Owen Gleiberman
March 02, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Blood of Heroes

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
performer
Joan Chen, David Peoples, Rutger Hauer
director
David Webb Peoples
author
David Webb Peoples
genre
Sci-fi and Fantasy, ActionAdventure

We gave it a D+

Tired of the same old futuristic death sports? Well, The Blood of Heroes may be the movie for you. Set in the usual low-budget Road Warrior wasteland, it’s about a crew of gladiatorial renegades who compete in a sport that makes Rollerball look like Parcheesi.

The rules are simple: Two teams chase after a dog’s skull, and whichever one can impale it on a spike at the end of the playing field is the winner. All the while, both teams are trying to smash each other’s brains out. (Imagine the homicidal version of a punt return, and you’ll have a pretty good idea.) Their weapons include fists, chains, and some grisly looking objects that resemble giant Q-tips. And you thought Hulk Hogan knew how to party.

Death-sport movies used to be cautionary parodies of the bloodthirsty present. But The Blood of Heroes isn’t lightened by any comic-strip sociology. Unlike Rollerball or Death Race 2000, it serves up the carnage with Biblical solemnity.

The most vital question the movie raises — namely, how much bone-crunching exploitation can a viewer take? — might have been less relevant if writer-director David Peoples had provided a more extravagant villain, if he didn’t insist on placing the camera too close to the action, and if he had given Rutger Hauer and Joan Chen something to do besides glower laconically. D+

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