Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Film Review: 1990- THE BRONX WARRIORS (1982, Enzo G. Castellari)

Stars: 5 of 5.
Running Time: 97 minutes.
Tag-line: "In the year 1990, the Bronx is officially declared No Man's Land. The authorities give up all attempts to restore law and order. From then on, the area is ruled by the Riders."
Notable Cast or Crew: Mark Gregory (THUNDER, JUST A DAMNED SOLDIER), Fred Williamson (INGLORIOUS BASTARDS, VIGILANTE), Vic Morrow (BLACKBOARD JUNGLE, THE LAST SHARK), Christopher Connelly (BENJI, MANHATTAN BABY), Joshua Sinclair (KEOMA, THE LAST SHARK), Ennio Girolami (TENEBRE, LIGHT BLAST), Stefania Girolami Goodwin (Castellari's daughter- also in HEROIN BUSTERS, SINBAD OF THE SEVEN SEAS), George Eastman (BLASTFIGHTER, THE NEW BARBARIANS). Music by Walter Rizzati (HOUSE BY THE CEMETARY, THUNDER 2). Cinematography by Sergio Salvati (CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD, GHOULIES II, CONTRABAND).
Best one-liner: "You fuck! It could be a pile of shit out of someone's asshole!"

Somebody lends Italy their copy of THE WARRIORS, and this is what happens.

Now 1990 was a rough time to be in the Bronx. There was this guy, Trash, who led the toughest gang.

Everybody knew they were the toughest because whenever they parked their motorcycles, they did it in a 'W' formation.

Trash looked like he'd be more at home Go-Go dancing in Chelsea, and his jeans were so tight you could see his asscrack through them, but he was still the toughest. Then "the richest girl in the world" wandered uptown, shacked up with Trash, and a major shitstorm broke loose. That's the main drive of this movie, but that's not why you're watching it. You're watching it for spit-take inducing lines like "Just keep talkin' fagface, and I'll tear your fockin' lid off!" or "The bird has flown the coop, and Little Red Riding Hood was caught by the big bad seven dwarves." Let those sink in for a minute. I love this movie. I love that a gang member plays a drum solo on the banks of the East River for ten minutes while every member of a 50 man brigade gets his own reaction shot.

I love that there's a CABARET inspired tap-dancing gang, complete with swords, metal derbies, and synchronized fight choreography.

I love that the SWAT van is clearly a re-painted Mr. Softee truck. I love that in the funeral scene, everyone throws a handful of ashes into the East River, which immediately blow back into their faces, and they didn't redo the shot. I love that all the views of Manhattan clearly reveal that this was filmed on Roosevelt Island. I love that funky soundtrack, full o' big bouncy basses and reverb-heavy high-hat action. I love all the odd references to gray matter, reflecting idioms that don't exist in English ("Would you mind asking Blade to put his gray matter in motion?", "You gotta be kiddin'- you got your gray matter in your butt!"). I love insults like "Pisshead!" and character names like 'Hot Dog' and 'Witch.' I love that there's a character named 'The Hammer' NOT played by Fred 'The Hammer' Williamson.

The Hammer is The Ogre.

This is about as good as it gets, ladies and gentlemen. To reveal too much more would be a sin. And be sure check out the sequel (with Henry Silva!), ESCAPE FROM THE BRONX. Five skull-glowin', roller-skatin', high-hattin' stars (in a 'W' formation).

-Sean Gill

6. BLIND FURY (1989, Philip Noyce)
7. HIS KIND OF WOMAN (1951, John Farrow)
8. HIGH SCHOOL U.S.A. (1983, Rod Amateau)
9. DR. JEKYLL AND MS. HYDE (1995, David Price)
11. 1990: BRONX WARRIORS (1982, Enzo G. Castellari)
12. ...


J.D. said...

Doesn't this film also riff a bit on ESCAPE FROM NY? Or is that a whole other sub-sub-sub-genre?

Sean Gill said...

Oh yes, there's certainly some ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK in here, but not quite so much as in its sequel, ESCAPE FROM THE BRONX or in something like 2019: AFTER THE FALL OF NEW YORK. (There's just so much attention paid to the variety of flamboyant, cartoonish New York gangs, that I have to call THE WARRIORS its primary inspiration.) This is probably my personal favorite from the lot of ESCAPE FROM NY/WARRIORS rip-offs, a subgenre that frequently has a healthy sprinkling of ROAD WARRIOR as well. Something like THE NEW BARBARIANS is kind of 'all of the above.'

GuyR said...

Hell yeah, the drum solo scene is absolutely great, and the opening credits kick ass (crack).

Sean Gill said...

Yeah, I almost feel a little Kenneth Anger in there, but I can't imagine that was intentional.