The year is 2018 and Rollerball is the sport of the masses. Its star, Johnathan E. (Caan), refuses to retire and in so doing challenges the corporations who now control the sport, and the world.
Set in a future where corporate giants rule the world, Rollerball depicts the battle of one man against the establishment. 'Rollerball' was intended to be director Norman Jewison's big anti-violence statement, although it is easy to see how cinemagoers instead took it to be a celebration of an imaginary future-sport; the rollerball scenes are simply breathtaking, while the rest sinks without trace thanks to an over-wordy plot.
James Caan lends a farm boy innocence to the role of Jonathan E, the champion of the death sport that's worshipped by the inhabitants of this sanitised world, but who is becoming too popular for the establishment's liking.
Brilliant editing and some bone-crunching sound effects put you right in amongst the bloodthirsty crowd, and while the anti-capitalist message is a little heavy-handed at times, you can't beat this for adrenaline-pumping action.
So the script's a little laboured, but for shere exuberance and adrenaline pumping you don't get better than this unless you're at a rave. And watching 'Rollerball' is much less effort.