In a future mind-controlling game, death row convicts are forced to battle in a 'doom'-type environment. Convict Kable, controlled by Simon, a skilled teenage gamer, must survive 30 sessions in order to be set free. Or won't he?
Johnathan Cross, a lover of extreme sports, is recruited by Alexi Petrovich to star in his sportive invention, Rollerball. Johnathan accepts and learns the ropes of Rollerball: The players are on Rollerblades, trying to bring a heavy metal ball into a high goal. Also, there are motorcyclists around to bring momentum to the players. Oh yes, and there are no rules in the game. During his skyrocketing career, Johnathan has to experience what Alexi has found out: Blood brings more viewing pleasure to the audience. So, Alexi starts to bribe members of the different teams to cause more trouble than necessary on the field, and the viewers love it. Only a little later, Johnathan's life is already in extreme danger as well as those of his friends and teammates. In a final game, Johnathan and his team have to fight for mere survival against their real opponent - their boss Alexi Petrovich. Written by
Julian Reischl <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Due to negative previews, the release date was shifted many times from 18 May 2001, to 13 July 2001, then to 1 August 2001 and to 17 August 2001, and then finally moved off the schedule for the year to February 2002. See more »
During the final game Jonathan's helmet is knocked off, but in the next shot it is back on. See more »
You see Yevgeny over there, so full of himself now. He used to work in the post office. I introduced him to the proper financing, and now he owns the mines. Yeah, making a fortune. Keeps the miners in line. Good business. You might wonder why I'm not in it myself. I don't need to own the mines, Jonathan. Do you know why? Because I own the man who owns the mines. All he has, I have. Same with the supermarkets, the TV station, locomotive plant. I don't need a political position, because I own the...
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A good friend of mine, and fellow rabid film fan, said he would give me a tenner (£10) if I honestly felt that Rollerball was worth a score higher than 1/10; as much as I need the cash, I just can't bring myself to lie. Rollerball is absolutely dire and truly deserves the lowest rating possible.
A muddled, unexciting piece of drivel from the word go, John McTiernan's lousy remake of Norman Jewison's 70s cult favourite is every inch as bad as you have probably heard. Perpetually-perplexed-looking Chris Klein is unwisely cast as Jonathan (portrayed by James Caan in the original), a thrill junkie who is convinced by good friend Marcus Ridley (LL Cool J) to try his hand at Rollerball, a dangerous team sport played in Russia and its neighbouring countries.
The evil men controlling the sport, led by Alexis Petrovich (Jean Reno), are corrupt gangsters who will trade players lives in order to boost their ratings. But a brave American citizen like Jonathan isn't about to kowtow to the demands of nasty foreigners, and sets about upsetting the applecart.
To be honest, there are so many reasons to despise this movie, I really do not know where to start. I guess as good a place as any would be with director McTiernan, who seems to have lost all ability to make a decent film. This is the man who redefined the action movie in the 80s with Die Hard. He also proved he could do a decent remake with The Thomas Crown Affair. So what the hell happened here?
His Rollerball is unexciting, glossy toss that makes the mistake of pandering to the teen crowd. As a result, we get a pretty boy lead 'actor' (Klein makes Keanu Reeves look like Olivier), a rapper playing support, an ex-model (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) as the love interest, and even an inexplicable appearance by noise-merchants Slipknot. The script treats the viewer with contempt, making no attempt to explain the titular game, rendering the action scenes meaningless. If we have no idea of the rules of the sport, how the hell can we get excited about it?
Visually the film is even worse: the 'roller dome'the arena in which Jonathan is king (despite constantly looking as if he is about to wet himself)resembles a kids activity area rather than a tough battlefield; the players, dressed in shiny PVC, look like they're off to an S&M party; and for some reason an entire chase scene is shot viewed though some kind of night-vision goggles.
The acting ranges from poor (Reno, Romijn-Stamos) to very poor (Klein, rapidly becoming my most hated actor, and LL Cool J).
Gone is the bone-crunching realistic violence of the original film; in McTiernan's version of the sport, it seems that no-one is supposed to get hurtif they do get injured, it's because of their unscrupulous bosses and their money-grabbing ways. Gone is the futuristic settingthis one is supposed to be in the here and now! And gone is any respect I had for JohnMcTiernan.
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