"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 and Food on a global basis.
The film's title is the name of a violent, internationally 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 around a banked, circular track. There, however, the similarity ends. The object of the game is to score points by the offensive team (the team in possession of the ball) throwing a softball-sized steel ball into the goal, which is a cone-shaped area inset into the wall of the arena. The team without possession of the ball is defensive and acts to prevent scoring. It is a full-contact sport in which players have considerable leeway to attack opposing players in order to take or maintain possession of the ball and to score points; in fact, in this overpopulated future, the object of the game in the original short story is to kill off the players. In addition, each team has three players who ride motorcycles to which teammates can latch on and be towed. The player in possession of the ball must hold it in plain view at all times.
Rollerball teams, named after the cities in which they are based, are owned by the various global corporations. Energy Corporation sponsors the Houston team. The game is a substitute for all current team sports and for war. While its ostensible purpose is entertainment, Mr. Bartholomew describes it as a sport designed to show the futility of individual effort."Rollerball was re-made in 2001 and directed by John McTiernan and has a much greater concentration on action and more muted social and political overtones. Unlike the first film, it takes place in the present rather than a seemingly dystopian future.
The film sees World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) personality Paul Heyman starring as an announcer while Shane McMahon, son of WWE owner Vince McMahon, can be seen in one scene. Popular singer P!nk can be seen throughout the film on large video screens, as a singer playbacking to several songs. There is also a concert scene in which the Metal band Slipknot plays the song "I Am Hated" from their album Iowa.
Upon its release, the film met with harsh critical disdain and poor box-office returns. As a guest on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, LL Cool J admitted that the film "sucked,"