Review Date:
Director: Norman Jewison
Writer: William Harrison
Producers: Norman Jewison
James Caan
John Houseman
Maud Adams
Not exactly sure why they’d want to remake this film (there are certainly better prospective adaptations out there) but I suppose the actual premise of the game of Rollerball is quite interesting (you can read my review of the lousier 2002 version of this film HERE). The movie on the whole, on the other hand, well…not so much. In fact, this original version could EASILY have been trimmed down quite some with plenty of repetitive moments popping up throughout the film.

The lead character, played effectively by James Caan, just spends way too much time trying to figure out why the team owners want him to quit. And I mean…spends A LOT of time trying to figure it out! That’s pretty much the plot of the movie the whole way through. Not the most interesting way that this film could have gone.

After a while, I just didn’t care anymore and to be honest, once the reasoning behind his query was laid out near the end of the film, I wasn’t entirely impressed or surprised by its obvious conclusions. This film is basically a “big brother” type of flick with a little of the old GLADIATOR movies mixed in (this would be during the actual games, which are pretty cool).

There’s also a huge social commentary undertone with Communism et al, but all that was just too deep. Very little of it resonated with me. The score/soundtrack of the film was also non-existent and I didn’t entirely buy into the actual deaths during the games being taken so frivolously by everyone. Hello…?!? What’s up with you people…stop cheering…people are killing each other, dammit!!

All in all, the movie has a cool idea, a strong performance by Caan but nothing too entertaining otherwise.

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian




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