Aug 6, 2008

The Blood of Heroes

Thanks for your blog suggestions over the weekend. I've added a few of them to my feed reader, and I'll be checking up on them over the next few days/weeks. I've also been trolling some of your blogrolls to see if I can unearth any gems. I mean, if I like you and you like me and you like them, um...sorry, my math is a bit fuzzy, but I think it must mean that I will like them. Right?

So from one of your sites, I jumped to somebody else's site and they had a link about the Kowloon Walled City that was demolished in the early 1990's. I'd give props to the referrer, but I just can't be bothered with going back to find out who it was. But thanks, whomever you are.

What a fascinating place it was. It was an independent "city" within the city of Hong Kong whose history went back as far as 1,000 years. Toward the end, it was the kind of place that I had thought only existed in post-apocalyptic science-fiction. The city was growing organically. The streets became labyrinths lit by fluorescent lamps as little to no sunlight made it through the dense building structures. Since it was off-limits to the Hong Kong police, it became a den of brothels, casinos, opium dens and illegal dentistry. That last one amuses me for some reason.

Reading about Kowloon Walled City made me immediately think of two films. The first (and lesser of the two) was the Sylvester Stallone actioner Demolition Man. Set in future LA where crime has been eliminated, the film featured a band of rebels led by Denis Leary who lived underground in a "city" much like Kowloon. Lawless, filthy and noble...in a way.

The second film it reminded me of was a little gem called The Blood of Heroes (or Salute of the Jugger for you non-Americans). It was set in some future post-Apocalyptic world where people scratch out a living in dog-towns. The only entertainment comes in the form of the game called Jugger. Two teams, two spikes, one dog skull and lots of kicking each other's ass! The film actually inspired the creation of a real game played in areas of Germany, the UK and the USA. I'm assuming with fewer critical injuries.

If you became good enough at the game, you drew the attention of the League. The League played their games in the underground Nine Cities, which is why I associate Kowloon with the film. Great, dark, maze-like cities where citizens sleep in hammocks strung high up on the walls of the corridors. Where aristocracy mingles with the trash for love of the game.

It has a great cast. Rutger Hauer, Joan Chen, Vincent D'Onofrio and Delroy Lindo. It was written and directed by David Webb Peoples, who also co-wrote Blade Runner and Twelve Monkeys. So the guy knows his sci-fi. Come to think of it, the city below in Blade Runner reminds me a bit of Kowloon Walled City as well. He also wrote the screenplay for Unforgiven, one of my favorite movie of all time. So, yeah...I'm a fan.

I don't know how many of you have seen this film, but I highly recommend it. It's sad, brutal, human and beautiful all at the same time. If you are a fan of the Mad Max films, then you may enjoy this one as well.

Random Wiki: NetEase is a Chinese Internet company. I wonder if they censor their own content. Hmmm? Their big claim to fame is a MMORPG called "Fantasy Westward Journey". Slyde probably knows what I'm talking about.

12 comments:

FourLeafClover said...

Good recommendation - as I am a fan of the Mad Max films...

badgerdaddy said...

I hate the phrase 'post apocalyptic'. Surely the point of apocalypse is that nothing comes after it, it's total destruction. Nothing left. Nada. Zilch. Zero.

I'm just saying. Yes, there are looser definitions, but they're modern ones, no doubt invented by the people that invented the phrase 'post apocalyptic'.

B.E. Earl said...

4Leaf - There are those swirling rumors about a possible 4th Mad Max film out there...

badger - Feeling a bit literal today, eh? ;) Your definition of the word is actually a bit newer. It originally refers to the revelation of God's Will. No specifics about the complete destruction of heaven and earth. The "end of the world" definition comes from the translation of a longer phrase which actually means the revelation at the end of the aeon or age. In this vein, I like to think of it as the complete and utter breakdown of society and civilization. As these films show a society after the end of a certain age (our current age), I find that the term post-Apocalypse works just fine for me.

RW said...

Blade Runner AND Unforgiven.

This is relevant to my interests!

downtown guy said...

Never heard of it, but it sounds right up my alley. On the other hand, Demolition Man is one of the worst movies ever made.

Slyde said...

god, i do love me some Blood of heroes.. havent seen that in ages...

and for the record, "Fantasy Westward Journey", im familiar with it...

ajooja said...

Just added it to my Netflix queue. I really loved "12 Monkeys."

B.E. Earl said...

RW - Yeah, I mean...who knew?

Downtown Guy - if only for never explaining the three shells in the bathroom in lieu of toilet paper.

Slyde - of course you are.

ajooja - I want to say I loved 12 Monkeys, and I am a huge Gilliam fan, but something about it came up just short of the "great film" category for me. I liked it a lot, and I thought it was really good. Just didn't love it.

lotus07 said...

If we live long enough, we will all be living in a Kowloon Walled City....it is the general direction that society is headed.

B.E. Earl said...

Lotus - at least until we build those space stations on the Moon and Titan.

Paige Stanton said...

So totally unrelated to this post, only b/c I couldn't think of anything intelligent to say about it, I noticed I'm on the list of Bug-Eyed Top Idiots. LOVE IT!

B.E. Earl said...

Paige - Only 240 or so to catch Slyde! ;)