Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Roller Blade Warrior Taken By Force


There has remained some interest in one of the films by Donald G. Jackson, Roller Blade Warrior: Taken by Force. I wrote this piece to provide a better understanding about some of the factors surrounding this film and to provide an understanding about what he truly felt about this movie. I hope it provides you with some food for thought.

Donald G. Jackson
Roller Blade Warriors Taken by Force

By Scott Shaw

I thought I would take a few moments and explain a little bit about Donald G. Jackson’s feelings about his film, Roller Blade Warriors, as I am periodically asked questions about this movie.
Since his passing in 2003, I have watched as concentration on the films of Donald G. Jackson has swayed from interest to the lack thereof and back again. Due to the fact of the bizarre nature of most of his films, some of these features have remained under discussion by those who enjoy viewing cinematic creations such as these, while others have not. As my promise to him, in his dying days went, I have strived to keep his filmmaking legacy alive. But, the reality of the reality is, times change as do the minds and the tastes of people. This being detailed, and as a foundation for what I am about to say next, don’t you believe that if one is to truly honor the filmmaking legacy of a filmmaker one should follow their direction in how they wished to be remembered?
Donald G. Jackson was a complicated, most would say, psychologically disturbed individual. This being stated, he did what he did with a passion. This passion, however, lead him into doing and saying things that others certainly disliked and even he often regretted. This too was the case with many of his films. He would often describe his films, once they were completed, as just another piece of crap on the shit pile. This was especially his feelings about Roller Blade Warrior.
If you watch the documentary I put together on the first film we attempted to make together, Roller Blade 3: The Movie That Never Was, you will see him reference his films Roller Blade and Roller Blade Warrior as not very good. But, the film he was then making, Roller Blade 3: Samurai Sisters, as a would-be good film. Of course, this did not come to be the case. Nonetheless, his distaste for Roller Blade Warriors goes much deeper than this.
Don certainly was a lover of women. Though he was married for decades, he bedded many of his starlets. He was no saint. This changed, however, as he moved towards his later years. He had a strong religious re-conversion, re-embracing his Christian faith. Though he would tell me he never liked the physical violence perpetrated against the female characters in Roller Blade Warrior, blaming it on the screenwriter, as he neared his later days, he truly was disgusted by what takes place in that film. Of all his films, he would tell me, that was the film he wished he had never made; at least not created with the storyline that was presented.
That was his feeling, as simple as that. He asked me to do all I could to bury this film after his passing. Following his wishes, I have done all I could to do just that.
As we all understand, with the internet came uncontrollable movie distribution. Though in the early years, after Don’s passing, it seemed interest faded in Roller Blade Warriors, then, people with no rights to distribute the movie, attempted to release it via various methods. For most, this was a means to make money, and, I suppose, for others it was due to the fact that they enjoyed the movie. But, you must question, why would someone enjoy watching a movie where women are brutalized?
With no other method, and becoming tired of paying my attorney a lot of money to halt people who had no rights to the movie from distribution it, my distribution company released it on DVD as a means of substantiating the ownership of the only person who held the rights to this film and to maintain control over its distribution. There was minimal interest in the release of this film and that, I believe, would have been what Don would have wanted.
So, for your fans of Roller Blade Warriors out there… For you distributors who are circulating this movie with no rights to do so… For you admirers of Donald G. Jackson, who are you providing a service to when you disseminate this film? Donald G. Jackson? No. Yourself? Maybe. But, if you care about a filmmaker, you should care about their wishes, whether they are alive or no longer with us. Isn’t that the best way to pay tribute to their filmmaking legacy?
And, to all you filmmakers out there who create works of cinema where women, or anyone, is brutalized, who does that help and how does that make any level of life any better? For all you viewers of cinema where women, or anyone is abused, how does that make any level of life any better?
Truthfully, I really hate to even discuss this movie, as it, and the way Don felt about it, is so negative.
This really brings us to a question of life and something that each of us must consider as we live through our days, is what you are doing setting the stage for the betterment of the world or is what you are doing glorifying the bad elements of life? Moreover, is what you are doing going to be regretted in future times?  Think before you do.
My advice. and my hope for the world, is that we should all only do things that expands positivity to all who encounter our anything.

This article can also be found on Scott @ Roller Blade Warriors.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Roller Blade Seven: The Never-Ending Story - Scott Shaw - Zen Filmmaking


By Scott Shaw

As I say way too often, “It doesn’t seem like a week ever goes by when I am not asked some question about The Roller Blade Seven, am insulted as per it’s creation, or someone gives me some nonsense about something involving RB7.” I certainly never expected that when Don Jackson and I were creating the movie. And, to be truthful, I really don’t want it now. Why it has held whatever place it has in the Cult Film Hierarchy, is beyond me. When I started out on the film, I thought we were going to make an action-adventure flick. Wrong! I would have far preferred that it would have just been forgotten and maybe when I’m ninety years old someone found it on some old video tape as they were tracking through the elements of history and then came and interviewed me, asking, "WTF?"

Roller Blade Seven was distributed across the globe. It has been set in many languages. And, as I have written in numerous places, I never got any of that money. And it made a lot of money. I’m not going to go into the whole Hollywood world of rip offs here, and who did what and why, but I will state an interesting point, (and I have also mentioned this fact in some of the pieces I have written about my interaction with the creation of this film in the past), I never signed any release(s) for the rights to any of my creative contributions. In fact, nor did the publishers of my books because they would have had to release their rights, as well. Thus, no one and no company who ever distributed the film had the right to do so; at least not in using my image, my music, the words from my books that make up much of the dialogue of the film, and all the other etc. I did. Thus, they all were guilty of copyright infringement. The fact is, I was promised to be paid, I never was. Moreover, it was sold to so many countries and changed hands through various distributors, who could I sue? Plus, all that’s very expensive and, as I’ve talked about in the past, when we finished the film, I had worked for free, and with getting none of the back-end money I was promised, I was dead broke.

Now, this all may sound like a, "Woe is me," piece, but it is not. It’s just putting some facts out there. It’s just stating some facts about the Hollywood Game. I mean, here I am, thirty years later—thirty years after the creation of that film, and some people still use it as a definition of me. But, is it? Was it ever? No. Plus, DGJ passed-away long ago, so I am the only one they seek out.

And, the fact is, I have made so many other films that were better representations of my creative vision, but few people speak to me about those. They want to talk about a bad movie and its sequel and somehow use those features as the definition of my life.

I am under no illusion about what The Roller Blade Seven and Return of the Roller Blade Seven actually are. You’re not going to get an argument from me about how bad they are. The only difference is, I was there. I was one of the two creative forces that produced those pieces of Zen Cinema. So, for me, it’s all an inside joke as I was there all the way through; from begin, to end, to today.

I believe this is something you really need to think about as you cast your definitions onto other people. The fact of the fact is, if you weren’t there, you cannot know the inside truth. You don’t know the true truth about the person. You don’t know the true truth about the how and the why and the what happened because of the what happened. So, who are you to think anything about anybody? Don’t you think it’s just better to focus on your own development and not to lose yourself in apprising the life and becoming obsessed about what someone else has created? Because, the fact of the fact is, you can never truly understand someone else’s reason why.

For those of you who want to check out this bizarre piece of Zen Filmmaking history, you can view it on YouTube: Legend of the Roller Blade Seven.


The Roller Blade Seven @ Scott

Scott Shaw Zen Filmmaking


Sunday, June 6, 2021

Roller Blade Seven DVD - Zen Filmmaking

As of 4 June 2021 will no longer be distributing films on DVD from Independent Film Production Companies like Light Source Films. We are now offering our DVD's via a new distribution company. If you want to pick up a Roller Blade Seven DVD here's the link:

Roller Blade Seven DVD.


The Roller Blade Seven @ Scott

Scott Shaw Zen Filmmaking


Thursday, July 2, 2020

Avant-garde detachment on the rollers: the Zen film director Scott Shaw and Donald Jackson (Roller Blade Seven)

 Here is an interestingly thoughtful article written about Zen Filmmaking, the Roller Blade Seven, Scott Shaw, and Donald G. Jackson. This article was written in Russian and is from a Russian website. The link is below. This is the Google Translation of the article. Nothing was changed or altered in any manner except the Roller Blade Seven photographs from the Russian website have been removed. 

Editor's note: We decided to take part in the action # avengarda month , which was launched by Moore (wonderful), calling all not indifferent "to give people anew to revel in the pleasure of the uncompromising and violent avant-garde of the last century, whether Dadaists, experimental cinema, difficult and unusual poetry, daring philosophy , crazy architecture, beauty of painting, outlandish fiction, shocking actionism or avant-garde music. "

Details of this wonderful action can be read on the site of Moor, and our first Chapaevsky blow in this direction will be a note of Dali Lama XXIII about such a phenomenon as a zen cinematograph (those who are already acquainted can start to whistle softly - but this is optional).

In the world there were many avant-garde movements that proclaimed a variety of ideologies - mainly, of course, declaring their main goal to change human nature, renewal of art and other such epic and pretentious things. But there are also a few creators who openly admit that they are engaged in art for entertainment, making it a priority to get pleasure from the process. Not particularly well-known in wide circles, but having its own face, the school of "Zen-Film Directing" is the brainchild of precisely such people.

The story of what was later christened "Zen Filmmaking" began in 1991, when Donald Jackson, an American producer and director who directed the continuation of his low-budget production films Roller Blade and Roller Blade Warriors, invited Scott Shaw, an actor, musician and script writer, engaged in martial arts, - to participate in the creation of this sequel, called the Roller Blade Seven.

Perhaps because the film's design can be briefly described as an action story about samurai and ninjas on roller skates, during the stage of putting into effect the script written by Shaw and Jackson, most of the actors hired by the authors completely failed to fulfill their hopes (and the author of these lines in something can understand them): in their acting out half-naked novices of the Order of Light there was no soul and fire, and the models of samurai swords dissected the air without sufficient enthusiasm.

After several days of shooting, Shaw and Jackson made a fateful decision, which instead of another boring exploit freak they came out two parts of a very unusual film, which on profile sites continue to receive almost exclusively, either as low or as high as possible.

Shaw and Jackson decided to abandon the script, replacing it with improvisation: they invented story collisions on the move, explaining the remaining actors the general outline of what is happening and the approximate content of what they should say, and then relying on their improvisational abilities. Soon Shaw, who had been fond of oriental mysticism all his life, realized that this was truly a Zen approach - so this method was given the name of Zen filmmaking; and so Shaw found a new occupation for himself, to which he continues to devote most of his life.

The principles of Zen-filmmaking, formulated by Shaw after working on many films, are as follows. First of all, the absence of a script is important. Shaw gives two main reasons for this approach. Clearly scripted scenario, in his opinion, deprives the creative process of freedom, restricts the creators of the film to make changes, guided by spontaneous glimpses of inspiration. In addition, when faced with the embodiment of his clear plan by other people, the author will almost inevitably be disappointed that his ideal plan can not come to life exactly as he wants. In the case of Zen-filmmaking, "what happens is what happens."

In addition, Shaw formulated six rules of Zen filmmaking:

+ Use any unexpected situation.

+ If you can not waste time, money and energy to create large-scale scenery - do not waste it. Instead, find picturesque places and shoot there.

+ Just act! In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred everything will pass without problems.

+ Let your creative vision always be more important than the plot. For many directors, the starting point is a "good script", which they are trying to turn into a film, but everything written in the script can not be realized if the budget is not particularly large.

+ Zen filmmaking is a spontaneous process. Zen teaches that the attainment of enlightenment, satori, is possible only when the ordinary mind stops its activity: it is just as impossible to achieve Film Enlightenment by building its film according to scenarios and clear plans - there will always be a gap between the desired and the real.

+ Zen-filmmaking assumes rejection of expectations and desires - so any result becomes perfect.

Another important feature of Zen movies is editing: in the era of video clips, any footage suits, if you apply imagery to it. Shaw warns, however, that the spontaneity of the Zen film process does not mean ease, and compares it to sit-down zazen meditation: just as it is difficult for people to truly realize that they are already enlightened and possess the nature of the Buddha, it's not easy even when shooting a film, just letting it take place. In general, the ideology of Zen filmmaking can be characterized as the elimination of the maximum possible number of obstacles in the filming of the film - and the author's expectations are among the obstacles; The film process should become free and natural.

Guided by these principles, Shaw and Jackson constructed two parts of the film from the footage, the Roller Blade Seven (for which there is not a very distinct translation from the nineties with the appropriate nasal dubbing) and Return of the Roller Blade Seven, which the author of these lines believes, perhaps , their most outstanding achievement.

How does Zen look from the outside? Of course, to some extent both parts of the film resemble something like the movies of the studio Asylum, where the emphasis is on the savagery, to some extent - the actor's cabbage or the LARP session. But thanks to many factors, the story of the travel of the unruffled action-hero Hock, played by Scott Shaw himself, into the Roller Zone and about battles with weird villains looks like an excellent example of surreal cinema.

Roller Blade Seven and Return of the Roller Blade Seven from ordinary low-budget thrash movies are distinguished by easy and unconstrained "dreaminess" and unpredictability of what is happening, which is strengthened by the hypnotic soundtrack (the author of which is again Shaw) and a very unusual montage: for example, some action - scenes are shown many times from multiple angles at different speeds with small variations, which makes the banal fights turn into a fascinating spectacle reminiscent of duels of wizards, where everything is not what it seems.

Roller Zone with its inhabitants, moving almost exclusively on rollers and skateboards, is perceived as a psychedelic limb, the land of the dead, who have not yet realized that they are dead - the old rocker who played himself asks a gentleman in a cylinder in the middle of the desert where he can find Buddy Holly. Here are representatives of the forces of Light and the forces of Darkness, starting negotiations with a polite exchange of courtesies, several minutes send each other three letters, sitting at the table. Here against the background of the American flag raves about the skateboard villain Pharaoh, chained to a wheelchair.

In addition to Jackson and Shaw, obviously enjoying filming in their own film, other actors, some of whom are very famous - like Frank Stallone, Sylvester Stallone's younger brother, or Karen Black, portraying a fortune teller who shares a mushroom trip with Hock and his mentor, "Father Donaldo." Return of the Roller Blade Seven is compositionally more meditative and more saturated with fan service: oh yeah, sometimes boobs are shown here, like in the co-operative cinema of the nineties, so that the viewer does not relax.

Try to believe the author of these lines, who watched a lot of bad and boring low-budget films: both parts of the Roller Blade Seven only formally belong to the "next thrash of the nineties", and (unlike some Samurai Cop, just made fantastically bad) thanks to the creators' love they blossom real art - and their example is able to inspire and teach something new. However, no, never believe anything on what is written "Zen", check everything yourself!

I focused on two of the most outstanding, in my opinion, Zen works of Shaw and Jackson. However, Shaw has shot many more films, both alone and in collaboration with the now deceased Jackson; many movies are not so easy to get, but you can order through his site. Also, this site is full of notes on many aspects of Zen philosophy - and as the Real Zen Master, Shaw appears as a figure that is difficult to say if he is serious when he is shooting films such as "Beverly Hills Vampires-Bikers" or "Guns El Chupacabras ", or maybe all this is a grandiose rally or trolling ... If you are interested in this figure, you can undertake further research yourself .

In the future, perhaps, the author of these lines will finish the Russian subtitles to both parts of the film; but due to the general dream of what is happening, the translation here is perhaps no more important than in films like Jarmusch's "Limits of Control". Due to the underground nature of both parts of the Roller Blade Seven, the existing rips in the network, unfortunately, do not have a high image quality; However, when was the situation different with Enlightenment?

Dali Lama XXIII

Roller, Bimbos and Bushido

Here's a fun/interesting review of Roller Blade Seven we discovered on SciFi Universe. This is the Google translation: Italian to English. 

Here's the link to the original: The Roller Blade Seven

Movie Review: The Roller Blade Seven # 1 [1991], by Nicolas L.

Review written by Nicolas L. on Thursday, November 26, 2009 at 12h21

Donald G. Jackson left us six years ago. Almost completely unknown in our country (to my knowledge, none of his films were published in France), he was nevertheless one of the most glorious torchbearers of the American Z cinema. Many of his films - including the tetralogy Frogtown, remarkable for its wacky humor - are now considered cult, the kind of film that any fan of cinema bis US must have seen and own in his dvdthèque. 

In 1990, after the success of transmutations in the Indie US medium brought him a certain notoriety, Donald G. Jackson began producing a remake, that of Roller Blade, a film of action and martial arts completely broke where gangs of thugs in rollerblades clash. To do this, he manages to surround himself with a team of actors who will become his faithful fellow travelers. Indeed, if Donald G. Jackson loses a Roddy Piper (the star of Frogtown) having succumbed to the charms of the B series, he wins the friendship of big names of independent cinema like William Smith, Joe Estevez (the brother of Martin Sheen ), pornstar Jill Kelly, Frank Stallone (Sylvester Stallone's brother), the sexy Rhonda Shear and especially Scott Shaw, who will participate in writing the script and build with him the Zen Film Touch (a series of films shot without prior script writing).

If the scenario of Roller Blade Seven resumes the frame of the film released in 1986, it is quite different from its narrative style. Indeed, Donald G. Jackson and Scott Shaw surprise by giving birth to a script highlighting a strong psychedelic and experimental. The story is always set in a futuristic minimalist setting (in fact, this Wheelzone is only one of those immense channels of sewage evacuation of the American cities), which gives to the film an empty aspect rather disconcerting . We see Hawk Goodman (a character evoking a little MacLeod Highlander) fulfill a mission entrusted by the Reverend Donald (interpreted by the filmmaker in person!): Release the claws of the sect Master of Light Institute, led by Saint Offender, the beautiful Sister Sparrow. In his quest, he will have to face, armed with his katana and mounted on rollers (like almost everyone in this film) the terrible Pharaoh, the cruel Black Knight, ninja gangs and rogue gangs. He will also find allies along the way ... 

Far from the (very friendly) comics style displayed in Frogtown, Roller Blade Seven surprises by its atypical realization, made of repetitions of identical sequences, psychedelic passages followed by still silences, inserts tracks suprising (way video games), scenes slow motion and looping. In fact, beyond the simple action film, Roller Blade Seven is also a real trip without real logic, no rhythm, a dream awake without tail or head. This experimental approach is introduced (and justified?) By a sequence where Hawk Goodman, to become a roller warrior, must swallow hallucinogenic mushrooms under the eyes of his shaman, played by the star of the series B Karen Black, and supported by a Blurry photography and rollerblade outfits, ranging from clown gear to fitness bodysuits, to latex knight armor and banjo wear. In short, it's anything.

Directed with 300,000 unfortunate dollars, Roller Blade Seven may displease but certainly not leave indifferent. The vision of this film can be just as painful experience, a real torture, as a fascinating moment (well, I think). It is difficult to precisely define the work of Donald G. Jackson. Sometimes actors, for no reason, cross the screen from left to right, stop, take kung fu poses, before the story passes to something else via a simple cut. The music, absolutely cheesy, amplifies the sensation of nullity already well highlighted by the presence of ridiculous characters by their accoutrements and their attitudes. However, through this debauchery of flaws that could lead to the pestle, we can feel - it seems - the artistic approach and, foul dung, the film has managed to move to the status of cult film. 

Even more surprising. Roller Blade Seven wants to be an action movie, a martial arts movie. Out, the sequences featuring the martial choreography are empty of any rhythm and are only a series of plans linked by a fitting absolutely not opportune. The protagonists appear as soft and slouchy and the amateur of chambara will probably live a real nightmare to the vision of these passages. Note also that the footage is extremely wise, sex and gore are indeed completely absent.

Nicolas L.'s conclusion about the movie: The Roller Blade Seven # 1 [1991]

Roller Blade Seven puzzles me. After three screenings, I still do not know if this film is a real foutage of mouth realized by a hype or an avant-garde stroke of genius. I will therefore forget the artistic aspect to judge it essentially on my primary feeling; on the sensation of entertainment. Unfortunately for the film, considering only this aspect, my opinion is hardly laudatory. I was really bored in front of Roller Blade Seven. To be direct, I will even say that I have often royally pissed. And I'm not the only one, I even thought at one point that, stunned by boredom, my sleepy parrot would fall from his perch.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Roller Blade Seven: The Music Video - Scott Shaw Zen Filmmaking

  By Scott Shaw

Over the past several months there have been a couple of people who have taken footage from The Roller Blade Seven and used it to make music videos. This is not the first time this has happened. Back in the '90s there were a couple of bands that did this. One was an electronica group from Sweden (I believe). Their music was very good. This was back before YouTube became the massive force it has become and the video was uploaded to a different platform. I forget the name of the band and I never downloaded the video. I guess I thought it was going to be up there forever. Obviously, I was wrong. If you know who that band was and/or have a copy of the video, let me know.
More recently, a couple of people have followed suit. I’m not going to name band names here, just to keep this simple, but the first time this happened (recently) I thought it was done by the band themselves so I contacted them via their website as I always liked their music. The leader of the band got all pissy with me asking if I was trying to promote my movie by using his music. As I told him, Roller Blade Seven needs no publicity. I even told him how he could do a Copyright Take Down on YouTube if he wanted to. But, at least so far, he has not. So, I don’t actually know who combined their music with RB7 footage or why?
Overall, I have mixed feelings about this whole process. On one hand, it is kind of flattering, as the fact is we made RB7 over twenty-five years ago and there is still a lot of discussion surrounding it and a lot of footage being appropriated. On the other hand, it is all kind of weird because no one has ever contacted me asking me if it is okay to use footage from one of my films to make their music videos. And yes, I do own all rights, title, and interest to the film. So???
From a certain perspective, this is all fine, great, and interesting but it sets me to questioning, “Why.” One of the main issues is that I have moved on so far as a filmmaker since we made RB7. Everything about my filmmaking style has evolved. Yet, people are still looking to the past. They are not coming to me and asking me to make the kind of music video, for a specific song, that I would do today; they are just grabbing footage and running away with it. And certainly, no one is paying me any money for the use of my footage, which is one of the whole points of Copyright Laws, nor is anyone even asking me if I like the music that they are using Roller Blade Seven footage for—which I believe should be one of the elemental criteria. So again, I have mixed feelings.
For example, the most recent band that I have found using RB7 footage for their music video, I am not really about. I don't really like their music. Initially, I thought to do a Copyright Take Down on it but then I realized that would be a bit disingenuous as I am sure some people like their music.
For anyone who has read the story of Roller Blade Seven, they understand that the movie cost my life a lot. So, to not even ask me if it’s okay to use the footage is a bit discourteous. If you love the movie, great! If you like the footage, great! But, you should at least have the reverence for the filmmaker to ask him (me) if it’s okay to use the footage in association with your music video or any other visual project before you just grab it and run.
For the record, I don’t work cheap. But, I can be hired. So, if you want to do it right, you should contact me and maybe we can make a Scott Shaw Zen Film Music Video, twenty-first century style, for your song. Yeah, yeah, I get it… You want to grab RB7 publicity (as shoddy as that is) and you want your footage for free and you don’t want to have to work too hard to get your music video out there. But hey, if you like Roller Blade Seven, think about the filmmaker first!
This is all kind of like when you’re in a room and someone is talking about you and you know they’re talking about you and you want to say, “Hey, you realize I’m standing right here.” But, you don’t say anything and you just let them speak.  :-)

Copyright © 2018—All Rights Reserved

Roller Blade Seven The Unseen Scenes - A Scott Shaw Zen Film - Zen Filmmaking

Roller Blade Seven The Unseen Scenes Take a look into the creation of the first Zen Film in this Scott Shaw Zen Documentary. Click on the ti...