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Rollerball

 
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Rollerball - 1/7/2012 9:35:56 AM   
Empire Admin

 

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I agree, it's OK, but not great. - 1/7/2012 9:35:56 AM   
SebMModerns

 

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Joined: 28/6/2012
While the film has a fairly lazy and dull script, it has some pretty good action. I did not think that Johanne Sebastian Bach's Baroque Organ music really fitted that well. Still, the film was not that bad and I give it a 2.5/5.

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Rollerball (1975) - 13/8/2012 7:04:53 PM   
Phubbs


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Rollerball (1975)

In the future rollerskating is a deadly sport where anything goes, yes rollerskating. Its 2018 and the world is a corporate state, a dystopian future where everything is controlled by various global corporations. The 'Energy Corporation' based in Houston controls the Houston Rollerball team and pretty much the players of the team too.

'Jonathan E' is the greatest Rollerball champion of his time, possibly all time. The corporation love their star player but want to retire him, Rollerball was meant to quench the public's blood lust but also show the futility of individualism. 'Jonathan's' long standing career in the sport goes against this purpose and what the corporations want to see.

By today's standards this is an unoriginal type of plot but back in 75 it was quite unique. Its not an all out action packed film either, this is a slow burner with periods of game play to wet your appetite for the finale battle.

The film is of course severely dated now with all the 70's fashions, set designs, hair styles, text fonts and ideas of the future but it also looks quite slick too. The Rollerball teams do tend to look somewhat under protected for what they play and again their attire is badly dated but it does have that Orwellian big brother police state feel and taste which is the main crux.
The film does feel somewhat cold and harsh, there is no warmth anywhere, everything does look and feel bland, minimalistic and almost clinical. You do pick up on the trapped feeling that 'Jonathan' has, the emptiness of his life without his wife whom he lost to the laws of this corporate-run society. All he has is the sport and his team mates.

Its interesting to note that there is no soundtrack in this film either, unlike the abomination that was the remake. This almost adds to the bleak vision of the film, no music, very little uplifting moments, as if to enjoy yourself is frowned upon. The only score we have is Toccata and Fugue in D minor at both ends of the film. At the start it feels like impending doom whilst at the end it feels like there is no happy ending for 'John E', you are left unsure what happens after his in game actions.

So the atmosphere throughout the film is really well done without you even knowing it, a fake sterile world run by suits. This for me is probably Caan's best role, I really couldn't see anyone else as 'John E'. The films main player needed to hold the film and Caan does just that, everyone else does well but like in a real team situation Caan is the captain, the glue.

Its not a stunning film visually but less is more, a winning formula modern films fail on so many times. The game sequences aren't overly bloody and they aren't fast paced, but at the same time they aren't over the top. I admit at times you do wish it was a little more brutal and zippy but its probably more realistic I guess, sound effects help a lot. The final game is much more violent as the tension bubbles, the anti-authoritarian anti-corporation theme really kicking in as each player goes down leaving 'E' to decide his fate, it gets your adrenaline going for sure.

A film that has influenced so many genres, as anyone who remembers the classic Amiga computer game 'Speedball' will know. The brutal bloodsports concept was probably kicked off by this film and 'Deathrace 2000' both in 75. Ignore the horrendous remake which loses all concept of what this film is about, this is the true Rollerball.

A futuristic Roman gladiatorial update of sorts. A popular theme which teeters on a knife edge of truth directed at reality, how far are we from this kind of world?



< Message edited by Phubbs -- 13/8/2012 7:24:31 PM >

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