In a world ravished by nuclear war, the barren, sorry looking landscape of Earth has taken on that familiar look of a post-apocalyptic Mad Max. Scattered little pockets of civilisation can be found around the desolate, desert terrain. The small market-towns are called dog-towns, where desperate people scavenge and scrounge for food scraps. On the fringe, the shanty towns of rubbish and recycled waste are forged into makeshift living spaces. The food consists of what tough vegetation is hardy enough to grow and whatever meat that can be found. Rats are high on the list but you sure get more meat on the bones of a dog! Besides the dog kind of comes in handy for past-time entertainment!
What better way to keep yourself entertained in a post-apocalyptic world than a totally unnecessary brutal sport called The Game. You can probably tell from the title The Blood Of Heroes that this sport doesn’t use Marquess of Queensberry Rules! Besides, you know it’s not an everyday game when the ball or trophy is in fact a dog skull!
Tagline – When juggers play there is only one way to live – THE HARD WAY!
With nomadic gangs of players called Juggers roving around the small rundown towns challenging the local teams to matches. For the winner has a chance to gain old coins or trinkets. To either barter for food, rest and if they want, the chance to save up those riches and use as a wager to battle the elite leagues. You think the unregulated teams are brutal, there’s an even more savage time for the players ahead.
Each team consists of 5 players, all with a distinct role. Sallow (Rutger Hauer), the experienced leader with a past, holds fort in the middle ground. Big Climber (Anna Katarina) and Mbulu (Delroy Lindo) batter down opponents with weighted clubs whilst Young Gar (Vincent D’Onofrio) swings a massive metal chain around his head ready to unleash fury on any foe stupid enough to get in his way. These four all have one purpose, to protect their runner. A small wiry, fast on their feet runner. This duty goes to Kidda (Joan Chen). She’s new to the game, determined and fiercely ambitious. It’s Kidda’s job to skewer the dog skull on the steak to achieve victory.
Covered in protective handmade armoury covering past scars, battered and bruised limbs and broken bones. This is a game where the only concern for losing an ear, breaking a leg or bursting an eyeball is, can you still fight on!
Sallow – “Two Juggers can’t fuck after the game. It doesn’t work. Unless you like to rub wounds against wounds.”
The league is barbaric, run like gladiatorial combat games of ancient Rome. Held in a deeply underground city filled with desperate poor people living on top of each other. But governed by the rich privileged elite who relish the chance to watch these Juggers beat seven bails of shit out of each other. Owning teams with prestige is their pleasure.
Can this ragtag bag of poor, beaten and broken sportsmen keep their fighting spirit alive and manage to show the elite their worth? Or will they be beaten senseless and stomped into the arid dusty land. Will we find out Sallow’s past? and can their manager, tactician and wardrobe carrying 6th teammate Gandhi (Gandhi MacIntyre) help steer the motley crew to some kind of victory?
- The Blood of Heroes (1989) is it’s original American release name. When released in 1990 to the rest of the world it became The Salute To The Jugger. The Jugger version has slightly longer end.
- This movie is directed and written by David Webb Peoples who has a talent for creating science fiction screenplays. Two of which are real big bonafide sci-fi classics at that! Blade Runner and Twelve Monkeys. He also wrote the Clint Eastwood’s western Unforgiven. Keep your eyes peeled this month as I will be featuring another David Webb Peoples film in my sci-fi month special.
- Joan Chen is best known to me as Jocelyn Packard in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. She was also in the epic 1987 movie The Last Emperor, not sure how she ended up following that role with The Blood Of Heroes. She did star alongside Rutger Hauer again a few years later in the 1991 sci-fi thriller Wedlock. I do fancy watching that again soon.
- I stupidly didn’t recognise Young Gar was in fact Vincent D’Onofrio aka Daredevil’s nemesis Kingpin right till the end credits rolled!
- I just found out Delroy Lindo is in fact British and born in London. Well after all these years, I never knew. Apparently a big Arsenal football supporter.
- The barbaric costume designs are inventive, as is the underground city with its ridiculously dangerous but practical, I guess, living space. You certainly wouldn’t want to be drunk, two heavy or be susceptible to sleepwalking!
I’d seen lots of Rutger Hauer films throughout the 80’s but this little gem had past me by. It might look all unashamedly macho, brutal and savage, yeah it is a bit but it does have a heart and there’s some nice touches of camaraderie and friendship. It’s worth checking out if you’re ticking 80’s films off your list. Rutger is always value for money and suits the mysterious avenger with a past character down to a tee. Not to dismiss all those crazy villains too. Might have to do a Rutger marathon soon. Certainly a helluva lot of action time to be had.
Do you have a Rutger Hauer favourite other than Blade Runner?
Thanks for popping on by for my Science Fiction month. Have a look to tomorrow to see which direction I’ll be going in. Have fun with movies…. Mikey Wolf