Set in a futuristic world where the only sport that has survived in a wasted society is the brutal game known as jugging. Sallow, the leader of a rag-tag team, has played in the main Leagues before, but was cast out because of indiscretions with a lady. However now joined by a talented newcomer, Kidda, an ambitious young peasant girl he and his team find they have one last chance for glory
All of these films share one commonality, that being a kind of emotional center that humanizes a cast of monsters.
... View More
Bit of a forgotten Hauer cult classic this with your typical popular post apocalyptic world where only the strong survive. Haven't seen this in many many moons and it wasn't quite as cool as I remember it but still decent, the plot has now been copied over and over by many films since but as this was back in 89 it feels like its one of the first, almost.An Aussie flick so you would be right in thinking there's a touch of 'Mad Max' in there but there's also a lot of classic barbarian type stuff and strong Roman Gladiator themes too, you wonder if Scott took inspiration perhaps. 'The Game' itself is kinda odd and simply revolves around sticking a dogs skull on a stick in the opponents half, like a touchdown really, whilst you batter your opponents half to death to protect yourself and your players. Dog skulls because they eat dogs in the future, why use them for this? who knows.Of course there is more going on when you scratch the surface, literately. Deep underground (because the surface has been ravaged by war) there are affluent rich folk living in complete luxury that run a much bigger harder league of the game called 'The League'...imaginative huh. Down there the players are treated like real stars with wealth and fame but the risks are greater...well life threatening (duh!). The aim of many players is to get into this super league, of course good old Rutger has already played there and survived.When you watch the game I did kinda get the feeling in reality it wouldn't last more than 5min or less but artistic license is in heavy use of course. The actual games aren't as violent as you'd think with minor blood and not much carnage, the film is quite tame really now but back in the day it was suppose to be pretty brutal. Hauer is perfect for the role as the quiet brooding leader 'Sallow' and Delroy Lindo impresses in a surprise if slightly racially clichéd role. Overall the whole team are all pretty good in all their stereotypical post apocalyptic attire along with manly battle scars. The Aussie outback also adds to the inhospitable atmosphere and really gives this adventure a nice bleak barren feel as you would expect.Nice ending which isn't totally predictable...if you watch the uncut version, the US version was cut for some reason. Personally I prefer the film title 'Salute of the Jugger' as it offers a bit more mystery, what the hell is a jugger? dunno but it sounds kinda neat doesn't it.6/10
... View More
Blood of Heroes aka Salute to the Jugger. Why do i like it? The director did not make the mistake of jumping back and forth in giving a pseudo believable explanation why things are like they are.You just get thrown right there in the middle of a wasteland a la mad max, leaving most of it pretty ambiguous, there is a short written narration in the opening credits but it's not very insightful nor should it be. The world is shown as a giant desert, small settlements here and there and overall it gives you a glimpse on how early civilizations might formed, the people dressed in robes. Bedouins and nomads trying to survive in this pretty meager environment.It is demonstrative and beautifully portrayed, the costumes are simplistic but great in design and efficiently put on display, Especially the Jugger attires are outstanding.Well what is the premise of the movie? It is the Juggers, who travel to from each settlement to play "the game". so what is this "game"? A wild mix of gladiatorial fighting, wrestling and classical ball games. Each player comes with their own attire, self made helmets, protection gear etc. Some teams feature a common theme, such as having blue stripes on their gear, fur helmets(...weird) among other things.Sounds bizarre but it is well thought off, convincing and seems like a very interesting sport. You can pretty much guess the rules by just watching it and despite all it's brutality it really does look like fun.So the story begins like this: The main protagonist Sallow(Hauer) is the leader of a clique of Juggers that travel to different settlements to play the game in oder to get recognized by the league and enter the challenge. In order to that they must collect jugs, which are dog skulls and serve as play ball for the game. you win a game you keep the skulls as trophies. In the movie it is never explained fully how many games a Jugger team must win to get a challenge.Sallow himself has long a history and was once an acclaimed league player but because of some unfortunate events he had to leave the league which is hosted by the decadent authorities located in each of the nine kingdoms.the nine Kingdoms are Municap enclaves that are kept in underground vaults which are hundreds of stories deep embedded in the ground, the last remains of the 20 th century.As the movie depict it it is comparable to ancient Rome or Babylon, instead of beauty though, we see a lot of scrap metal and factories, remains of high technology from the better days. the people were fine garments of silk, an is explained to be some sort of safe heaven and the closest thing to a normal functioning society.The settlements on the surface in comparison are consisting of no more then mere tents and fireplaces, water is scarce etc.While Sallows team is playing in one of the towns a local young woman named Kidda(Joan Chen) is eagerly observing, tired of field work, she joins the debacle as a substitute after one of the local team members gets beaten to pulp during the game.She becomes a force to be reckoned with injuring one of of Sallows teammates severely but in the end gets dominated by Sallow himself , overwhelmed by the ability of the bunch she then tries to follow their trail and join them...This movie is great for it is simplicity, the sport is brutal and violent but on the same level interesting to observe. The characters are fun to watch since all of them carry some unique visual aspects, Delroy Lindo's character Mbulu for example has some huge bulging scars on his cheek that make him look incredibly fierce some.Each of them look so very different from their attire and look in general, great costume design and make up work.You might have recognized that the plot itself is pretty basic and down to earth. It evolves wholly around the Juggers and their strive for recognition by the league. Each of them has their own motives and agendas why to do so, or not to do so.To be frank, only Sallow and Kidda's motives are wholly explained and overshadow the other protagonists ambitions by a long shot.The acting is on point, cheesy at times but it gets the job done.Nothing fancy here and certainly not great nor bad. Some do a better job then others. I thought the young Vincent D' Onofrio was a bit over the top at times, his character was overconfident and annoying but i guess that was supposed to be. Regardless, He is a fine actor.Joan Chen was dull but certainly her display of agility and martial arts made up for it. very impressive indeed and I think and her actions spoke more then words.Delroy Lindo on the other hand took a backseat on this one and beside his awesome appearance did not get enough screen time to show his true potential as the fine actor that he really is. Disappointing in a way but I blame it on the script.In Case of Rutger Hauer, who plays the main lead, I have to say he was good but nowhere near as great as in Bladerunner. He did a good job and made the movie enjoyable.Their interesting appearances stole the show as so did the phenomenal action and the cool concept of the game. Big Kudos to the actors for pulling off a convincing portray of a sport that does not exist. It looked almost to real in many instances.If you like violent action movies and post apocalypse then do not pass on this little gem. It deserves more recognition then it currently has.
... View More
In a bleak near future society has regressed to a desolate feudal state. The lone source of hope is a brutal gladiatorial game called jugging in which rival teams beat the living tar out of each other while one person tries to put a severed dog's head on a stick. A jugging team lead by the steely and hard-nosed Sallow (a splendidly rugged performance by Rutger Hauer) are determined to participate in a big league match. Eager new addition Kidda (a fabulously feisty portrayal by Joan Chen) helps out. Writer/director David Webb Peoples expertly concocts a harsh and gritty, yet still positive and optimistic ode to the human spirit and sportsmanship which makes a profound and touching statement about man's basic need for achievement. The jugging matches are every bit raw, savage, bloody and exciting as they ought to be, with lots of heavy duty beatdowns and several truly jolting moments of nasty violence (watch out for the scene when Kidda bites a guy's ear off!). Moreover, there's a surprising sense of genuine humanity to be found amid all the unrelenting grimness and vicious carnage; the respect and loyalty the jugging players have for one another is truly moving. The uniformly fine acting by a tip-top cast rates as another substantial asset: Hauer and Chen are terrific in the leads, Max Fairchild adds real depth to his spot-on characterization of redoubtable and pitiless, yet honorable champion jugger Gonzo, plus there are praiseworthy turns by Vincent D'Onofrio as the brash, cocky Gar, Delroy Lindo as the strong, imposing Mbulu, Anna Katarina as fearsome warrior woman Big Cimber, Gandhi MacIntyre as the jolly Gandhi, Justin Manju as the proud Dogboy, and Hugh Keays-Byrne as ruthless aristocrat Lord Vile. The climactic jugging match is totally thrilling and compelling. Well worth seeing.
... View More
I'm always amazed that among the many people with whom I've discussed this movie, everyone liked it, yet the so-called "ratings" here of this film are indeed, so-so. Whose film is this? Rutger Hauer and Joan Chen are the roving "Juggers" in this post-apocalyptic Aussie "Mad Max" story, who final make the "big one." 'The story itself is one of redemption and resurrection, which with its Gothic, subterranean setting and bizarre, gladiatoresque game, attempts to capture the retrogression of a post-disaster world. The themes embraced are similar to those seen in the well-done Mad Max and its two sequels and the not-so well-done Postman and Water World. The social order has been destroyed along with the economic infrastructure and social Darwinism has become the order of the day. How this plays out is unleashed by the writer's imagination. The model for this neo-social order is what the writer imagines Rome to have been and historical facts be damned.
This is one of my favorite films because of the setting and unfolding of the story. The performances of the pre-beergut Rutger Hauer and young Joan Chen fit in well. the old Dutchman Rutger may be getting somewhat long in the tooth for this kind of role but it works here.