Writer: Larry Ferguson, John Pogue (Screenplay) William Harrison (Original Screenplay)
Starring: Chris Klein, Jean Reno, LL Cool J, Rebecca Romijn, Naveen Andrews Oleg Takarov
Plot: The big thing in 2005 is a violent sport which can have some pretty serious consequences… like dying.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Social Commentary 101
Story: Rollerball starts as we see aimless extreme sports lover Jonathan Cross (Klein) taking part in a boarding race through the streets of San Francisco only to be saved by his old friend Marcus Ridley (Cool J) who offers him a chance to take part in Rollerball in Central Asia where he can make a fortune for a couple of seasons work.
The sport is mostly hosted in Kazakhstan which while isn’t related to the film this does sum up big sports being offered major deals in Asia in the likes of football and cricket. Anyway, back to the story, Jonathan has become an overnight success in the sport and new favourite for owner Alexis Petrovich (Reno) with the sponsorship money pouring through Jonathan becomes the star for the whole crowd.
When the sport continues to draw a large audience with the violence we get to see just how deadly this sport can become as Jonathan’s popularity sky rockets he gets to live the life of luxury, fast cars, beautiful women and parties, but looking past this life Jonathan can see the problems within the country and with the sport he has become the star off.
Thoughts on Rollerball
Characters/Performance – Jonathan being made out to be the naïve extreme sports player works for this version of the film because he is the one that can see the problems in the sport he is the star of but isn’t able to take on what could easily be a dictator for the nation involved. Marcus is the best friend in the sport that is wiser to the country as well as happier to turn away from the problems he has seen. Aurora is your standard love interest with a dark past where she finds from the world. Alexis is the all powerful owner of the sport and what feel like the country that is desperate to be as rich as possible.
Performance wise Chris Klein does struggle to be the lead this film needs in places, but does pull the naïve side off well just not the action man lead. LL Cool J is fun as the best friend role while Rebecca Romijn does work for the love interest. Jean Reno does a good job as the power-hungry owner too. The rest of the supporting cast are all good without being scene stealers.
Story – The story here is different in enough places from the original to only really use the sport as the remaining elements from the original. This time the sport has only just started to take off, the money is in it but the story focuses on the idea the sport is about to become the biggest sport in the world because of the nearly acquired blood lust of the audience, with the star player seeing this and wanting out and to stop this change to the sport. We get the feeling the rest of the world gets when they see the billionaires in similar countries spending money on sports when the rest of the country is struggle to make ends meet.
Action/Sci-Fi/Sports – The action is bigger and bloodier than the original film which shows how the fans will be drawn to the blood sport. The sports side is all entertaining for the fans.
Settings – The settings are based in Asia showing how that is the new future for high paying sports owned by corrupt billionaire.
Final Thoughts – I do have a personal soft spot for this movie and I can see why people don’t like it, but this is one film you can switch your brain off and enjoy the mad over the top entertainment.
Overall: Simple and enjoyable sports action movie.