The Blood of Heroes

Year: 1990

Director: David Peoples

Starring: Rutger Hauer, Joan Chen, Vincent Phillip D'Onofrio, Anna Katarina, Delroy Lindo

Screenwriter: David Peoples

90 minutes; Color

This is yet another post-apocalypse sf movie without any special effects, but with plenty of plot licks borrowed from A Boy and His Dog (1975), the Mad Max series, and the run of pictures - Rollerball (1975), Death Race 2000 (1975), The Running Man (1987) - about how popular gladiatorial sports will be in the 21st century. In an Australian desert littered with tribal communities and rusting scrap metal, a roving team of battered juggers - the term is never really explained - challenges a succession of local boys to take part in "The Game", which is a combination of rugby, basketball, gratuitous violence, s-m gear and dog-skull tossing. Veteran Hauer, who was once a big star jugger in a fascist underground city, is egged on by newcomer Chen to go back to the big leagues and challenge the grudge-holding bad guys to a new match.

Unfocused and trite, this film manages to be dull even in the action scenes, because jugging is even more boring than most real-life sports and fails to serve any particular credible function in the banal and familiar future society that the film creates. Rollerball, Death Race 2000 and The Running Man - none of which qualify as masterpieces - all spent some time on the reasons why people would be interested in playing or watching their invented gladiatorial sports, but The Blood of Heroes just needs an excuse for fights. The characters are thin - so much so that the rubber scars everyone wears are constantly threatening to peel off - the ending at once predictable and pointless, the horrors have no resonance, and first-time director Peoples (screenwriter of The Day After Trinity [1980], Blade Runner [1982], Leviathan [1989]) manages to turn out a movie with no sense of humor whatsoever, much less any sf imagination or muscle-flexing excitement.

The Overlook Film Encyclopedia - Science Fiction

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