (but none of the fun or the action) of a computer game, and its appeal skews it a lot closer to the Saturday morning TV audience than it does to the much-coveted male 18- to 45-year-old crowd.

Wesley Snipes, making his network television movie debut, makes a valiant effort to bring some coherence to the Rasta-like character of Obike Fixx, the creator of the Futuresport game--a kind of high-speed combination of tube skateboarding, hockey and basketball. But Snipes, Vanessa L. Williams and Dean Cain are ultimately overwhelmed by a confusing script, rudderless direction and shallow characterizations.

The premise is as rudimentary as it is silly. The year is 2025 and, for no apparent reason, a terrorist group called HILO (Hawaiian Liberation Organization) is attempting to disrupt the social fabric of Los Angeles. Futuresport's most famous star, Tre Ramzey (Cain), proposes that the confrontation between the U.S. and the HILO crowd (which is associated with some sort of alliance of Pacific nations) be settled via a climactic game. But the question is whether the egocentric Ramzey can abandon his self-centered playing style and bring his team together into a winning combination. Want to make a wild guess about whether he succeeds?

*

* "Futuresport" airs at 9 tonight on ABC (Channel 7). The network has rated it TV-14 (may be unsuitable for children under age 14).

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