Writer: William Harrison (Screenplay)
Starring: James Caan, John Houseman, Maud Adams, John Beck, Moses Gunn, Pamela Hensley
Plot: In a corporate-controlled future, an ultra-violent sport known as Rollerball represents the world, and one of its powerful athletes is out to defy those who want him out of the game.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Entertaining Sci-Fi Sports Film
Story: Rollerball starts as we get to see how the sport of Rollerball is played with the star of the league Jonathan E (Caan) and his team picking up another win in the league. The sport of Rollerball is a mix of roller-skating, motorcycling and fighting diving into the violent desires of the audience.
Star player of the Houston team Jonathan E has the attention of the owner of the sport Bartholomew (Houseman)) who will be giving Jonathan his own show looking at his career as the team prepares for semi-finals of the season.
When the powers that be want to change the face of the sport they want Jonathan to retire from the game for the greater good for the world. When Jonathan doesn’t want follow through the league gets new deadlier rules Jonathan and his team must overcome the odds against them to win the title and bring down the corporations running the league.
Thoughts on Rollerball
Characters/Performance – Jonathan E is the star of a world-famous sport, he teaches up and coming players the game, while being a brilliant face for the sport for the media. He winning mentality is a threat to the people who run the sport but he will fight for trophies and his team mate’s lives. Bartholomew is your typical businessman owner of the league who wants to dictate how the league is run as well as not having anyone bigger than the sport.
Performance wise James Caan is great in the lead role showing the physical side of the sport as well as the brains to want to understand the bigger picture. John Houseman works as the businessman character too showing how corrupt the sport can become. Looking into the rest of the cast they all give good performances too.
Story – The story shows once more a future world where people have found a dangerous sport to turn too while the rest of the world is under control from the corporate leaders. This at the core of the story is the look into one man having to stand up against these people to give the people of the world hope for the future that they won’t be controlled by the corporations.
Action/Sci-Fi/Sports – The action is big and grows through each game on the level of violence being taken into the game, we are kept on the edge through each game to see what the next big hit will be. The sci-fi side of the story comes from where the world is now turning to a sport to get them through their days.
Settings –The Rollerball arena is a brilliant creation that shows just how deadly the sport can be, we also have plenty of futuristic looking settings showing us how this future will look.
Final Thoughts – This film is long and does play into the idea of corporate fear taking over the world nicely, the sport is entertaining to watch with the violent nature it has making it all come together to be an entertaining film.
Overall: This is a film that stands up there with the best of the sci-fi world created.