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Rollerball (2002)

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The big thing in 2005 is a violent sport which can have some pretty serious consequences... like dying.

Director:

John McTiernan

Writers:

William Harrison (short story "Roller Ball Murder"), William Harrison | 2 more credits »
Bottom Rated Movies #29 | 5 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Chris Klein ... Jonathan Cross
Jean Reno ... Alexis Petrovich
LL Cool J ... Marcus Ridley
Rebecca Romijn ... Aurora (as Rebecca Romijn-Stamos)
Naveen Andrews ... Sanjay
Oleg Taktarov ... Denekin
David Hemblen ... Serokin
Janet Wright ... Coach Olga
Andrew Bryniarski ... Halloran
Kata Dobó ... Katya
Alice Poon Alice Poon ... Red Team #7
Lucia Rijker Lucia Rijker ... Red Team #9
Melissa R. Stubbs ... Red Team #12 (as Melissa Stubbs)
Paul Wu ... Red Team #16 - U Chow
Yolanda Hughes-Heying Yolanda Hughes-Heying ... Red Team #28
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Storyline

In this fast action-packed thriller, Jonathan (Chris Klein), Marcus (LL Cool J), and Aurora (Rebecca Romijn) compete in a dangerous, fierce sport called Rollerball. Although, Johnathan and Marcus try to quit, cruel and vindictive promoter Alexi Petrovich (Jean Reno) encourages them to still participate. Petrovich sends his men to attack them while they are on a trip, but Johnathan survives. In the end during a game of Rollberball, Petrovich attempts a public execution of Johnathan, but the question is will Johnathan get revenge. Written by Clifton Baird

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Mezameyo tôsô honnô [Japan] See more »

Genres:

Action | Sci-Fi | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, nudity and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA | Germany | Japan

Release Date:

8 February 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Batalia pe role See more »

Filming Locations:

Blainville, Québec, Canada See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$70,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,013,548, 10 February 2002, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$18,990,798, 23 May 2002

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$25,852,764, 31 December 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS | Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the first draft of the script was considered by many to be very good and even superior to the original film, director John McTiernan didn't like it because it focused more on social commentary, while he thought that audience would like to see more of the Rollerball scenes. This is why he had the original script to be completely re-written several times and made sure that it focuses more on WWE-like showmanship, including crazy costumes and stunts.

The movie was filmed in about 15 weeks, between July 24th and November of 2000. McTiernan's first cut which was over two hours long was test screened in Las Vegas around April or May of 2001, and it got very negative response from test audience. Release date was then pushed forward from May to 13 July of 2001 by MGM in order to test the movie again, hoping that they would find the right audience for it.

Harry Knowles from Ain't it Cool News was invited by McTiernan on test screening of the film in Long Island sometime after the first test screening, and in his review of the McTiernan's original cut Knowles said that movie is bad but at least it's unapologetic hard R film with lot of nudity and some really brutal violence in Rollerball scenes, but even as a workprint it was obvious how badly the action scenes were edited and story was bad. "The 'Rollerball' edit I saw was one of the worst films I'd seen in my life. There was jeering in the theater," Knowles said. Knowles was also one of the people who read the original first draft of the script (one that McTiernan rejected) and he said that it was amazing script which solved all the problems of original film.

Following the negative test screenings, MGM ordered massive re-shoots and re-edits to be done on the film in the summer on 2001. Shortly after the test screenings, MGM appointed a new head of marketing and distribution, Robert Levin, who convinced McTiernan to let go of the summer release date. This would give the studio more time to devise a better marketing strategy and allow McTiernan to do re-shoots and to re-edit the film for a PG-13 rating, in an attempt by studio to get wider audience to see the film. Release date was then pushed again from August all the way to February of 2002, due to all the post production work causing delays. McTiernan shot two weeks of additional footage in fall of 2001 to clarify certain scenes, especially the film's ending, and also cut down the violence and all the nudity.

On the orders by MGM studio, around 30 minutes were cut out of original rough cut of the film and entire ending was re-shot and changed. Some of the cuts were made because MGM thought that movie was "Too Asian". In original ending, Petrovich gets killed by Sanjay and Jonathan and Aurora take the plane ride back to US, during which Jonathan says that he will continue playing the Rollerball game in US, and how he is part owner of the game.

Some of the scenes that were cut for PG-13 rating, but were never put back even in later DVD and Blu-Ray so called R rated versions of the film, include lot more blood in all the Rollerball scenes and parts like skulls getting smashed, bones getting broken, teeth flying out... Scene where Aurora is topless and walks towards Jonathan in the locker room originally didn't had shadow over her (this was added in post production to cover her up for PG-13 rating), their sex scene was also longer, and so was their conversation while they are laying down in sauna. Some of the other similar edits that were done on more graphic scenes in the film include digitally replacing blood spurts with sweat.

Some of the action scenes were also longer in original cut and/or edited differently or re-shot, like for example the opening scene in San Francisco which was partially re-shot after original version of it was considered to be too confusing due to the editing.

Infamous night vision sequence was actually a re-shot version of the scene. After realizing that they shot original version of the scene to look too dark, filmmakers had to return and re-shot entire sequence, delaying the movie's release for six months. But due to the budget issues this scene couldn't be finished properly so it was decided to add green visual tint to the scene to make it look like it's night vision, even though it makes no sense for why would this scene have that look.

Original score by Brian Transeau was also removed because it sounded "Too Arabic" and was replaced with new score by Eric Serra. Also, some of the other music was changed or removed from the first cut of the film.

This was not the first time that McTiernan was involved in some troubled production. One of McTiernan's previous films, The 13th Warrior (1999) also had problems with bad test screenings of his director's cut, which lead to writer Michael Crichton taking over directing the re-shoots and re-edits of the film. See more »

Goofs

In the first game of Rollerball, when the red motorcycle spins on its back wheel, a wire can be seen connected to it. See more »

Quotes

English Sports Announcer: ROLLERBALL!
See more »

Alternate Versions

US theatrical version was edited (splashes of blood, language and a full frontal nudity scene by Rebecca Romijn) for a more commercial PG-13 rating. The DVD/VHS release features the uncut version and is rated R. See more »

Connections

References The Big Blue (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

The Race
See more »

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User Reviews

 
How to get an awful mess remaking a good film
7 March 2003 | by pzanardoSee all my reviews

I suspected 2002 "Rollerball" was an ugly movie, but not that ugly! Well, let's get rid of the only merit of the movie: the presence of Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, beautiful and tremendously sexy. Indeed, a statuesque female warrior is always sexy, all the more with that alluring scar on her face.

The tragic fact with "Rollerball" is that the story should be good, per se. The authors took the ideas from the original (and true) 1975 "Rollerball". They deleted the political and moral messages, which were somewhat a weakness of the 1975 film, and placed the story in some remote countries of a near future, allegedly ruled by violence, greed, abuse. But the way the film is made turns it into a disaster.

There is an over-long (and boring) preamble, with a race down-hill of some cretinous youngsters, in San Francisco. This is a great narrative mistake. The audience is anxious to know about the Rollerball game, and you excruciate them with idiots, easily found, alas!, in everyday life. In the next scene Jonathan (a remarkably blunt Chris Klein) has become the undisputed superstar of the Rollerball. We don't understand anything of the rules of the game. As a matter of fact, we don't understand anything of the plot! The guys on the screen keep talking about other guys, seemingly killed by the bad ones, or something like that. Who are who? The audience utterly ignores it. The next scene (say: someone escaping from somewhere) has no logical connection with the previous one. I bet that in the final editing of the movie a good 30 minutes were cut, making the story a complete mess. The only thing we get is that the villains deliberately provoke accidents on the field to raise the TV audience of the game. And then there is the lousy greenish nocturnal scene. Up to my knowledge, the worst visual idea in the history of cinema. Some 15 minutes of sufferings for the innocent viewer. The ending is even more ludicrous than expected.

But what is really incredible, even in a terrible movie, is that, in spite of the enormous technological improvements, the scenes of the game, and related special effects, are by far less spectacular, exciting, violent than those of the 1975 "Rollerball". The possibly interesting presence of women playing Rollerball is not exploited at all. The uniforms of the teams are worse than horrible, they are stupid.

There's nothing to save in "Rollerball". Just take Romijn-Stamos and bring her to another movie (keeping the scar on her face, if possible).


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