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Maybe in the 70s people thought this was violent or intense or interesting, but I was thoroughly lost. Too many subplots that aren't concluded or even followed (the wife swapping, the digitizing/privatizing of books), which could've been interesting if it was thought out at all. Why even introduce these plots when you're gonna spend half the running time on action sequences?
Hard to be objective about this one, as it's wrapped up in some nostalgic movies my father and I shared back in the day. Regardless, I still think it's an underappreciated film when placed in context of era and genre. I've watched it numerous times over the years; it doesn't demand too much from the viewer, but delivers on entertainment every time.
1975's Rollerball is a dystopian SF classic that for some reason doesn't get the same respect other 70s flicks in the genre do. Maybe it's the level of violence, but this isn't violence for violence's sake like, say, Death Race 2000's. It's gladiatorial and creates a number of visceral action set pieces that represents the corporate rat race, in a future that seems more and more probable, where corporations have replaced nations. This new (though by then old) order, based on class, is maintained by the understanding that no one person is more important than the other, and the insane sport of Rollerball - a combination of roller derby, football, hockey and motocross - is the great public example of team over individual. Until James Caan's champion (played against type, he's incredibly soft-spoken) becomes an international sensation, and suddenly the cult of personality threatens the bosses. Though it plays out in a bloody, chaotic game, this is a philosophical conflict, and though dark, it celebrates the freedom of the will
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In 4 official lists
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This movie ranks #57 in Badmovies.org Best B-Movies
This movie ranks #100 in The 100 Greatest Sci-Fi Movies
This movie ranks #216 in 500 Essential Cult Movies
This movie ranks #760 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die