Movie Review: Rollerball (2002)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the sports thriller starring Chris Klein and LL Cool J.

Synopsis: Two friends compete in an extremely dangerous but popular sport and become instant stars. However, when the league purposely starts injuring the lesser-paid athletes in an effort to boost ratings, they decide they’ve had enough and it’s time to walk away while they can. Only, they quickly learn their corrupt bosses aren’t supportive of that decision.

Who's In It?


This movie, in all honestly, wasn’t on my “to watch” list. However, I had some free time Saturday morning while my wife took my youngest daughter shoe shopping (I had to stay home with our other daughter since she wasn’t feeling well), came across this film on one of our movie channels and ended up watching it. This proved to be a poor decision.

I typically classify movies in one of four categories: “good,” “decent,” “bad” and “what the heck did I just watch?” This movie easily fell into that last category.

I think my biggest problem with this movie was the decision to set it in the near future (the movie was made in 2002 and supposedly took place in 2005). Doing this, rather than having the movie take place decades down the road (like the 1975 version did) did make the plausibility a little weak, especially when it came to the political portions of the movie. And, while the writers tried to make up for this by having the contests taking place in other countries, that just made the film a little more confusing for those of us who aren’t geography majors.

Another thing I found I wasn’t a fan of was the way this movie was very predictable. Even as I began to lose interest in the film (which, in all honesty, didn’t take that long) and wasn’t paying as close of attention to it as I probably should have been, I found it was very easy to glance up from my laptop, quickly catch up on what was happening and guess what was going to happen next. It was a very paint-by-numbers plot that made practically no effort to throw in an unexpected twist. Or, if it did, it failed miserably.

I think the most disappointing thing about this movie, however, was the actual Rollerball scenes. From the description, this is supposed to be a very difficult and violent sport. But, other than the prearranged injuries, it honestly didn’t look any more violent than your average roller derby. And, that’s despite the fact they were using motorcycles too.  Considering the rest of the movie is kind of dull, it’s very sad their sport of choice proved to be anything but memorable.

Final Opinion

As I said, this movie was not on my “to watch” list. And, after seeing it, I can honestly say I was right the first time and should not have wasted my time watching this film. If you haven’t seen it, you aren’t missing anything.

My Grade: F

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Updated: 09/21/2015, StevenHelmer
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DerdriuMarriner on 03/02/2022

StevenHelmer, Thank you for the practical information, pretty pictures and product lines.
The library system here does not have either version of Rollerball among its Blu-ray and DVD collections. Perhaps it's for the very same reasons that the 2002 remake didn't impress you.

What is your opinion of the 1975 film? Will there by any prequels, remakes or sequels?

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