Most of the classic science-fiction, horror movies of the late sixties/mid-seventies were message movies: They were parables, allegorical yarns influencing us to confront the fallacies of our society.
"Silent Running", "Planet of The Apes", "Omega Man", "Soilent Green", "Night of The Living Dead", "Logan's Run"; each of these movies touched on the negative trends of contemporary society, be it racism, crass-consumerism, generational gaps, ecological suicide... In short, Man's inhumanity to Man.
The original "Rollerball" showed us the global corporate culture of the near future. It threw society's sick obsession with both sports and violence right at our faces. The bloodlust that was in the fictional future's rollerball audience was only slightly little different from the real life demands young white men were making at that time of the then emerging sport of Ice Hockey.
The age of the Nation-State was over and the multinational corporation, who was the new totalitarian aggroprop motivator, was now ascendent. We no longer had to worry about ideologues but PR men telling you what, when and where to buy. Control through the supply and demand for consumer goods and pastimes.
Humankind still had an aggression complex: a need for one man to hurt -and yes even kill!- his fellow man. How does the Multinational Global Corporations contain, yet satisfy, this bloodlust (and at the same time further stupify an already flabby, dumbed-down populace)? ROLLERBALL. All the fastpaced, adrenaline inducing, death and maiming and scarring of WAR, shrunken down and sealed up into a tiny arena, starting and ending at precise times.
Sad. Hateful. However, like all those aforementioned movies did, showing a reflection of us: Modern, secular, selfish, self-gratifying Humanity.
2002's "Rollerball" instead of updating and furthering this warning/message, is rather just another example and prop of our malaise as a immature, gratification addicted species. No true message. Just bright lights, loud noise, hitech special effects and shallowness. The writers and artists have become just as negative and selfish as the lumpen.
It is because of movies such as this that I was putoff when I heard that there was talk of making remakes of "Logan's Run" and "Omega Man". When the respective stars being considered for these intended remakes are Leonardo Di Caprio and Arnold Schwartzenneger I easily imagine Hollywood rendering these beloved classics into meaningless, mindless action/thriller schlock and junk. All shoot-em-ups, chases, and silly countdowns to explosive fireworks. Leaving no commitment or involvement from the theatre audience but laughter and cheers. No reflections. No introspections. No learning. No morality.
Hollywood, please leave the films of a better, more compassionate, more intelligent era alone. You can satisfy the mob you pander to without remakes. Thin plots, involving one-dimensional characters, speeding through long scenes of T&A, mindless violence and numbing special effects will more than satisfy your market and bring in all the revenue you lust for. Desecrating art is not necessary.