Rollerball Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
ROLLERBALL IS EURASIA’S ANSWER to North America’s WWF wrestling. Outlandish costumes and fabricated player bios bolster the rise of the dangerous new sport that is seeking sponsors. Set in the year 2005, it’s fast paced action with bone-jarring hits and breath-stealing body slams between co-ed teams of Rollerballers and motorcyclists played in a confined arena. For Jonathan Cross (Chris Klein), a hot shot kid from San Francisco who’s going nowhere, it’s a fast avenue to instant fame, big money, and expensive cars.
Skating alongside his teammates, Marcus Ridley (LL Cool J) and Aurora (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos), Cross spends his time entertaining the crowds and consuming the excesses of the high life until the team’s owner realizes a little “blood on the track” will up his gambling profits and television ratings. Willing to risk his game pawns, the power-hungry Petrovich (Jean Reno) orchestrates increasingly violent ventures without forewarning the players. Suddenly, the venue becomes a fight to stay alive in a rink that is rigged for “accidents” and devoid of limits.
Families may find the abusive hitting, rough action and jolting collisions pushing their boundaries on need-to-see brutality. Outside of the competition, there are multiple shootings, a kidnapping/murder, and corrupt coercions by former KGB agents. But violence is not the only area in this film that strains at a PG-13 rating. Moderate profanities are peppered throughout the film along with an extreme sexual expletive, hand gestures, and crude terms for sexual relations. Carefully shot nudity in the locker room and within a physical relationship also crowds the margins of acceptable content.
Equally disturbing are the shady and manipulative methods Petrovich uses with businessmen, politicians and religious leaders to gain their support. Meanwhile he preys on the earnings of the impoverished coal miners in his town and threatens the lives of his players.
In a press release, Actor Jean Reno calls the film a “denunciation of violence in sports” that ultimately condemns excessive aggression in all modern games. But as the final match degenerates into a gory gladiatorial battle, viewers may feel Rollerball is more an exploitation of violence than condemnation.Running time: 98 minutes. Theatrical release February 7, 2002. Updated July 17, 2017
Rating & Content Info
Why is Rollerball rated PG-13? Rollerball is rated PG-13 by the MPAA
Brutal and vicious violence is the mainstay in this film about an extreme sport corrupted by a power-hungry owner who jeopardizes the lives of his players for more gambling profits and higher TV ratings.
Characters participate in extreme sports including road luge, rollerball, and off-road motorcycling which results in some property damage and injury. Characters involved in rough-and-tumble sports action that includes punching, hitting with objects and pushing. Bodies fly through the air and man is kicked in the face. Motorcyclist drives over character. Several characters are hit in face or body with heavy steel ball, injured man is heard screaming. Blood is shown on injured characters throughout film. Man steals from and hits vendor. Man and his family are threatened. Guns are used in several shooting incidents. Man is kidnapped and brutally murdered (not shown). Cars and other property are blown up during riot. Characters are attacked in home. Characters rig several accidents designed to kill or maim players. Characters are chased while trying to escape; several characters are killed or injured. Character is pushed and stepped on. Riot breaks out in arena. Characters shot at close range.
Sexual Content: D+
Man makes comment about woman’s body part. Scantily clad women are shown in nightclub setting, at the arena, and in owner’s lounge. Film includes back, side and shadowed female nudity as well as upper body male nudity. Man exposes himself to woman (no nudity shown). Couple engages in rough sexual relationship with some skin revealed. Character makes crude sexual comment. Mural on wall depicts naked women. Woman makes sexual comment to man.
Includes at least one extreme sexual expletive, two extreme sexual hand gestures, two crude terms for sexual relations, 30 moderate and 20 mild profanities and 14 terms of Deity used as expletives.
Alcohol / Drug Use: D
Characters often drink and smoke in bars and nightclubs. Character is depicted as being on drugs: reference made to PCP. Character appears to roll a smoke. Several alcohol and drug-related comments are made. Characters drink in locker room and at the arena.
Player wears helmet without strap fastened. Characters race on streets. False biographies are written about players. Character preys on the impoverished townspeople. Sport gambling is depicted. It is compulsory for players have numbers tattooed on their faces.
Page last updated July 17, 2017
Rollerball Parents' Guide
Although the local coalminers are barely scraping by, they continue to bet on the rollerball games. Referred to as the Atlantic City syndrome, this habit hurts the already impoverished community. Why do you think people continue to gamble even when they have meager incomes?
One characters says, “If they’ll buy it, I’ll sell it.” What extremes do you think people will go to in order to make a dollar? What was Petrovich willing to risk to make more money?
A lot of attention goes into how Jonathan holds a bottle he is drinking from. Why are advertisers so concerned about these little details? How important is product sponsorship in the success of sports? Can you think of any examples of this kind of marketing in your favorite sport? What do you think would happen if companies pulled their advertising from sporting events?
The most recent home video release of Rollerball movie is June 17, 2002. Here are some details…
Related home video titles:
Some of the characters in this film see sports as their best career plan. The documentary Hoop Dreams follows the lives of some basketball players with similar aspirations.
Hunt for Red October is another action/adventure film directed by John McTiernan (with a similar Russian theme) while Lara Croft: Tomb Raider offers high-energy heroism. Both films also present content concerns so check our reviews before showing them to your family.