Behind the vision of a future society, where the corporate world state controls the bloodlust of the populace through lethal games of rollerball, lies the familiar theme of individual struggle: Caan's champ takes on the grey eminence who wants to force his retirement. The script grapples with notions of freedom and privilege, but finally remains too oblique to throw much light either on our own society or on our possible future. Occasionally, though, insight triumphs, and Caan's struggle towards articulation remains one of the film's strong points. Otherwise, its main interest lies in the tensions generated by the gap between the script's intellectual aspirations and the gut reaction appeal of the games, which are highly physical and brutal. Hence, a group of drunken revellers deliberately and callously burning down some old fir trees makes more impression than all the destruction of human meat in the games. Ultimately, Rollerball gets by on its sheer monolithic quality - an abundance of quantity. Despite indifferent direction and dire humour, it is well mounted and photographed.
Cast and crew