15 years ago next month, the Rollerball remake was unceremoniously dumped in theaters to universal derision. It was so bad it effectively ended the career of director John McTiernan. In the interest of covering all things Rollerball, I’m reposting the stats of the game as presented in the movie.
ROLLERBALL 2002: Description & Game Rules
Information taken from the now-defunct movie website and DVD of the 2002 remake. If they sound silly, it is because they are.
TRACK SPECIFICATIONS (OVAL TRACK):
The track is a figure eight, about 40 yards long and maybe 20 yards across. There are two raised islands in the middle of the track — called “pods” — where the two teams sit.
The surface of the track has smooth tapered curves, like those found in a skate park, and the entire track is surrounded by a vertical plexiglass wall.
There are a series of ramps on and over the track that allow skaters to enter play in dramatic fashion, or to jump to an elevated platform and tube that is directly above each team’s “pod.” Think Hamster Habitrail, and you get the idea.
On either side of the center of the track, there are two large elevated gongs that must be successfully targeted to score a point.
THE CANNON AND BALLS — SPECIFICATIONS:
From the DVD: “The Ball makes a baseball look like a wad of marshmallow fluff. Be fast or take a blast from this chrome globe as it flies from glove to glove to goal.”
Balls are fired straight down from an air gun into a tube, and have a 50/50 change of moving either clockwise or counterclockwise around the track.
It is impossible to determine exactly how many skaters and bikers should be on the track during a game, and it is never stated how many players are on a team.
However, it does appear each team fields at least 2 motorcycles and 5-7 skaters at any one time. Frequent substitutions are allowed.
HOW THE GAME IS PLAYED:
A team must capture and carry the rollerball over their pod and through the players tube (aka “the rabbit hole”), they must then make one lap around the rink to score.
If another team has fulfilled requirement 1, the opposing team may capture the ball and score without fulfilling it. Any player — biker or skater — may score.
An American announcer tries to explain the Rollerball rules: “There’s only one way to score and that’s when a player takes one of the balls and flings it at one of the iron bowls hard enough to set off the pyro. As for the rest of the rules, well, the rest of the rules are Russian and complicated…”
Several referees are seen on the track during the games, and they do appear to call penalties, but it is unclear what the infractions are. Later in the movie, when all penalties are removed to make the game more “exciting,” there is no visible difference in the way the game is played, or the way the characters behave.