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Paramount Studios presents
The Warriors (1979)

"Our friends are on second base and are trying to make it all the way home. The inside word is the odds are against them."
- D.J. (Lynne Thigpen)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: January 11, 2001

Stars: Michael Beck, James Remar, Dorsey Wright, Deborah van Valkenburgh, Roger Hill, David Patrick Kelly, Lynne Thigpen
Other Stars: Brian Tyler, David Harris, Tom McKitterick, Marcelino Sanchez, Terry Michas
Director: Walter Hill

Manufacturer: Panasonic Disc Services Corp.
MPAA Rating: R for language, violence, sexual situations
Run Time: 01h:33m:02s
Release Date: January 16, 2001
UPC: 097360112245
Genre: action


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C- DB-C- C+

DVD Review

While cheap, flea-bitten and nonsensical films often become, quite by accident, cult favorites, it is equally true that flat out attempts to make a cult film are usually doomed to failure, if not derision. The original Heavy Metal is a good example of the former; Heavy Metal 2000 is an example of the latter. So it is with Walter Hill's cult wannabe, The Warriors. My pained reaction at this disc quite took me by surprise. I recalled seeing The Warriors about 15 years ago and rather enjoying it. Looking at the film with older and more critical eyes, I am aghast at what passed for entertainment.

The premise of the film is fairly straightforward, though labored. Nine members from each New York City gang are to meet, unarmed, at a conclave in the Bronx. There, the leader of the Gramercy Riffs, Cyrus (Roger Hill), preaches a sermon of togetherness among the gangs to take out the city, from the mobs to the cops, because the gangs rule the streets. Alas, Luther (David Patrick Kelly), leader of the Rogues, has smuggled a gun in and shoots Cyrus. Simultaneously, the cops arrive on the scene, and in the ensuing mayhem Luther gets the word out that it was the Warriors, a gang from Coney Island, who offed Cyrus. Soon the word is out that the Warriors are to be killed,and they need to make their way back home to safety. The cops are after anyone gang-related, and the Rogues want to make sure the Warriors are killed so that suspicion won't turn their way. The rest of the movie concerns their efforts and the roadblocks of all the other gangs and the New York police in their way.

The Warriors are a completely uninteresting group of one-note characters. Rembrandt (Marcelino Sanchez) is predictably the spray-paint tagger. Ajax (James Remar) is the horny guy who keeps getting distracted by women they meet along the way. Swan (Michael Beck) is the stoic war leader whose authority is in doubt. The others don't even have that one note to their benefit, making them essentially a faceless group of nonentities about which it's impossible to feel or care much of anything. Added to the mix is a young girl, Mercy (Deborah van Valkenburgh), whose presence is engineered solely to provide a romantic interest, even though she doesn't really have anything to do with the Warriors and is only a millstone around their collective necks.

The fact that they are the stupidest group of mopes ever to join a gang doesn't help. So they need to get back home through twenty-plus miles of hostile territory, and the subway stations are being watched by cops and the other gangs? Well, they'll just forge ahead using the subways anyway, or walking. Even though there are plenty of parked cars visible it never once occurs to these lunkheads that they could swipe one of the cars and drive home. But that would be an awfully short movie. What can you say about a bunch of guys who think that they're going to get lucky when they meet up with an all-girl gang called (I am not making this up) the Lizzies? The whole setup is completely contrived and ridiculous from start to finish. The one good thing that the film has going for it is a periodic commentary by a radio D.J. (Lynne Thigpen) sympathetic to the Riffs, who is egging on the gangs to take a piece out of the Warriors. To underline her words, the songs she plays (such as Nowhere to Run) echo their predicament. Her down-and-nasty voice and attitude, even though only her lips are visible, is about the only redeeming quality here, and the source of what little style the film demonstrates.

The filmmakers were obviously trying to make a youth impression by riding on Kiss' coattails. Many of the gangs are bedaubed with full face makeup of various sorts, including the Baseball Furies, a nebbishy bunch of made-up glitter boys unable to swing a bat, dressed in faux Yankee uniforms. Most asinine of all is the mercifully briefly-glimpsed gang, the High Hats, a bunch of top-hat wearing goons made up as mimes. I can't imagine a gang of mimes surviving on the streets for more than twenty seconds; sooner or later a wind would come up that they couldn't run through and that would be the end. Add to the mix for further silliness an unnamed gang of would-be yokels in overalls; apparently they are the Knights of Oshkosh B'Gosh.

The climactic brawl is predictable and without much interest. Frankly, I was ready to see the Warriors be taken out so the film would be over. Since it is so cynically calculated to be a cult film, and fails so miserably in holding any interest, I have little choice but to recommend that it be disregarded completely.

Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: D

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The anamorphic presentation is pleasant enough. Colors and blacks are excellent, and grain is not excessive. The picture tends to be slightly soft, but there is generally decent detail throughout. Only very minor artifacting and edge enhancement was observed. The source print is decent, with some speckling around the reel changes, but otherwise pretty good. Certainly the video transfer is better than the film deserves.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Frenchyes


Audio Transfer Review: DD 2.0 English and French tracks are provided. Although the dialogue is generally clear and the synthesized score by Barry de Vorzon comes through without distortion, explosions and other effects are definitely lacking in depth, presence and bass. This would be an adequate track for a polite English tea film, but not an action picture.

Audio Transfer Grade: C-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 14 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The sole extra is a smeary and unattractive theatrical trailer. Subtitles in English are provided, in easily readable yellow. The chaptering is barely adequate for a film of this length; several chapters go on far too long and should have been broken up for better access.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

A poorly thought-out and often ridiculous attempt at an action film, sadly lacking in thought, action and logic. A rental, at most, for the curious.

 


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