The Warriors: Directors Cut (1979)

Being a fan of the films of Walter Hill, I’m a little ashamed that it’s taken me this long to get around to this Grindhouse-style ‘classic’. Taking place ‘somewhere in the future’ (that looks suspiciously like the late 70s), this comic book-like story focuses on a garishly-attired gang framed for the assassination of a progressive crime lord figure during a huge unity rally. The word is put out and the chase is on. The Warriors must navigate their way through enemy territory as they flee back to the perceived safety of Coney Island; their home turf. As they move, they’re episodically set upon by varying clownish gangs; all as cheesily attired as they are. And that’s the story. This flick is horribly dated with hilarious costumes, archaic street slang and I think, the most afros I’ve ever seen in one movie. Add an annoyingly baffling love interest, clumsy fight scenes and wooden ‘acting’ and one would think this movie wouldn’t amount to much. Which it mostly doesn’t. In it’s favor though is a particularly stylish plot device that does the flick a surprising service and that is the self-aware use of animated comic book freeze frames to connect scenes and characters. Through this method, the pain of the deficiencies is greatly reduced, NEARLY rendering The Warriors to ‘enjoyable’ status. I can easily recommend this one for cinephile purists but for everyone else…this flick is what it is. And it’s not terrible…but nor is it great…at all. One thing I’ll throw out there is that all the scuttlebutt of a remake ‘in the works’ is an inspired idea. There’s a lot of ‘cool’ that can be done with this story with the right budget and a motivated, visionary director. And a solid ‘R’ rating. “Warriors!!! Come out to plaaay!!!”

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