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Rollerball is a 1975 dystopian fiction film directed by Norman Jewison from a screenplay by William Harrison, who adapted his own short story "Roller Ball Murder", which first appeared in 1973 in Esquire magazine. Although it had an American cast, a Canadian director, and was released by the American companies United Artists and Krim Studios, it was produced in Britain. In the film, the world of 2018 is a global corporate state, containing entities such as the Energy Corporation, a global energy monopoly based in Houston which deals with nominally-peer corporations controlling access to all transport, luxury, housing, communication, and food on a global basis. The film's title is the name of a violent, globally popular sport around which the events of the film take place. It is similar to Roller Derby in that two teams clad in body armor skate on roller skates (some instead ride on motorcycles) around a banked, circular track. There, however, the similarity ends.
It's hardly 1984, but Jewison's dystopia has its moments, namely when rollerball champ Jonathan E. (James Caan) is skating around the course, thrashing his opponents into ground beef. When he squares off against evil corporate honcho Bartholomew (John Houseman, unforgettably uncomfortable in 'the future'), the scenes are priceless.
While the plot has promise (what happens when a man beats a game that can't be beaten, thus proving that individualism isn't so bad after all...), it never goes far enough, relying instead on scene after scene around the roller rink. I'm already afraid of the 2001 remake of the film, which will assuredly be bloodier and less sensical. And no, that's not a good thing.