In a future where most of mankind and technology is wiped out, six people travel from place to place playing a brutal form of football with a dog skull. They hope one day to play in the league in a city.
A post-apocalyptic world provides the backdrop for a brutal, futuristic game resembling football. Rutger Hauer plays a disgraced former star leading a ragtag group of "Juggers" to one of the remaining Nine Cities for glory and redemption.
A group of Germans adapted Jugger as a sport in 1993. Ever since then, Jugger is getting more popular and is played on a regular basis in over twenty countries. See more »
In the opening credits, the last name of actor Hugh Keays-Byrne, who plays the part of Lord Vile, is misspelled as 'Bryne.' See more »
[Sees Dog Boy limping]
How's your leg? That hurt?
I'm gonna rip your tits off, bitch!
I'm gonna hurt your leg. I'm gonna break your leg!
See more »
Pre-title card: "People no longer remembered the Golden Age of the 20th Century. They didn't remember the miraculous technology or the cruel wars that followed. They didn't remember when juggers first played The Game or how it came to be played with a dog skull..." See more »
The US version stops a little short and omits the "real" not quite so positive ending found in the European/Asian/Australian version. See more »
I recently rewatched this movie for the first time in ages, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it held up remarkably well to my older eyes. So many gritty post-apocalyptic hero type flicks that I liked when I was younger turn out upon a more sober "adult" viewing to be amateurish and juvenile. But this movie has real depth, and drew me back in from the opening scene. It fully deserves any cult status it may have achieved, and I went ahead and ordered the DVD (which is finally out) for my collection.
The film is set against the backdrop of a fully realized post-apocalyptic society that actually makes sense (and the "game" the movie is built around is well conceived and executed too). Unlike in many futuristic movies, there is no need for grand exposition explaining why everybody in the film is acting so bizarrely -- in this movie, you understand the people, their desperation, and the certain grim courage of those who dare to dream of more. The movie also has the courage to take itself seriously, while still retaining a light enough touch to throw in spots of humor throughout.
The cast here is several cuts above normal for this sort of thing, with a number of recognizable faces (Chen, D'Onofrio, Hauer, Lindo) making believable and sympathetic characters out of what easily could have been cartoonish cutouts in a lesser film. Chen and Hauer play the two main characters. For Chen, I think it can be argued this is her finest performance, deftly combining vulnerability with courage, innocence with savagery. And for Hauer, an actor who has in more recent times has become a parody of himself, I think this may have represented his last truly effective performance. The stories of these two characters are not stories of grandiose save-the-world heroes, but more down to Earth stories of courage, redemption, and most importantly hope in a world with little of it. The characters aren't pure, they're not pompous, they're just normal people trying to make the best of a tough life. And I think that makes rooting for them all the easier. Its not so important they win -- its important that the find the strength to strive rather than give up. Simple tenacity and the courage to never give up is far more inspiring than the vast majority of the superheroes in the modern comic book adaptation fad. It really is remarkable to find such deft handling of themes like these in an offbeat movie from a genre filled with Grade B quickies.
P.S. I have never seen the longer version, and actually don't really have an interest to. The shorter "Blood of Heroes" is appealing precisely because it manages to scrounge out hope and weary courage from the grim backdrop in a believable fashion.
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