Rollerball (2002 film)

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Rollerball 2002.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John McTiernan
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based on
Music by Éric Serra
Cinematography Steve Mason
Edited by
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
(USA & Canada)
Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • February 8, 2002 (2002-02-08)
Running time
98 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $70 million[2]
Box office $25.9 million[2]

Rollerball is a 2002 remake of the 1975 science-fiction film of the same name. It stars Chris Klein, Jean Reno, LL Cool J, Rebecca Romijn, and Naveen Andrews. It was directed by John McTiernan and has a much greater focus on action, with more muted social and political overtones than the original. Unlike the previous film, it takes place in the present rather than in a future dystopian society.


In 2005, the new sport of Rollerball becomes hugely popular in Central Asia, Russia, China, Mongolia, and Turkey.

Marcus Ridley (LL Cool J) invites NHL hopeful Jonathan Cross (Chris Klein) to join him playing for the Zhambel Horsemen in Kazakhstan. The highly paid Marcus and Jonathan are teamed with low-paid locals, who are often severely injured in the game, which is an extraordinarily violent extension of roller derby involving motorcycles, a metal ball, and many trappings similar to the professional wrestling phenomenon of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).

In the beginning, Jonathan, the team's star player and the poster child of promoter Alexi Petrovich (Jean Reno), is enamored by the high-octane sport, the popularity, sports cars and with his female teammate Aurora (Rebecca Romijn). But Jonathan and Ridley eventually discover that the cynical Alexi and his opportunistic assistant, Sanjay (Naveen Andrews), have a vested interest in keeping the game as popular as possible, through planned gory "accidents" and ensuring that Jonathan and Ridley cannot quit the team and remain high-profile stars.

After an accident almost causes Aurora to be killed, Jonathan and Ridley decide that they need to flee the country to save their lives. The two are followed by Alexi and several body guards, who attack the two before they can reach the Russian border, resulting in Ridley's death.

Following the escape attempt, Alexi tries to stage a public execution of Jonathan by removing all the rules from the upcoming Rollerball match. However, Jonathan, with the help of his teammates, start a revolution, causing the fans to see the sport for what it really is, and ultimately to kill Alexi.


The film features cameo appearances by Pink, Slipknot, Carroll Shelby, Paul Heyman, and Shane McMahon.


The score was released, but the soundtrack was not.

  1. "Boom" – P.O.D.
  2. "Told You So" – Drowning Pool
  3. "Ride" – Beautiful Creatures
  4. "Millionaire" – Rappagariya
  5. "I Am Hated" – Slipknot
  6. "Body Go" – Hardknox
  7. "Feel So Numb" – Rob Zombie
  8. "Keep Away" – Godsmack
  9. "Insane in the Brain" – Sen Dog
  10. "Flashpoint" – Fear Factory
  11. "When I Come Around" – Green Day
  12. "Crawling in the Dark" – Hoobastank
  13. "Time to Play" – Pillar
  14. "Never Gonna Stop (The Red Red Kroovy)" – Rob Zombie


Following very negative test screenings, and because of the orders by MGM studio, around 30 minutes were cut out of the original rough version of the film and the entire ending was re-shot and changed. Some of the cuts were made because MGM thought that the movie was "Too Asian". Scenes of nudity and violence were also cut out of the theatrical version in order to get a PG-13 rating, but those scenes are included in the VHS/DVD releases, which are rated R. The infamous night vision sequence was actually a re-shot version of that scene. After realizing that they shot the original version of the scene to look too dark, filmmakers had to return and re-shoot the entire sequence, delaying the movie's release for six months. Due to budget issues, this scene couldn't be finished properly so it was decided to add green visual tint to make it look like it's night vision, even though it makes no sense as to why this scene would have that look. [3][4][5]


Rollerball was heavily panned by critics. Time Out's Trevor Johnson described it as "a checklist shaped by a 15-year-old mallrat: thrashing metal track, skateboards, motorbikes, cracked heads and Rebecca Romijn with her top off", and Chicago Sun-Times reviewer Roger Ebert called it "an incoherent mess, a jumble of footage in search of plot, meaning, rhythm and sense". The film's lead, Chris Klein, was also a subject of criticism and ridicule, being referred to as a bland hero.

Rotten Tomatoes ranked the film 28th in the 100 worst reviewed films of the 2000s, with a rating of 3%.

The film was a box-office flop, earning a worldwide total of $25.9 million compared to a production budget of $70 million.[2] In 2014, the Los Angeles Times listed the film as one of the most expensive box office flops of all time.[6] Romijn was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award as Worst Supporting Actress.

The creator of Rollerball, science fiction author William Harrison said: "I've never watched the 2002 incarnation of Rollerball, and have no interest in it."

In 2013, director John McTiernan was sent to federal prison for making a false statement to an FBI investigator in February 2006 about his hiring the private investigator Anthony Pellicano to illegally wiretap Charles Roven, the producer of the film, around August 2000. McTiernan (who was released in 2014) had been in a disagreement with Roven about what type of film Rollerball should be, and had hired Pellicano to investigate Roven's intentions and actions.


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