Salute of the Jugger (1989)

salut01Country: United States / Australia
Starring: Rutger Hauer, Joan Chen, Vincent D’Onfrio, Delroy Lindo, Anna Katerina, Gandhi MacIntyre, Justin Monjo, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Max Fairchild
Screenplay: David Webb Peoples
Director: David Webb Peoples
Cinematography: David Eggby
Music: Todd Boekelheide
Producers: Brian Rosen, Charles Roven
Alternate Title: Blood of Heroes

If you’re around the same age as me, you’d have a soft spot for the films of Dutch actor Rutger Hauer. Granted, over his long career he has only made a handful of films that are very good — Blade Runner and The Hitcher remain cult classics in their own right. I have always had a strange affinity for Flesh + Blood, Paul Verhoeven’s soft-porn barbarian movie from Europe. However it’s not Hauer who draws me to the film. It was the pairing of Australian actors Jack Thompson and Tom Burlinson, in a film was set six hundred years before Australia was settled, that brings a smile to my face.

When Salute of the Jugger was being made I read and interview in the local press with Hauer, where he said that he didn’t have a home. He was a nomad and moved from one film upon completion to the next. He would set up a temporary base in whatever city his work would take him to. Then again, suggesting that he was a nomad, on the set of a film in which he plays a nomad, may have been just a timely bit of copy or a soundbite for the media. This may (or may not) explain some of the poor film and career choices he has made. Maybe if he had a home, he could take time off and sit back and ‘carefully’ read the scripts that were coming his way, and decide if these were really the roles for him. I say this as a film fan looking in from the outside at his body of work. In reality, Hauer maybe has one of the great ‘free’ lifestyles. He is doing something that he loves, and he gets to travel all over the world with no excess baggage to tie him down. The more I think about it, the more I envy the man.

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But back to his films. So, yeah he made a lot of crap, and maybe this is because he leaps from one project to the next. Even Hauer’s trash films generally have a bent – usually futuristic/always violent — that makes them worth at least one viewing. But Salute of the Jugger is different in that it was planned well in advance. The film had an incredibly long gestation period. The script written by David Webb Peoples was completed in 1977. In 1982, when Peoples was working on Blade Runner, he showed the script to Hauer who expressed interest in the project.

Other film commitments kept Peoples and Hauer apart for many years and after a few false starts, and the usual Hollywood wheeling and dealing, the film was given the green light. Peoples, making his directorial debut, was at the helm of the project. As the film had quite a modest budget, and because American dessert locations have been used so extensively – particularly in westerns – it was decided to make the film in another country. A country that had cheap labour, and had an environment that wasn’t as familiar to cinema goers. The two countries considered were Mexico and Australia. With Peoples making his directorial debut, wiser heads suggested that it may be important that Peoples spoke the same language as the technicians on the set, so the film ended up being made in Australia — with exteriors filmed in Cooper Pedy in outback South Australia, and at a quarry near Sydney.

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The film is set in the post apocalyptic future, and the world is split into two distinct groups — the rich and the poor. The rich live deep underground in dank, dark cities – of which only nine remain. These cities seem like images from a Hieronomous Bosch painting — snapshots of a dirty dystopian hell – are in fact luxurious compared to the run down, starving dog towns on the surface of the planet. This is where the poor people live. The one thing that unites the rich and the poor is a game — it doesn’t have a name – and it is played by warriors called Juggers.

As the film begins, a troupe of Juggers, headed by Sallow (Rutger Hauer) march into a dog town looking for a game. A young boy runs through the huts announcing their arrival. The locals are willing to oblige. On the outskirts of town, working in a field is a young girl named Kidda (Joan Chen). She has dreams of playing in the ‘League’, which is sort of like an A-grade, or First Division for Jugger players. Only the very best of the best make it to the ‘League’. Kidda wants to ditch her work and participate in the game, much to the chagrin of her parents.

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Once the terms are set, the game begins. The game is quite simple — much like soccer or basketball, there is a rectangular playing field. And each team has to defend a spike at each end of the field. There is no ball in this game. Instead they use a dog’s head — and the object of the game, is to get the dog’s head and run down to your spike and impale the head on it. The first team to do this wins. If only it were that simple, eh? It’s not. Each team has five players. First there is the ‘Kwik’, who as the name suggests is the speedy one who carries the dog’s head. To protect the Kwik there is a player who spins a chain net over his head like a helicopter blade. And then there are three blockers. The blockers are armed with large double ended sticks, with which they inflict as much pain and damage on the opposition players as possible. As you can imagine, it’s quite a brutal game.

The game begins without Kidda, and in the opening play, Sallow’s ‘Kwik’, named Dog Boy, has his leg sliced open by a chain wielded by the opposition. For a ‘Kwik’, a damaged leg is like a guitarist with snapped strings – pretty useless -but he is a fighter and is willing to continue. Meanwhile, Sallow beats seven shades of shit out of one of the opposition players as recompense. After the interval (the game is played in three sections), Kidda, who has run off from her work in the field, joins her home team, replacing the man the Sallow smacked up. Her effect on the game is immediate. She is fast, and quickly does some more work (damage) to Dog Boy’s leg. She is looking pretty good, and it is possible that the home team may even win. That is until she runs into a swinging chain wielded by Young Gar (Vincent D’Onofrio). Face bloodied and lacerated, she stands dazed in the centre of the playing field until Sallow puts her down for good.

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Then it is a cake walk for Sallow’s team. Dog Boy, who can’t walk, picks up the dog’s skull and drags himself to the spike, to score and win the game. Jugger, despite being a brutal and barbaric game, is played in a sportsman like manner. After the contest, despite however much pain and damge an opponent may have inflicted, each man salutes their opposite, acknowledging their gladiatorial spirit. Being a nomadic Jugger is only good if the team win — that is, if you enjoy being clobbered regularly in sport. To the victor go the spoils – primarily food and companionship for the night. Thankfully for Sallow and his team, they won, so their evening is a boozy shag-fest.

Despite the beating that Kidda has taken, she is still determined to become a Jugger and do battle in the ‘League’. With Dog Boy injured, she sees it as an opportunity to ingratiate herself with Sallow. On the next morning, as the Juggers leave town, heading out into the wasteland towards the next dog tow, she follows behind. When Dog Boy’s leg gets so bad, that he cannot stand, she joins the team. In time, as Kidda’s skill improve, Sallow’s team becomes more and more successful — to the point where they are almost at the standard of joining — or at least being noticed by the League. The thing is, that Sallow once played in the League, but was kicked out after an indiscretion with a woman of ruling class. He is persona non grata in Red City, and furthermore is not the type of character that the League would give a second chance to. However, Kidda and Young Gar, whose skills have also improved exponentially, are keen to attract the attention of the League and eventually they convince Sallow and the rest of the team to head back to Red City and give it one final shot.

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Over the ensuing years many, many stories have appeared about longer versions of the film, and missing sequences, and to that end, with possible the exception of Billy Wilder’s The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, and Lang’s Metropolis, Jugger has become a modern posterboy for back room butchery (Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit, but we Jugger fans have a powerful lobby group). It has been described as the opposite of a Roger Corman picture, wherein Corman pictures attempted to stretch their tiny budgets, putting their best on the screen, Jugger instead removed all signs of budget and production design and left in the dregs of the shoot. As I wasn’t on set, I can not say how much of this is true. There has been talk of large amounts of footage taken — with spectacular sets — in the Red City, and also subplots about a religious cult that appear to control the ruling class in the city. Looking at the finished film, it seems that there may be some truths in that. Hugh Keays-Byrne’s role seems incredibly truncated. Keays-Byrne plays one of the big-knobs in Red City. He’d be known to international audiences as the Toecutter in the original Mad Max. As it stands now, his role is little more than a cameo, almost a faceless enemy.

But having said that, if this footage exists, if included, it may have been to the detriment of the film. After all, Salute of the Jugger is an action film. Long stretches of exposition, and subplots about religion could only slow the film down. I think, if they exist, they could make great ‘special features’ on a DVD — I for one, would be curious to see them — but I don’t believe a reconstructed Jugger is required. Whatever the original vision may have been, good or bad, I guess it is lost to the sands of time now, and even if some of the footage survived, it is hard to imagine it being reinstated in a cohesive format. I’ll just add here, that the version I have reviewed here is actually a cut version — a few minutes have been lopped from the end — but that is not what I am talking about above. I mean quite substantial sequences in the Red City, and even other characters who have been completely removed from the final cut.

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I realise that Salute of the Jugger as released, is a very flawed film. It lacks plot and characterisation. Even as a post-apocalyptic tale of society reverting back to a primitive state it fails miserably. But as a sports film where the underdog takes on a vastly superior opponent and against all odds and achieves the impossible, Jugger pushes all the right buttons and succeeds admirably. The end game is as thrilling to watch as it would be devastating to participate in. Over the years there have been plenty of sports films – most of them are crap (boxing comes off the best with at least the original Rocky and Raging Bull credited against the sport). But I think Salute of the Jugger is one of the great sporting films — okay the ‘game’ wasn’t a real game (one invented for the film), but this film overcomes that hurdle, and not only teaches us the rules, but also taps in to latent sporting emotions hidden within. For me, this film conjures up memories (or the emotion I felt) when I watched the 4th cricket test between Australia and England, played in Melbourne during the 1982-83 season. No doubt, you’re reaction to the film will be completely different based on your life (and possibly sporting) experiences.

You may have noticed in the paragraph above, I said that ‘Jugger’ wasn’t a real game. Well it wasn’t when the film was made. It is now, however the rules have been modified, and it is not quite as brutal as the game depicted on the screen – it is more like ‘Touch Jugger’. The new modified game, it has been suggested, first appeared in Germany, which has an active Jugger league. The game is also has taken off in other countries such as the USA and Australia — the Melbourne team being formed in 2006. The fact that teams have formed around the world to play Jugger, is a strong testament to the sporting, emotional content in the film.

After all these years, I still consider myself a Rutger Hauer fan. Most films he makes these days are direct to DVD efforts. He seems to mix this with some supporting roles in bigger films (like Batman Begins). But regardless, I know I can go into a video/DVD library and pick up virtually any Hauer movie and still be entertained. The film may be utter shit, but I know that in there somewhere, there was some spark that drew Hauer to the project. And that spark, if I can find it, makes the viewing worth while.

Salute of the Jugger (1989)

The Osterman Weekend (1983)

Country: United States
Director: Sam Peckinpah
Starring: Rutger Hauer, John Hurt, Craig T. Nelson, Dennis Hopper, Chris Sarandon, Meg Foster, Helen Shaver, Cassie Yates, Jan Triska, Burt Lancaster
Music: Lalo Schifrin
Based on the novel by Robert Ludlum

Although directed by the legendary Sam Peckinpah and based on the best selling novel by Robert Ludlum, The Osterman Weekend is a huge disappointment.

With security cameras everywhere, voyeurism is one of the main themes of the movie. Maybe Peckinpah in his prime could have made a valid point about privacy and security issues. But in this case, the voyeurism is used for cheap titillation. It seems that whenever the pace of the movie slows down, the female characters disrobe. In fact the female leads spend most of their screen time in various states of undress.

At the end of the movie, John Tanner (Rutger Hauer), during a broadcast of his TV program, makes a speech urging viewers at home to turn off their television sets. At the same time, with the subtlety of a wrecking ball, Peckinpah tries to convince us that we the viewers (be it cinema or at home) had the same opportunity to ‘turn off’ or ‘walk out’ during the previous ninety minutes. Instead we chose to watch the show. We wallowed in the violence and leered at the sex.

Maybe Peckinpah’s right. But if you paid good money to see the film in the cinema or hired a copy from a video library, you’d want to get your money’s worth. Perhaps Tanner’s speech should have been printed on the movie poster and on the video/DVD packaging, so we could decide to ‘turn off’ before we had spent good money.

For the opening scenes the image is pixelated and grainy, like it would appear if you were watching closed circuit television. The image is Lawrence Fassett (John Hurt) having sex with his wife. Once Fassett is spent, he leaves the room to have a shower. While he’s out of the room, two KGB agents enter the bedroom. One stops Fassett’s wife from screaming, while the other produces a hypodermic needle and inserts it up her nose – I guess this is so that there are no obvious puncture wounds on the body? When Fassett returns his wife is dead!

It is indeed a video tape we are watching, and we are in C.I.A. headquarters. Chief Maxwell Danforth (Burt Lancaster) is being debriefed on his agent Fassett. After the death of his wife, Fassett went wild in his attempts to track down her killer. In the process he discovered a cell of KGB agents called Omega.

Omega are three successful American business men, who operate under communist spy master Andrei Mikalovich. The men from Omega are: Stockbroker, Joseph Carbone (Chris Sarandon); Plastic surgeon, Richard Tremayne (Dennis Hopper); and Television producer, Bernard Osterman (Craig T. Nelson).

Apart from being communist spies, the three men also have one other thing in common. They all went to college together with their friend John Tanner (Rutger Hauer). Tanner is now the successful host of ‘Face To Face’, which is a television talk show. His show is controversial and he often tackles weighty issues and interviews politicians and members of the defence force. He wants to interview C.I.A. Maxwell Danforth. And luckily he will get his chance.

Danforth and Fassett seek Tanner’s help. They want him to help ‘turn’ one of his communist friends. Tanner reluctantly agrees, but on one condition – that he gets to interview Danforth. The deal is done.

Since college days, the four men, Tanner, Carbone, Tremayne, and Osterman arrange holiday weekends together. They call these weekends ‘Ostermans’ as it was Bernie who started the tradition in college. The upcoming weekend an ‘Osterman’ is planned and Tanner is to be the host. Fassett moves quickly an crams all the latest surveillance equipment into Tanner’s house. And then waits for the guests to arrive.

The music for The Osterman Weekend is by Lalo Schifrin. I am a big fan of Schifrin’s work, but this is not one of his greatest moments. The music is soft saxophone jazz, that sounds like music from a 70’s porno flick. Given this films subject matter and style, it may be a purposeful stylisation, but it doesn’t make for great listening.

Generally speaking, and with the exception of the Matt Damon Bourne movies, Ludlum’s books haven’t translated too well to the silver screen. The first attempt at The Bourne Identity with Richard Chamberlain was a misfire, and The Holcroft Covenant was undone by an air of sleaze and unpleasantness. Similarly, The Osterman Weekend is a sleazy affair. I know that Peckinpah is making a point about voyeurism and media manipulation, but it doesn’t mean I want to watch it.

The Osterman Weekend (1983)

Hobo With a Shotgun

Release Year: 2011
Country: Canada
Director: Jason Eisener
Writers: John Davies, Jason Eisener, Rob Cotterill
Starring: Rutger Hauer, Molly Dunsworth, Brian Downey, Gregory Smith, Nick Bateman, Jeremy Akerman
Cinematography: Karim Hussain
Music: Adam Burke, Darius Holbert, Russ Howard III, The Obsidian Orchestra
Producers: Chris Bell, Rob Cotterill, Niv Fichman, Paul Gross, Kevin Kritst, Andrea Raffaghello, Frank Siracusa

Hobo With a Shotgun owes its existence to Quentin Tarrantino and Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse films. While I like the Grindhouse project, perhaps Planet Terror a bit more than Death Proof, are they really what they purport to be? Are they Grindhouse films? However, that’s a question for later, what we’re looking at is how Hobo and the Grindhouse films are connected.

Those you have seen Grindhouse – or singularly Planet Terror would be aware of the faux trailer for Machete. The trailer proved so popular that an actual film was made, based on the incidents shown in the trailer. Now Machete cannot be really called a good film, but it was fast paced and fun and delivered everything that was promised in the trailer. But there were other trailers beside Machete.

Upon Grindhouse’s release, as a publicity gimmick, a competition was held to create a Grindhouse style trailer. The winner of this competition, was for a fictitious film called Hobo With a Shotgun. Allegedly, this trailer was incorporated into the Grindhouse program in North America – although, I have not seen this trailer myself.

Now, several years later a film has been made based on the trailer, the big difference being that Rutger Hauer is playing the titular hobo. And that’s where I come into the story. As an Australian, I was unaware of the trailer competition, and therefore unaware of Hobo With a Shotgun’s backstory. All I knew was that there was a new film called Hobo With a Shotgun and it starred Rutger Hauer. Those two points were all it was required to sell me.

Now I like watching trash and exploitation pictures. I’ll watch practically any type of ‘ploitation’ picture, be it Blaxploitation, Bruceplotation, Nunsploitation, Rednexploitation, MadMaxploitation, anything really…and therefore my standards aren’t very high. Violence, Sex and Sleaze are old friends and it takes a lot for me to be disgusted. But Hobo With a Shotgun came close to crossing that line. It is a violent, repugnant piece of work, that has no redeeming features at all. But I seem to be alone in that opinion, with the internet buzz suggesting that the film is a genre classic. Maybe I am just getting old.

I think I draw the line at violence being perpetrated against children. I know cinema is all make believe and no actual children were harmed, but when the villains of the piece, torched a bus load of children with a flame thrower, I thought the film went too far. This was after a scene, where a paedofile in a Santa suit is seen driving off with a boy in the back seat, banging on the rear window, begging for help, while the townsfolk ignore him. These aren’t gory scenes by this film’s standards, but the themes encompassed are simply abhorrent. And they don’t add to the story at all either. The bus scene could have just as easily been a load of adults, and the same emotional content – that being, making the the viewer hate the villains that bit more – could have been achieved.

The film opens with an un-named Hobo (Rutger Hauer) hitching a lift on a cargo train. The train pulls into Hope Town – although the sign at the limits has been tagged and now says Scum Town. Later, a police officer refers to the city as Fuck Town. Either way, this city is not a friendly place, and in some ways echoes the village, ‘The Unhappy Place’ in Guilio Questi’s Django Kill: If You Live Shoot. Immediately the Hobo is a witness to a strange event on the streets. A man, whose hands have been tied, runs through the street with a thick circular collar around his neck. This collar just so happens to be the same width as a manhole cover. This man asks the town folk on the streets to untie his hands, but everybody ignores him. The citizens live in fear and don’t want to get involved.

Cars race into the street from opposite ends, blocking the man’s progress. From the vehicles step underworld kingpin, The Drake (Brian Downey), and his two delinquent sons, Slick (Gregory Smith) and Ivan (Nick Bateman). It turns out that the hunted man is The Drake’s younger brother, and somehow he has offended his criminally minded sibling. No explanation is really offered, but as punishment, the younger brother is marched into the middle of the street where he is lowered into a manhole, where his collar locks him into place. His head is now the only part of his body visible. Then a barbed wire noose is placed around his head, while the other end is tied to a car. On The Drake’s signal, the car speeds off, and his brothers is decapitated sending a shower of blood high into the sky. If the scene wasn’t fucked up enough, then a girl in a bikini and a white fur coat starts to dance in the shower of blood.

The town folk return to their business and the hobo moves on. Later, the hobo finds himself outside The Drake’s nightclub, which is more like a torturous amusement park. The viewer is introduced to the sort of fun that is had inside, by a visual of a man being forcibly held down on a dodge-em car track, when two cars plow into his head from opposite sides. His head disintegrates in a balloon of blood.

The hobo enters the club and watches from the shadows, and sees a young hooker, named Abby (Molly Dunsworth) picked up by Slick. She thinks it’s an opportunity to earn some decent money. But Slick is pretty perverted, and things quickly get out of hand. But before things get really ugly, the hobo steps into the fray and knocks Slick out. He claims to be making a citizens arrest.

The hobo drags Slick to the police station. However the hobo is not received politely. The police chief is in cahoots with The Drake, and he frees Slick. Then Slick, with Ivan’s help, kick the shit out of the hobo and carve a message into his chest. But they don’t kill him. They simply throw his battered body into a garbage heap.

Later the battered and bleeding hobo staggers along a line of streetwalking girls, looking for Abby. He finds her, and she takes him back to her apartment, and she patches him up – and allows him a good night’s sleep on her bed. However, in the morning he is gone, and that would be it, but the hobo has a dream to buy a lawn mower and start his own business. He goes to a pawn shop to enquire about a mower, but before he has a chance, three hoodlums barge in, threatening the customers and demanding money.

The hobo decides enough is enough, and picks up a shotgun from the wall (strange it should be loaded). Then he begins to dispense his own unique brand of shotgun justice. But it doesn’t end here. The hobo marches out onto the street and starts killing all the riff-raff. Soon, his actions have caught the public and the media’s attention, and he becomes somewhat of a people’s hero.

Of course, this does not sit well with The Drake and his boys and they put a bounty on the hobo’s head. In fact, they put a bounty on all homeless people. So ordinary folk, with a mob mentality, suddenly start killing the homeless folk, man, woman or child, and with each death, they get closer to finding and catching the hobo.

When a corrupt police officer tries to force Abby into performing sexual acts, the hobo steps in, providing his unique justice, and then the two of them escape back to her apartment. The hobo relates his lawn mowing business dream, and Abby says that she will go with him, and they can both start a new life together in a new town. But before they can leave, Skip and Ivan turn up – violence, trouble and a large amount of bloodletting ensues.

The only thing I can think to compare this too is the current crop of Japanese gorefests, such as Tokyo Gore Police, Vampire Girl and Frankenstein Girl and many others. The Japanese films cross the lines of good taste too, but there a sense of style, and even professionalism in their productions, which can be admired, even if you don’t particularly like the film. Hobo With a Shotgun does not display that professionalism. The acting is amateur at best, particularly from Gregory Smith and Nick Bateman who play Slick and Ivan – two of the central characters. Brian Downey as The Drake only fairs marginally better. I think he can act, but in this instance chose to go widely over the top – embarrassingly so.

The gore effects thankfully aren’t CGI, but they are crude and simplistic, with almost balloon or garden hose delivery systems. If that’s your thing, then this film delivers everything from decapitations, machete slashing, stomachs slit open by baseball bats with razorblades embedded in them, hacksaws to the neck, hands being vaporised in lawnmower blades, and of course, multiple shotgun blasts.

Defining exactly what an exploitation picture is, is very difficult. I guess they have to have some exploitable quality, and I guess Hobo With a Shotgun exploits star Rutger Hauer. I love Rutger, and will watch the bulk of his work knowing full well it isn’t very good. And here I have done so again, and in saying that, may I suggest that in its way Hobo With a Shotgun is a more successful Grindhouse exploitation flick than Death Proof, Planet Terror or Machete. These last three films provide a decent nights entertainment, whether it be at the cinema or in front of the television at home. Many people, myself included, will watch them again and again. However, most likely I will never watch Hobo With a Shotgun again. It is a film that has exploited my fondness for Hauer films. I watched it solely because his name was on the poster, and now I feel cheated – possibly exploited – and definitely unclean.

The thing is, readers don’t come to P2K looking for reviews of family friendly cinema. If you have done so, I apologize for the pictorial content. Most visitors here are cult and exploitation film savvy, and like myself are going to hear about Hobo With a Shotgun and want to watch it for themselves to make up their own minds. I understand and appreciate that, but if I may be so arrogant to suggest that maybe this one to steer clear of… who am I kidding, you’ll watch it anyway.

Hobo With a Shotgun

And the Hits Keep Comin': at Teleport City

For those who are after a bit of entertainment beyond the spy world, I have posted a few reviews over the past few months at Teleport City.

The Killing Machine

If The Killing Machine was solely another violent exploitation flick in the same style as many other films that Chiba was making during this period, then it would leer and revel in the torridness it was depicting. Instead it treats its subject matter with sensitivity and honour. Sure the film has a few unpleasant moments, but they are not in the film to excite the audience. They are there as obstacles that the characters (and one assumes Doshin Soh in real life) had to overcome. Each obstacle makes them stronger people. All in all, this is a surprisingly enjoyable movie. To see Sonny Chiba dish out his unique brand of justice click here.

The Bodyguard

Next I moved on to The Bodyguard and it appears to be a film released in Japan in 1973, and then reissued in America in 1976 with some extra footage and atrocious dubbing. But first things first. I know it’s no longer cool to like Quentin Tarrantino any more. I know his films are a bunch of stolen moments from other films. But I like his films – I thought Inglourious Basterds was brilliant – and I must admit it still gives me a thrill when I discover the source of another of his in-jokes. The Bodyguard provides a clue to a moment in Pulp Fiction, when Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) explains to Tim Roth, that his is the wallet that says ‘Bad Mother F#cker’. But now I see that maybe Jules wasn’t the aforementioned ‘Bad Mother’, but Sonny Chiba is. How so? The speech that Jules says to scare his intended victims, Ezekiel 17:25, is presented in the opening credits of The Bodyguard, however where Jules quotes it correctly, The Bodyguard has the cheek to modify the words.

The path of the righteous man and defender is beset on all sides by the iniquity of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper, and the father of lost children. And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious anger, who poison and destroy my brothers; and they shall know that I am Chiba the Bodyguard when I shall lay my vengeance upon them!

So Jules’ speech in Pulp Fiction is a homage to the Baddest Mother of them all — Sonny Chiba! Can ya dig it! To be dropped knee deep in the mayhem, click here.

She Shoots Straight

Then we move to Hong Kong, and Sammo Hung’s wife, Joyce Godenzi takes on a Vietnamese super-criminal. The biggest failing in this film is its lack of logic. Sure it is action packed and the stunts are great, but the shear illogicality of many of the sequences beggars belief. There is no ’cause’ and ‘effect’. If Dirty Harry and his imitators were chewed out by their superiors for endangering the lives of innocent civilians, then by the end of this film, the whole Huang family, which seems to make up the majority of the Hong Kong police force, would be constantly on suspension, or kicked off the force. The disrespect for human life and property is absolutely staggering. But, after all it is only a movie and not real life. To enjoy the mayhem, click here.

Salute of the Jugger

I realise that Salute of the Jugger as released, is a very flawed film. It lacks plot and characterisation. Even as a post-apocalyptic tale of society reverting back to a primitive state it fails miserably. But as a sports film where the underdog takes on a vastly superior opponent and against all odds and achieves the impossible, Jugger pushes all the right buttons and succeeds admirably. The end game is as thrilling to watch as it would be devastating to participate in. Over the years there have been plenty of sports films – most of them are crap (boxing comes off the best with at least the original Rocky and Raging Bull credited against the sport). But I think Salute of the Jugger is one of the great sporting films — okay the ‘game’ wasn’t a real game (one invented for the film), but this film overcomes that hurdle, and not only teaches us the rules, but also taps in to latent sporting emotions hidden within. To join the game click here.

And the Hits Keep Comin': at Teleport City