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Rollerball (2002)

tomatometer

3

Average Rating: 2.6/10
Reviews Counted: 117
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 113

Removing the social critique of the original, this updated version of Rollerball is violent, confusing, and choppy. Klein makes for a bland hero.

6

Average Rating: 2.8/10
Critic Reviews: 34
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 32

Removing the social critique of the original, this updated version of Rollerball is violent, confusing, and choppy. Klein makes for a bland hero.

audience

15

liked it
Average Rating: 2.1/5
User Ratings: 36,691

My Rating

Movie Info

Jonathan Cross is an all-American hotshot, the most popular player in the fastest and most extreme sport of all time: Rollerball. Along with teammates Marcus Ridley and Aurora, Jonathan is living the high life -- fame, money, incredible cars -- all for giving viewers what they want: a dangerous game packed with visceral thrills, breakneck speed and head-slamming action. Things go wrong when Rollerball's creator, Petrovich, realizes that serious on-court accidents bring higher viewer ratings.

Jan 10, 2006

$18.9M

MGM/UA Distribution Company - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (118) | Top Critics (34) | Fresh (4) | Rotten (113) | DVD (33)

Only those attracted to Waterworld- or Last Action Hero-level big-budget disasters need bother with this one.

March 26, 2013 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Loud, crude and outlandish, Rollerball is a parody of itself, a frenzy of extreme-sports stunts masquerading as social commentary on violence and the corporate forces that feed off it.

March 26, 2013 Full Review Source: Associated Press
Associated Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Although Norman Jewison's stolidly grim and ultimately ludicrous 1975 original was hardly a landmark of nightmarish sci-fi, it towers over this.

June 11, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Rollerball looks like a checklist shaped by a 15-year-old mallrat: thrashing metal track, skateboards, motorbikes, cracked heads and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos with her top off.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Pushes the Hollywood action movie to stratospheric new levels of incoherence.

January 15, 2003 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The new version just makes you feel like you've been watching a lame late-night rerun while stuck in a thunderdome.

February 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A dire re-working of the provocative 1975 sci-fi satire.

March 26, 2013 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

This is a terrible big-budget fiasco with a go nowhere plot and terrible cast.

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

The French accents go from Canadian to European within a sentence, and that's only from the ones I could pick up. Who knows what other languages were massacred in the process?

November 20, 2008 Full Review Source: Hollywood.com
Hollywood.com

This film was long-delayed and much altered in post-production and it shows.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

This remake exists for no clear reason at all. It doesn't even make sense and the action is dull and repetitive.

November 8, 2007 Full Review Source: Sci-Fi Movie Page
Sci-Fi Movie Page

Rollerball is rigged to play as a critique of the corporate media's ruthlessly sensational tactics (overseas, that is), but even a junior-high hockey goalie could recognize it as a cheesy product of such sensationalism itself.

May 19, 2004 Full Review Source: City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul

It's rare to see a movie fail in every possible area ...

January 7, 2004 Full Review Source: Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)
Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)

...tries to work in some eye-rolling instances of social commentary, and this is where it fails completely.

August 1, 2003 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

An own-goal fest that will have you asleep in your seat by half time.

April 8, 2003 Full Review Source: RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)

Despite delivering a sexy Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, this 5-mph trainwreck is a badly executed attempt at action that can't even be relied upon to deliver mindless and gratuitous violence.

January 13, 2003 Full Review Source: Radio Free Entertainment
Radio Free Entertainment

The rollerball sequences feel sanitised and stagey.

December 23, 2002 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

The way the action is shown here, it's an incoherent mess.

December 8, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Such a brain dead, jukebox of a movie, it should've been called Tron for Dummies.

December 8, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

A mix of velocity and idiocy, this ruinous remake lacks the brawn -- and the brains -- of the 1970s original.

November 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Netflix
Netflix

There's nothing surprising about it, but aficionados of speed, quick cuts and high-tech mayhem will love John McTiernan's direction here. Oh, and there are way cool cars too.

October 21, 2002 Full Review Source: San Diego Metropolitan
San Diego Metropolitan

Audience Reviews for Rollerball

Probably one of the worst films I've ever seen. Is this really the same John McTiernan that brought us Die Hard and Predator? To be fair, he also brought us Last Action Hero and the awful The Thomas Crown Affair remake (What's next in the Norman Jewson remake list Fiddler on the Roof staring Arnold Schwarzenegger as Tevye?). And after all that it looks like he's going to jail for his troubles. Still, it doesn't make sense, he made The 13th Warrior 3 years before Rollerball and Basic a year later and both are good films that show a talented director, Rollerball looks like it was directed by a drunk child and edited by a Parkinsons sufferer with no arms and no eyes. The most annoying thing is that instead of recording both this and the original that were on TV the other day, I recorded this and its repeat an hour later. Still, like my Wife said, "Look on the bright side, you get to delete it twice".
March 21, 2013
SirPant

Super Reviewer

Within the first few minutes of this film you can easily see the direction its taking and that its gonna be bad. With horrible computer generated images and heavy metal playing straight away its all too clear you are in for a modern piece of crapola.

The first action sequence has 'Jonathan' flying down San Francisco streets on some kind of skateboard thing, kinda like a toboggan or something. Its pointless, bland, completely uninteresting and makes no difference to the plot, just like the entire film. It is there we find out Chris Klein is our hero, playing the role James Caan did so well, what is totally ridiculous is in no way does Klein look like he could be a powerful 'Rollerball' player.

As for the game itself its a horrific mess of over the top unrequired gloss that is completely the opposite from the original material. All the players are decked out in pathetic costumes that look like something from a mardi gras, the women are squeezed into rubber/latex fetish outfits (I quite liked that) and the helmets worn just make you laugh, talk about nonfunctional for the game. Everything in this film is needlessly blown out of proportion whilst also ejecting the entire sterilised political bigbrother type concepts of the first film.

The other hilarious issue with this film, apart from the pantomime like costumes on the players, is the track or arena. The track where the games are held in the original film was a large circular hard surfaced arena like in speed skating (without the ice naturally). In this remake the track is a figure 8 shape with ramps, dips, bumps, high levels and what looks like chutes to skate down, in short it looks like a kids skateboard park cross adventure playground.
This whole concept completely removes you the viewer from the film as there is simply no way the huge amount of players and bikes could fit on this pathetic track/arena. You can see they don't in many shots throughout the film!, its a total fudge up I tell ya, a funny one at that. The action is a horrible muddle of skating, blood, fighting and stupid bike stunts all crammed within this tiny arena, at the same time you have other players skating down from higher levels or platforms for no apparent reason other than to look cool in the film.

Oh and the track/arena had its own rock band on the sidelines to play the right tone of metal to accompany the in-game violence. Do I need to mention how jokey that is? yes...yes I do, it was embarrassingly jokey, just like the oversized helmets some of the players wore.

I understand that the original 77 film had limitations of tech for the era and I'm sure it may have been more stylised and flashy if the creators had the modern benefits this 02 film had. But like many other films ('Star Wars') the limitations of the time proved to be the films winning key, this element like other modern films has been lost completely here.

Instead we are presented with an absolute turd of a film with shockingly bad 'action' set pieces (despite not actually requiring major action set pieces for the plot), dreadful visuals that might as well be that 'Gladiators' TV show complete with glitter and sparkles, a god awful thrash/heavy metal soundtrack just in case you forgot this film was suppose to be tough and your obligatory dire big name cast hot of the heels of other poor major blockbusters (yeah stick him/her in it, big name, can't go wrong, doesn't matter if they actually fit the role or not pfft!).

The finale is a typical example of how less is more. The whole film is an example of how less is more frankly but the ending is so cliched and dumb it was awkward to watch.

A vile modern remake that deservedly flopped bigtime thank god. Its just a shock that McTiernan was behind the camera for this, the man who gave us 'Die Hard' and 'Predator' for fudges sake!.
August 4, 2012
phubbs1

Super Reviewer

What is there to say about this remake of the classic film? words aren't enough to describe the abomination that is Rollerball. The film is dreadful with a bad script, bad acting which goes well with the bad actors, and what surprises me is that it was made by John McTiernan the same director who directed some monumental action films such as Die Hard, Predator and The Hunt For Red October. This is simply a bad film made by a once good director. The story is terrible and the cast are all of bunch talentless morons that make this less enjoyable by the minute. The thing that was interesting about the film was Slipknot's cameo, and as a big metalhead, I thought it was pretty cool. But to say that a band salvaged a dreadful film is plainly stupid. Rollerball belongs on the same list as other lackluster "re imaginings" as most recent horror films. This is a dreaful train wreck and it insults you from start to finsh. Don't be fooled by the "cool" action scenes" they're not that great. The original 1975 classic Rollerball is the definitive version, and those who've seen this train wreck should check out the original, you'll at least redeem your senses by watching a terrific classic. This film should be avoided like an Uwe Boll film. At least Uwe Boll films are humorously entertaining, this trash is simply sad.
May 13, 2011
TheDudeLebowski65
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

While it's not an incredible movie or defining of the genre, this is a fun movie that never tried to be above itself. It took a pre-existing concept and went with it, I think the main reason it was slammed so hard is that it really should have been done a decade before or after. People just didn't want to see a sci-fi action movie outside of something like the Matrix, except maybe for me. I really had a lot of fun with this and I think the overall product is interesting to say the least.
May 16, 2010
ythelastman89

Super Reviewer

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

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