Rollerball (1975)

"Good"

Rollerball (1975) Review


Norman Jewison had a bomb in 1975 with Rollerball, a futuristic tale (set in 2018) in an era when war, poverty, nationality, and even individuality have been snuffed out. To appease the masses, a sport called rollerball has been devised -- a more brutal roller derby with motorcycles thrown in for good mix.

It's hardly 1984, but Jewison's dystopia has its moments, namely when rollerball champ Jonathan E. (James Caan) is skating around the course, thrashing his opponents into ground beef. When he squares off against evil corporate honcho Bartholomew (John Houseman, unforgettably uncomfortable in "the future"), the scenes are priceless.

While the plot has promise (what happens when a man beats a game that can't be beaten, thus proving that individualism isn't so bad after all...), it never goes far enough, relying instead on scene after scene around the roller rink. I'm already afraid of the 2001 remake of the film, which will assuredly be bloodier and less sensical. And no, that's not a good thing.



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