1990: THE BRONX WARRIORS (1982)
WARRIORS' LOSES BATTLE OF BRONX
Miami Herald, The (FL)
September 5, 1983
Author: BILL COSFORD Herald Movie Critic
Estimated printed pages: 2
New York under siege by rampant thugs is a premise that continues to engage filmmakers, and has at least since Walter Hill's fantasy-of-violence, The Warriors, in 1979. Provocative as the urban jungle may be, the idea nonetheless has appealed to filmmakers of successively smaller skill, and the movies -- Escape From New York, The Exterminator -- have grown worse as the mini-genre expands.
The latest in line is 1990: The Bronx Warriors, a poorly dubbed Italian production and an obvious synthesis of what has gone before. Youth gangs in a variety of colorful costumes do battle in the South Bronx, vicious killer-cops use flame and buckshot to rout them, blood flows.
It is 1990, of course, and the opening titles fill us in on the decay of civilization: "The Bronx was officially designated a high-risk district." (Always a bit behind the times, these guys -- that "designation" seems to have been acknowledged in the 1970s, and in fact the South Bronx is now in the process of being recovered.)
Anyway, Ann -- who wears a Chemise Lacoste sweater and is later billed as "the wealthiest and most affluent girl in the world" runs away from Manhattan and holes up with Trash, Ice and the rest of the Riders -- they may be thugs, but they're apparently more sensitive than the button-down men back at the Manhattan Corp., of which Ann is the heiress ("controls 60 per cent of the world's arms production.").
Ann's presence triggers slaughter -- rival gangs bubble with sexual tension, and the Hammer (the late Vic Morrow) and the Hot Dog (Christopher Connelly) are working for the Corp., trying to rescue her at all cost. Ann notes the bodies of two shotgunned Riders, and feels remorse: "They'd still be alive if I hadn't come here." Trash adjusts his leather vest and counsels, "Stop blaming yourself."
It's all pretty much like that until the final bloodbath. Morrow, Connelly and Fred Williamson walk sourly through their roles, aware that these are not resume-builders. In the background, the sounds of a film editor trying feverishly to make some sense out of the thing may faintly be heard. The subgenre has nowhere to go but up.
1990: The Bronx Warriors (R) *
Vic Morrow, Christopher Connelly, Fred Williamson, Mark Gregory, Stefania Girolami
Director: Enzo G. Castellari
Producer: Fabrizio De Angelis
Screenwriters: Dardano Sacchetti, Elisa Livia Briganti, Enzo G. Castellari
Cinematographer: Sergio Salvati
Music: Walter Rizzati
A United Film Distribution Co. release
Running time: 85 minutes
Vulgar language, violence and gore
At DADE: America, Movies at the Falls; BROWARD: Movies of Pompano, Movies at Plantation, Cinema 4, Coral Springs Mall; PALM BEACH: Jupiter, Mall Cinema, Movies at Town Center.
Picture stolen from www.enzogcastellari.com. Visit today
A FILM SO BAD THAT, ODDLY, IT'S ALMOST A GOOD TIME
Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA) - May 27, 1983
Author: Rick Lyman, Inquirer Movie Critic
1990: The Bronx Warriors may well be the worst movie currently playing in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. We're talking worst - by about three furlongs - and that includes such distinguished entries in the sweepstakes as My Tutor, Curtains, Porky's and that new Cheech and Chong thing.
So why do my eyes mist over when I think of the poor, addled miscreants who dreamt it up? Why do I wander through memories of people impaled and burned alive - the whole phantasmagoria of the modern urban thriller - and feel
somehow warm and merciful?
Because, heaven help me, it was so bad, so unbelievably dumb and filled with so many unintentional howlers that I had something resembling a good time, in a deformed sort of way.
Not that I recommend actually spending money to see it, unless you have an unhealthy taste for dementia.
Some movies grow to be so bad, contort themselves into such strange shapes to rip-off previous hits, that they rise from the muck and flower, grandly, as something exalted and awesome. You sit there in a numb state of silence, watching cast-off character actors squinting through their hopeless lines, and no-talent new faces reaching for third-rate emotions they can never reach. And, in a limited, not altogether pleasant way, you have a tiny bit of gruesome fun.
The movie opens in the year 1990, when the borough of the Bronx has been declared a "high-risk area" by the government. The police have simply stopped trying to keep order, and street gangs have taken the law into their own hands.
In our first scene, we see a young, frightened woman scurrying into a midnight alley. Suddenly, a gang of killers emerges from the shadows - they wear white helmets, scurry about on roller skates and carry what look like metal hockey sticks. Before you can say Great Gretzky they're trying to use her as a puck.
Enter our heroes, The Riders. They're a leather-clad cycle gang led by a noble savage named Trash. You know they've got style when they show up with glowing skulls mounted on their handle-bars. They rescue the damsel who, miraculously, hasn't even gotten her Izod blazer dirty and carry her off into their darkened urban kingdom.
The girl, Anne, turns out to be the sole heir to the gigantic Manhattan Corporation, which controls "60 percent of all the arms sales in the world." She's described by the chairman of the board as "the wealthiest, most affluent girl in the whole world." But the idea of going to board meetings was so repulsive to her that she decided to take her chances across the river in the Bronx.
The corporation, which needs to get her back so she can sign official documents, hires a mercenary named Hammer, played with a grim sort of inevitablity by the late Vic Morrow. He's to sneak into The Bronx, get her back and kill as many punks as he can in the process. He teams up with a club- footed street slime named Hot Dog.
Hammer's idea is to get The Riders into a war with the Ogre, a fearsome character who claims to be the King of the Bronx. But Trash and Ogre are too smart for Hammer and Hot Dog. They vow to band together, save Anne and keep the greedy Manhattan Corporation on the other side of the river, where it belongs.
Besides, Anne likes it with Trash. "It's the first time I've ever really belonged to something, been a part of something that was totally mine. Don't let them take me away, ever. Just hold me, hold me."
I suppose it would be redundant to point out that the movie is a bizarre and poorly blended mixture of Escape from New York, The Warriors and Death Wish.
But the strangest part of the whole mess, the truly awesome under-pinning, is that all of the outdoor scenes are quite clearly not filmed anywhere near the Bronx. I'm no expert on New York geography, but I know that if you're standing in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge, you're nowhere near Yankee Stadium.
As Anne says to one of the bad guys: "Foiled at the last minute; how could you think you'd ever get away with it?"
1990: THE BRONX WARRIORS
Produced by Fabrizio de Angelis, directed by Enzio Castellari, written by Dardanno Sachetti, photography by Sergio Salvati, music by Walter Rizzati, distributed by United Film Distribution Co.; running time, 1 hour, 28 mins. *
Hammer - Vic Morrow
Trash - Mark Gregory
Ogre - Fred Williamson
Hot Dog - Christopher Connelly
Anne - Stefania Girolami
Parents' guide: R (violence, profanity)