|Star:||Michael Beck, James Remar, Deborah Van Valkenburgh, David Patrick Kelly|
|Cert / Year:||18 - R / 1979|
Cyrus is leader of the Riffs the biggest gang in New York. He is a visionary who has a plan to unite all of the other gangs and using this vast army control the city. To get the other gangs in line he has called a truce, and invited each gang to send nine unarmed representatives to a massive meeting in the Bronx. One of the 100 gangs invited are the Warriors from Coney Island. They like the others are sceptical but won over by Cyrus. That is until he is shot dead by crazed gang leader Luther, who frames them for his murder. Now with over 100 miles to travel back to their home turf and every gang out to get them the Warriors are going to have to live up to their name to survive.
There are many classic films from the early days of video which maybe aren't as well known as they should be. Who remembers The Park is Mine, or They call me Trinity? Well The Warriors is definitely one of these movies. This gritty masterpiece is a mix of social commentary and brutal gang land violence. It is a journey through the grimy underside of New York. But overall it is a excellent film that has largely been forgotten about.
Why is it so good? Well for a start Walter Hill's direction is outstanding. The film is shot almost entirely at night. This of course means that lighting could have been a major problem, however like John Carpenter this is a masterpiece of atmospheric darkness and shiny wet streets. This is combined with some top notch fight direction, with the realism achieved being scarily awesome. But this film isn't just about fighting (or running away), it has a social message, and it is a credit that the character scenes are so well constructed as to bring this across. This whole package is neatly tied up with the journey home of the Warriors. The sense of scale of which is cleverly established in the elevated train ride introduction (not that far removed from the opening of Get Carter). The distance and the time taken (basically all night) for the trip home is then expertly conveyed leaving you with a feeling that the story is some what larger than the running time would have you believe.
The performances from the cast are very good. My favourite character has to be the fearlessly violent Ajax brilliantly played by James Remar, its just a shame it isn't a bigger part. But not to worry the rest of the cast are all pretty good, with the leads Swan, Michael Beck and Mercy, Deborah Van Valkenburgh both putting in solid and likeable stints. Other cast of note include David Patrick Kelly who gives one of his trademark psychopath roles, the sexy voice of Lynne Thigpen as the radio DJ, and the super cool Dennis Gregory as Masai the new leader of the Riffs (love those mirrored shades).
Another major plus point is Walter Hill's superb script. Packed with poignancy and desperation, and accurately conveying the violent society that is a way of life for the gang members. While gang members are generally not the most likeable law abiding citizens, this script shows that they maybe victims of circumstance and given the choice would want something better. Overall it is great stuff and provides some memorable lines.
The Warriors plays a bit like a video game. Each new gang is introduced by a cut scene then the action kicks in. In a nice touch after each fight the sexy voice of the late night DJ that keeps the score. My only criticism is that the finale while cool is a little bit of a disappointment. One big final fight before the end wouldn't have gone amiss.
The Warriors is a film that is well worth watching. It is possibly Walter Hills finest piece of work (although 48 Hrs comes real close). It has a great script and some excellent direction. It is violent but it does have real characters and a real story. Forget Gangs of New York this is the best gang film ever made.
These are the Armies of The Night. They are 100,000 strong. They outnumber cops five to one. They could rule New York. Tonight they're all out for the Warriors.
(Luther) Warriors, come out and play-i-ay.
(Ajax) I'll shove that bat up your butt and turn you into a popsicle.
(Masai) I want ALL the Warriors! I want them alive, if possible. If not, wasted! But I want them. Send the word!
|1.78:1 Anamorphic||Initialy grainy but overall a great quality print.|
|Dual Mono||Clear but not upto much being mono|
|Loverly picture but only passable sound. Also lack of any real extras make this better than video but not a very exciting disc.|