The Salute of the Jugger (The Blood of Heroes) (Force) (1988)

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Released 16-Aug-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Post Apocalyptic Production Notes
Biographies-Cast & Crew-The three main cast and the writer/director only
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1988
Running Time 87:09 (Case: 90)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David Peoples
Studio
Distributor

Beyond Home Entertainment
Starring Rutger Hauer
Joan Chen
Vincent D'Onofrio
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $32.95 Music Todd Boekelheide


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Pan & Scan Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, The credits start to roll over the final scene.

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Plot Synopsis

    Occasionally you come across a little-known or forgotten movie in which a number of well-known (or at least noteworthy) names can be found. The Salute of the Jugger is such a movie. It stars Rutger Hauer and Joan Chen, whose careers have both nose-dived of late - Hauer's especially. Also appearing here is Vincent D'Onofrio (credited as Vincent Phillip D'Onofrio) whilst the man that most Australians know as Beau from the Beaurepaires ads (Max Fairchild) even makes an appearance. Unfortunately, he got to keep his Australian accent, so every time he opened his mouth I expected him to try and sell me tyres. The movie's writer/director, David Webb Peoples, is better known just as a writer and is responsible for movies such as Blade Runner and 12 Monkeys, while producer Charles Roven has gone on to produce well-known films such as the aforementioned 12 Monkeys, and Three Kings. Director of Photography, Australian David Eggby, filled the same role for Mad Max, and has since worked on a wide range of films, including Dragonheart and Blue Streak, as well as the latest Coober Pedy filmed sci-fi movie, Pitch Black.

    The story of The Salute of the Jugger is set in a post-apocalyptic future where most technology has been lost. A violent game has grown popular, a game that basically involves beating your opponents to a pulp whilst trying to stick a dog's skull on a spike at the end of the field, and not get pulped yourself. This game is played in teams of five, and the players in these teams are known as "Juggers". These teams travel from town to town taking on other teams and getting paid by the people of the towns for it. The movie follows the fortunes of one particular band of juggers. The leader of the band, Sallow (Rutger Hauer), was in his youth one of the best of the Juggers - playing for "The League" - but was thrown out for dallying with a lord's wife (ahh...what love). His desire to return to The League is sparked by a new member of his team, Kidda (Joan Chen), who wants the team to become known as the best there is - and the only way to do that is to join "The League".

    While there certainly are no award-winning performances here, the action sequences are good and the costumes nicely done to convey a decent feel of a society in decline. The sets, especially the larger ones later in the movie have that whole "we had $20 and a week to make them" feel, but still fit the piece rather well. Overall, The Salute of the Jugger is a good way to spend an evening without having to think too much.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This transfer is of a generally good quality, although there is one particularly ugly instance of picture break-up late in the movie.

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33 (not 16x9 enhanced), this is a pan-and-scan transfer. Presumably the desert sequences would have been far more impressive in the film's original aspect ratio.

    The sharpness of this transfer is good without being remarkable, displaying a decent amount of clarity that still could have been considerably better. There is a little in the way of low-level noise, but only if you look very hard. Shadow detail is also in the good-but-not-great category, although the level present works very well in the underground city scenes, providing a nicely dank and dark look.

    In the desert scenes, colour is a little washed out, although this is really to be expected given the brightness of the surrounds. When the action is underground, the colours are still mostly shades of brown and grey, but the highlights on the gowns of the nobles and the uniforms of the League players stand out well.

    Apart from one major problem, there are no MPEG artefacts. At 48:49, there is severe image break up and pixelization affecting several frames. This is extremely noticeable, but fortunately occurs in a location that is not too much of a problem to the flow of the film. This fault has been confirmed on more than one copy of this DVD, so it appears to be a pressing fault.

    There is no aliasing in this transfer at all, even during a close-up of a cello, most likely due to the lower sharpness level. Film artefacts are present throughout the film, although given that they are predominantly black they are less noticeable once the action heads underground. The artefacts are never distracting and the constant brightness of the desert scenes probably highlights them to a greater extent than normal.

    There are no subtitles present on this disc, and it is a single-sided, single-layer disc, which means no layer change, and no getting out of your chair.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The soundtrack presented here is of good quality and works well to immerse you in the movie.

    This disc contains only one soundtrack, being an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack that is surround encoded, and has the surround flag set. It is encoded at the high (for a two channel soundtrack) bitrate of 224 Kb/s.

    Dialogue is easy to understand at all times, being very clear.

    Audio sync is for the most part good, but slips out occasionally, most likely caused by the need to loop dialogue due to high background noise. An example is a scene on a beach at 39:00 where the wave sounds were obviously too loud for the live dialogue to be used, and the looped dialogue obviously doesn't match the lip movements.

    The score is provided by Todd Boekelheide and is an interesting choice of non-traditional instruments and percussive sounds. The score suits the post-apocalyptic setting well, giving a hint of familiarity but at the same time something very different. It is used primarily during action sequences and supports them well.

    Surround channel use could have been better for ambient sound, and goes virtually silent during the quieter moments above ground. Once the action moves underground however, the surrounds get more use for the noises of a large city. Surround use is most aggressive during action sequences where the sounds of fighting are reasonably well spread out through the soundfield. The nett end result, however, is a rather frontal soundfield, although there is good variation across it.

    The subwoofer got little use, barely adding any effect at all.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The only "extra" present on this disc is a production notes section.

Menu

    The menu is a static affair with no audio. The options are easy to see, and are just as easy to navigate.

Production Notes & Cast/Crew Biographies

    These production notes are relatively interesting and contain quite a large amount of information about the gestation of the film. The comments made by the director about working in Australia are enough to make you want to wave a boxing kangaroo. The cast and crew biography section is interesting in that Rutger Hauer's biography describes his last ten years of work as "largely derivative". The text is easy to read and navigation through the notes is intuitive.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     This title is not available outside of Australia at this point, which I find a little surprising given the names that could be played upon by a keen marketer (e.g. "From the writer of Bladerunner and Twelve Monkeys comes...").

Summary

    Salute of the Jugger is an enjoyable film that is presented on a good but unremarkable DVD.

    The video quality is good but not great, and the transfer is chopped to 1.33:1.

    The audio is slightly better than the video, but it could have been better.

    The extras are almost non-existent, barely deserving the description of extra.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Monday, July 23, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayRCA 80cm. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersAll matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)

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Comments (Add)
Major Cuts - Woolfe
Definitely cut - wburgess
New DVD release - Ceeden
New DVD is Uncut - Derek.