At a gathering of all the gangs of New York City, the messianic leader proposing a unification of all the organizations is gunned down, and the Warriors are unjustly accused. They must make their way from the Bronx to Coney Island with every gang in the city out for their blood.
Set in a vaguely defined near future, this is a cracker of an action flick, one that has lost none of its pace and excitement over the years. The different gangs are all wonderfully realized and bizarre, an… one senses that if the Warriors were to cross the Atlantic, they would be face-to-face with Alex and his droogs from A Clockwork Orange. This is also the “Ultimate Director’s Cut.” This doesn’t mean any new scenes. Instead, Walter Hill has added a pre-credit animated sequence tying the events to Ancient Greek history (complete with embarrassing grammar error), and a bunch of comic book-style transitions. I’m not convinced the movie benefits from either of these additions. Hill should trust both his audience and his movie. None of this, however, diminishes the roaring fun of the flick.
For a smallish budget movie from 1979, the 5.1 sound is quite impresesive. The music sounds terrific, and gets the pulse pounding from the word go. The environmental effects are pretty good too, with some nice placement. One isn’t completely enveloped by the sound, and there is a bit of dialogue buzz, but the track more than gets the job done, and is a massive improvement over the previous DVD release’s mono.
The picture is a treat. The colours and contrasts are very strong, with equally fine blacks and flesh tones. The print has hardly aged a day, and there is no visible grain or edge enhancement. Crisp and sharp, the movie is a wonderful piece of eye candy.
In his introduction to the film, Walter Hill expresses his dislike of commentary tracks, so don’t expect one here. There are, however, four featurettes (“The Beginning,” “Battleground,” “The Way Home,” and “The Phenomenon”) that together add up to over an hour’s worth of retrospective interviews with cast and crew about the making of the film. Other than that, there’s a trailer. The menu’s main screen, intro and transitions are animated and scored.
I have mixed feelings about Hill’s tweaking of his film, but the movie and the release are still very much recommended.
Special Features List
- Making-of Featurettes
- Theatrical Trailer
- Introduction by Walter Hill