Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Warriors Review

The Gramercy Riffs. The Rogues. Turnbull AC's. The Baseball Furies. The Orphans. The Punks. The Boppers. The Lizzies. The Electric Eliminators. The Hi-Hats. The Hurricanes. The Jones Street Boys. The Saracens. The Satans Mothers. The Savage Huns. The Moonrunners. The Van Cortlandt Rangers. The Boyle Avenue Runners. The Gladiators. The Panzers. 

"Warriors, come out to pla-ay."

21 gangs all summoned to meet at midnight. Summoned by Cyrus, leader of The Gramercy Riffs. 

"Can you dig it?"

Cyrus calls for peace between the gangs. A truce. Outnumber the police, control the city. The crowd erupts into applause.

Shots ring out. Cyrus falls dead. Luther, leader of The Rogues, points the finger of blame at The Warriors. Framed and on the run, they need to find a way back to their home turf. The only chance they've got is through enemy territory. 8 Warriors against 20 gangs that want them dead.

The Warriors is a 1979 film directed by Walter Hill which was initially negatively received and it is easy to understand why. Those looking for total realism need to look elsewhere, which is a difficult concept to negotiate in your mind considering how real the locations feel but despite this the experience mostly feels way more fantasy in nature. These gangs walk city streets and it's as if not a soul exists outside of their world, just a mixture of characters wearing different, sometimes ridiculous costumes to represent their crew. The dialogue is seemingly nothing to write home about but the more you invest yourself in Hill's moody and stylized world, the more you recognize that it fits the tone of the picture with perfection. This is a movie that deserves its cult classic status.

The real reason I love The Warriors is the most simple one: it is so damn entertaining. No matter how absurd a gang seems, with The Baseball Furies being a perfect example of how ridiculous it can get, Hill's vision never goes too far for me. Some will sit down to watch The Warriors and deem it too silly, and I cannot argue this notion. The thing is, I love that it does feel so silly and yet walks a tightrope between that and just a hint of gritty brutal realism that allows the audience just enough motivation to care about the fate of the members of The Warriors. 

"Can you dig it?"

You bet I can Cyrus. I will always dig The Warriors.



  1. Can you dig it?? Yes I can. I love it when a movie/director has a vision and runs with it. Same rating.

    1. Completely agree Nathan, we are on the same page there. I embrace a lot of films that are deemed "silly" or "weird" because in a lot of cases I can appreciate that a director, as you said, has a vision and runs with it. Doesn't try to step off the gas and make things more "normal" or anything, like so many probably would have to these days due to studio pressure.

    2. A vision is one reason why, while still not good, the recent Fantastic Four shouldn't have been as reviled as it was. Trank wasn't trying to make a comic book movie. He was making a science fiction (with a bit of horror) movie. Of course, IMHO, the studio pushed too hard for a comic book movie and it didn't come out well.

    3. See, the irony is it is vision that destroyed FF for me, not because of what Trank tried to do but because of whoever didn't allow it to happen. I thought the first half (which ironically was 75 percent of the length but I keep saying half) was mediocre at best but I didn't hate it...but when that One Year Later screen came on, everything after that was a disaster. I have no idea how much was cut out but obviously a lot, and the film needed it desperately.

  2. I only saw it once and a long time ago. But I seem to recall never feeling the intensity I expected. One lawless gang hunted by every other lawless gang? I anticipated a lot of desperate derring-do mixed with necessity popping out clever moves left and right. A lot more adrenalin. I only remember looking at my watch too often. (and the silly gang costumes)