It’s the first feature directed by screenwriter David Peoples (Blade Runner, Leviathan) and he’s provided himself with a murky, familiar screenplay about a band of wandering ‘juggers.’ They’re futuristic gladiators, led by the deeply scarred Sallow (Rutger Hauer), who was once a member of the League, the ruling elite, but who was banished over a misdemeanor. Now Sallow is determined to challenge the League’s juggers and regain his position.
His own team (which includes Vincent D’Onofrio, Delroy Lindo and Anna Katarina) is augmented by a feisty peasant girl, Kidda (Joan Chen), who proves invaluable in the climactic confrontation with the League’s team, which is headed by the giant Gonzo (Max Fairchild).
Plot development is slim. Much of running time is given over to the game itself, which seems to have no rules except that the winning team places the skull of a dog atop a pointed stick.
Hauer, whose character loses an eye halfway through the pic, gives Sallow a certain presence, but doesn’t extend himself. Chen comes off best with a graceful performance as Kidda: her moves in the game sequences are often quite beautiful in the midst of all the ugliness.
Pic was shot on desert locations near the mining town of Coober Pedy, South Australia, as well as in studios in Sydney.