Squared Circle Cinema: Rollerball


Welcome back to Squared Circle Cinema, a column where I will be reviewing movies starring professional wrestlers. Choosing to subject myself to the movie Rollerball might have been the worst mistake of my life, and this isn’t hyperbole. I’ve made plenty of bad decisions for as long as I’ve been allowed to make my own decisions, such as ordering that “Heroes of Wrestling” pay-per-view, and a lot of other examples which I’ve tried to block from my memory. I also know a bad movie when I see it, as I even willingly subjected myself to Twilight once, though that movie at least had the novelty factor of trying to see what its fandom was all about. As far as I can tell, Rollerball has no redeeming qualities.

2002’s Rollerball is in a category of its own. It’s comparable to taking everything that was awful about the early part of the decade and throwing it into a blender, as Slipknot makes a cameo as themselves, songs from P.O.D. and Drowning Pool are heard throughout the movie, Pink is seen singing and dancing, and this is also when studios thought Chris Klein was a viable movie star following the American Pie films. Klein is the least interesting action movie lead I’ve seen, and his co-stars Rebecca Romijn and LL Cool J do not bring much to the table either. Shane McMahon appears once to shake hands with villainous league owner Jean Reno, while Paul Heyman plays an announcer for the Rollerball matches. The only character that was fun to watch was this lady coaching the team that Klein and LL Cool J play for, because she was like a bleach-blonde Russian version of Nurse Diesel.

The movie never does a good job at attempting to explain the sport of Rollerball either. Paul Heyman briefly runs through the rules at the start of the movie but quickly moves on because the rest is written in Russian, so I’m assuming the movie’s producers couldn’t be bothered with even giving an explanation. Goons in costumes speed around on skates while others are on motorcycles, with some of them brawling or trying to score points. Visually, it’s like roller derby performed by extras from the Mad Max film series. The actual sport seems like a hardcore version of Quidditch from the Harry Potter movies, with pyro exploding from the goal posts when points are scored. This is likely Vince Russo’s wet dream and I’d believe he had some part in this if I hadn’t already learned it was directed by the man behind Die Hard, John McTiernan. He should be ashamed of himself.

If this movie review isn’t a coherent reading experience for you, I think that best describes my personal viewing experience with Rollerball.

Rollerball Tally
Wrestler Count – 2. Paul Heyman and Shane McMahon.
Times I tried to watch this movie but fell asleep – 3
Motorcycle stunts
A chase with night-vision green-tint, complete with cartoonish “boing” sound effects
Fake Russian accents overload
Amount of times I gave a crap – 0