Rollerball (1975) / Sci Fi-Action
MPAA Rated: R for violence and language
Running Time: 125 min.
Cast: James Caan, John Houseman, Maud Adams, John Beck, Moses Gunn
Director: Norman Jewison
Screenplay: William Harrison
Review published October 30, 1997
In the future, corporations have taken over the world, and together they devise a game that is meant to teach the masses the values they want, namely the team and corporation is more important than the individual. Now a man named Jonathan E. (Caan, The Godfather Part II) has become a hero to the people for his superior play and the corporate higher-ups request him to retire. Jonathan think otherwise, as his love of the game is about the only thing in his life since the corporations took his only true love away.
Rollerball has an interesting idea, but any pretenses of delivering a message get lost during some violent action and rather tepid dramatic scenes. The most memorable scenes are of the game of Rollerball itself, which is where almost all of the interesting moments take place.
Some lackluster soap opera subplots involving the love Jonathan has lost and some ridiculously unintelligible plot to get Jonathan to retire mire the film down due to a lack of plausibility. Still, it does spark enough decent sci-fi elements to make it watchable if overlong and underdeveloped entertainment.
©1997 Vince Leo