The Warriors Reviews
An action filled adventure movie that I can dig.
The film was written by David Shaber and Walter Hill, and it was based on the novel written by Sol Yurick. Both Hill and Shaber have written a wonderful story of a long night with a group of men just trying to get back home. The film explores the gangs of New York City and their current status and power within the city, and it's comprehensively covered within the first 10-15 minutes of the film, through a couple of dialogue between gang members and a speech from Cyrus. Cyrus' speech proposes this idea that friction between gang members is stupid as they only fight for a piece of land that carries no significant weight and it has caused so much bloodshed. Instead Cyrus, proposes the idea of a union and peace between each gang for a much larger prize, the entire city itself, and fight the real enemies, the police. This idea seems very similar to the common stories of rebels who fight for a revolution. If the film explored this rebellious idea then I wouldn't really have minded as I found it to be really interesting. But after the complication establishes itself, the film starts to become something else, a rough journey of trying to get back home. Along the way, they stumble upon different gangs, and each one is as deadly as the last. I really had fun with the film's story, giving us something different and exciting with every pit stop. It doesn't lose it's focus by having pointless sequences, although The Lizzies sequence was a bit unrewarding for my tastes. The film also was able to give characters a sense of character development but it's mostly found in it's main protagonist, Swan. The supporting characters in The Warriors were a delight to watch as they had their own distinct personalities. I particularly loved seeing characters like Ajax and Snow act tough and deliver memorable lines. The film's antagonist is primarily one man from a particular gang, which I don't wanna spoil, but as they reach a certain section of this lonely town they face a different antagonist, whether they may be the Turnbull ACs or The Baseball Furies. The film's dialogue was average at first, as it felt a bit cheesy and characters seems to come off as over the top, but after repeated viewings I started to enjoy it more and more with me repeating most of the film's lines with my sister as it comes on screen.
The Warriors was directed by Walter Hill, who has also directed films including The Driver, 48 Hrs., and Hard Times. I haven't seen the other films he has directed so I can't do any comparisons. I thought Hill did a great job with The Warriors. At first, I used to think of this film as just shallow fun but my recent viewing gained me a sense of insight to the ideas and metaphors that Hill was trying to create with this film. I have seen both the original cut of the film and his new director's cut. The film I watched recently was the director's cut as the current home video release of the film only has it in that edition. This cut was similar to the original cut but the director added comic book effects during it's transitions and a Greek mythology introduction that draws connection with the film's plot. I found this to be quite annoying, as it tries to hard in giving the film a sense of weight. And also, I cannot really appreciate too much the references and connection with Greek mythology with this film, as these references are too subtle and I do not know well enough about Greek history in order to understand it. Though I did see the similarities the first few minutes the film had with the conditions of war during the times of Greece, Hill was trying to connect with. As I have said before, Hill was able to give this film some sort of depth through it's symbolism. I thought it was really interesting on the way he depicted the streets of New York, as anywhere we go it seems to create this sense of filth and like as if these environments were due to the effects of the war between the gang members of New York City; gangs have been fighting with each other for so long that they have caused the city to disintegrate. Hill creates this idea of the train as this thing that would lead them to the road of peace, or the object that would save them from the awful streets of New York City. It's not guns or weapons that really saves them, instead it's getting these trains with the doors closed is what keeps them from being wasted from vicious gangsters. Each time the train was placed at a halt, it seems to bring trouble for the gang. The gang just simply just wanted to get home. Hill was able to keep us engaged all the way through, with interesting characters keeping us entertained and fight scenes that were not shockingly violent but definitely brutal; just the bathroom fight alone, is enough to give this film a watch. The director keeps it's audience feeling tense and frightened for each character until they reach their goal. Hill did a wonderful job pacing this film, with only one scene really bringing this film down and that was the scene with The Lizzies. That scene just took too long, and really develop any of the characters. It just lets them be aware of something we already knew right from the start and it loses a lot of the steam that was built up from the scenes that preceded it. The ending of that scene was pretty exciting, but it wasn't great enough for us to have to sit through it for 6 minutes.
The film's director of photography was Andrew Laszlo, though I think he did a great job with this film but he doesn't seem to be involved in any other film that I have yet seen as noteworthy. Laszlo and Hill did a wonderful job in creating the film's imagery. They both have created this idea of New York City being a disgusting place filled with crime and filth wherever you look. They have also managed to create this sense of claustrophobia, with the possibility of antagonists in ever corner waiting to just jump on The Warriors. Laszlo was able to give us some great close ups of members within the gang, allowing their distinctive features to be imprinted in our minds. There were also portions where he subtly draws us in the drama through slow zooms into actor's faces or have the camera be close and focused on it's principal actors. He also succeeded in creating that sense of comradery between the gang, like as if they were tied by blood. The colors in the film was more prominent than I expected with each gang's "colors" really making a presence. Laszlo and Hill doesn't break any new ground with the film's photography but they did a great job in having the audience be sucked in and give the film's setting a personality of it's own.
The film's score was handled by Barry De Vorzon, who has also worked on films including Rolling Thunder and The Ninth Configuration. His score for The Warriors was very electronic but it brings in elements of punk and industrial, to suit the film's tone and setting. I really enjoyed his work on this film, and with each time I see this film, the more memorable the film's score becomes. Along with the film's score comes an excellent soundtrack with great hits like "Nowhere To Run" and "In The City". Songs like these give the film more shades and layers, rather than just completely rely on the edgy score by Vorzon.
The film's acting was not spectacular by any means but it was decent for what it was. The ones that stood out were Michael Beck, James Remar, Brian Tyler, Roger Hill, and Deborah Van Valkenburgh. They were really fun to watch and they seem to take their roles more seriously than others. The rest of the cast were fitting for the role due more for their appearance but they still brought some decent acting to the table. There were a couple of moment during my first few viewings, where I felt the actors were incredibly campy and cringe-worthy but that feeling seems to die down with each viewing.
The Warriors is an example of a cult film that delivers more than just what is shown on the surface. If one puts any effort in trying to dissect the film and see the beauty it has to offer underneath, then this film can be very rewarding. I understand the gripes that some people have with this film, and I don't expect repeated viewings would change their opinion of that. But I strongly recommend for the people who haven't seen this film to at least give it the effort it deserves.
p.s i watched the directors cut which differed from the original with some cool comic book transitions.
The blueprint for movies like Sin City!
Tight, visual, and epic storytelling. Watch the original if you can - the new release has some corny presentation style scene transitions.