The Blood of Heroes (1989)

Rating: N/A

Dir: David Peoples
Star: Rutger Hauer, Joan Chen, Delroy Lindo, Anna Katerina
a.k.a. Salute of the Jugger

[5] Most Mis-quoted Title of the Year; at various times I’ve heard Juggler, Jugular and Juggernaut and it was always ‘to’, and never ‘of’. This marks Hauer’s return to trash cinema, following his foray into real movies with the very good, but trash-free Legend of the Holy Drinker. Here, he’s back to looking cool and kicking ass, in a post-apocalyptic society which looks a bit Mad Max-ish. The Juggers are teams of warriors who travel the land taking part in The Game to win their living – this is a cross between American football and all-in wrestling, with the object being to wrest a dog’s skull from the opposition and drop it onto a stake at their end of the pitch.

There is a plot about Hauer having been thrown out of one of the cities and one of the top teams, but it’s secondary to the sequences of The Game being fought – these battles are possibly the best I’ve seen and are astonishingly well staged with relentless barrages of blows from all the competitors. Although the lack of much else and the heavy use of a gravel pit as a location are certainly deficiencies, I’ll still be heading back to see it again.