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Salute of The Jugger (The Blood of Heroes) (1989) (Blu-ray + DVD) (Region 2) (Import)
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EU import. Plays in English. Cover in foreign language.
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A Jugger is a participant in this future game which is a cross between American football and the fictious sport featured in the film rollerball. The film is set in the future, with the five combatents being all having a part to play though the focus is on Rutgers' character and the female lead played by Joan Chen ( who was the pretty chinese women in Firewalk with me ).
The combat/sport scenes are very realistic and slightly graphically violent but hey, thats what the film is about but the linking scenes inbetween the showpiece 'games' tell a story of ambition, sturbborness and also suggest a certain sadness.
Excellent film, enjoyable on many levels, highly recommended as an action film and also very meaningful.
In my personal opinion Rutger was an excellent lead ( ref, Blade Runner, The Hitcher, Flesh and Blood ) and I don't know why he hasn't been more successful. I would have thought he would have made a perfect Magneto in the X-men series.
Seriously, rent it, buy it but watch it!
Rutger Hauer is the leader of a sports team in the only game that the future world knows, called simply 'the game'. It's like a combination of rugby, roller ball and tag wrestling.
Joan Chen is a village girl whose ambition is to be a Jugger like Hauer, taking the place of the 'Quick' when Hauer's own team mate is injured.
Although Hauer's team play on the surface, the real game is played in the League, underground in the five cities. But Hauer has been exiled both from the League and from the Cities because of a misdemenour in his youth.
The powerful finale is reminiscent of the best sports movies you've ever seen — even better than Mean Machine.
This is an unusual, even unique film, which avoids almost all the cliches of science-fiction and creates its own territory. One to own and treasure.
A film of harsh violence but a film with a heart.
It is not a great film, but if you watch this without pre-conceptions and with your cynisim in check, it is an enjoyable one to watch.
I was probably one of the handfull of people who actually saw this at the cinema, and I really enjoyed it.
I can heartily recomend this film, from someone rarely satisfied.
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The 20th century has come and gone, its technology and more serene times long forgotten, and in its place is The Game…which is played with… a dog skull…!?!?!?! Did I just read that opening caption right?
Cut to a young boy running and screaming a “Juggers” version of Paul Revere’s “the redcoats are coming” and a Tomboyish Kidda (Joan Chen; Wedlock, The Last Emperor) working in a sandy crop field of this Mad Max-esque post-Apocalyptic wasteland. And in march the Juggers, a rugged group mixing the aspects of the Sand People and gladiators—and speaking of gladiators, Mbulu (Delroy Lindo; Gone in 60 Seconds, Point Break) might just have been the inspiration for Gladiator’s (2000) Juba (played by Djimon Hounsou). Not just that, but Hauer does the Maximus Gladiator pre-battle sand-hand ritual. But let’s just pause and appreciate this weirdly eclectic cast in this cult classic, Australian B-movie. [Are you pausing to reflect…?]
These Juggers are led by Sallow (Rutger Hauer; True Blood, Bleeders) and they stop at a clearing to remove some, yes, “traditionally prepared” dog skulls from a sack before facing their competition. The scar-faced Big Climber (Anna Katarina; Angels and Demons, Star Trek) and Young Gar (Vincent D’Onofrio; The Salton Sea, Daredevil) arm themselves with wicker shin guards, chain whips, flails and leathers as other scarred warriors don stylish partial face masks. We know a brutal battle this way comes.
The Game resembles a combination of rugby, la Crosse, Rollerball (1975, 2002) and American Gladiators. Trying to rush a bloody animal skull across a sandy wasteland while being lethally assaulted, this game makes no more sense to me than a barbaric Quidditch match! I found the action to be entertaining, but not even a little bit “good” technically speaking.
Writer/director David Webb Peoples (writer for Blade Runner, Ladyhawke) has certainly done better. This film basically opens with a traveling team that plays an away game, loses a player to an injury, then recruits a rookie and trains her with rushing drills. After 30 min, they’re basically on to their second away game and move on to challenge a pro team from “the League.” That’s right, this is essentially a minor league misfits sports movie.
So what makes this an awesomely bad movie? Here are a few clues:
1. I’m not really sure how to measure the success of this film. It had a budget of $10 million Australian dollars in 1988, then grossed almost $900K USD in America and under $200K AUD. Can that be right?
2. Rutger Hauer is in it—he’s made a lot of bad movies in his time.
3. Max Fairchild (Mad Max, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, The Howling III), Richard Norton (China O’Brien, Mad Max: Fury Road) and Hugh Keays-Byrne (Mad Max, Mad Max: Fury Road) make this into a Mad Max reunion.
4. They play a full contact, lethal sport with a dog skull for a ball and keep game time by counting thrown stones. There were no hourglasses in the year 2020???
5. The action really isn’t great. Perhaps up to snuff for the late 80s, but still. You spend a lot of time wondering what these Jugger positions are really meant to accomplish on the field.
The movie climaxes when Sallow’s team ventures into an underground city (like a rundown Zion) to play the super tough League team. But do they stand a chance? [Shiver] As if we all don’t already know.
It’s no Hogwart’s or Zion, but the world-building was actually pretty cool; using nuts and bolts as currency, lower castes living above land, this established sports system that’s akin to Rome’s gladiatorial arena to engage the poor and entertain the upper castes, the lawless game that has pre-set/standardized equipment that you (perhaps) make yourself, the completely unexplained dog skull... this world feels credibly lived in despite its somewhat ridiculous premise.
This movie is really only semi-bad for its time, but pretty bad when viewed today. Think Robot Jox (1989)… awesome, right? Awesome yet awful…yet not really awful…but maybe really pretty awful. LOL. Yeah, it’s like that. I enjoyed it.
I've seen some compare it to Mad Max, and that's not fair either. The premise of this movie is completely different. Sure, it is about overcoming adversity in a post-apocalyptic world, but this one focuses more on sport and the spirit required to overcome circumstances to prove yourself worthy.
This is not the first time I've watched this film. I saw it a fairly long time ago and rented it today because I remember it fondly. While the quality of the reproduction could certainly be improved, the story still holds up. Even the acting, while a bit stilted at times, is pretty good.
I understand this type of film isn't for everyone. But if you love sports and enjoy post-apocalyptic genres, you're going to like this one. To be honest, I'll probably rent it again in the future.