Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Warriors

Year 8, Day 93 - 4/2/16 - Movie #2,293

BEFORE: This is another one of those "cult" films that I've been aware of for many years but never took the time to watch - sort of like "Repo Man" or "Eraserhead", something that seems like it's been seen by all the film geeks out there and has built up something of a reputation.  Since I'm having a going-out-of-business sale, or trying to, it's high time to get to films like this.  Trouble is, it's very difficult to link to - but not impossible.  It took me months to find a link, and it comes via David Patrick Kelly, who played the "cleaner" in "John Wick" last night.  I'm familiar with Kelly because he played Jerry Horne in another cult classic, "Twin Peaks", but he really became famous before that, for saying the most notable line of this dialogue from this film: "Warriors, come out and pla-ay!"

THE PLOT:  A charismatic leader summons the street gangs of New York City in a bid to take it over. When he is killed, The Warriors are falsely blamed and must fight their way home while every other gang is hunting them down.

AFTER: I don't do nearly enough political material here at the Movie Year - oh, sure, I watched "The American President" and "The Contender" as part of the proceedings, but that's not saying much.  I also intentionally abstained from the last election because I live in a state whose outcome seemed predetermined, and I was keenly aware how little impact my one vote would have.  But this election year seems different, nothing seems pre-determined on either side of the aisle, there are two Democratic contenders running nearly even, and Republicans are talking about a fractured convention.  And once again, I predict there will be uproar over the fact that convention delegates AND electoral college delegates are not bound AT ALL to vote the way the public has directed them to.  It's a strange little quirk that means that, quite literally, anything can happen.  Somewhere, right now, someone's developing a film about a dog becoming President.  (Hmm, there's nothing here in the Constitution that says a dog CAN'T be President...)  

So, since this election could go down to the wire, it's time I addressed the political stuff.  I've moved the Robin Williams comedy "Man of the Year" up on the schedule, because I think that could have some relevance.  I'm making plans to see this documentary "The Brainwashing of My Dad", which is directed by a friend of mine, with animation from a boss of mine, and I'm recommending it to others - it's all about how the right-wing media has used its influence and a bunch of half-truths to change the minds of older voters.  I'd watch and review it now, but there's a natural slot for it in about a month and a half, and then it won't affect my linking or my count.  

But let's talk about "The Warriors" with regards to politics.  If you're a Sanders Democrat, this film is all about the 99% of street gangs coming together, and realizing that if they're united, they vastly outnumber the 1% of the police who control everything.  Each NYC street gang is only 10 or 12 guys, but if they could get themselves organized, work out some kind of system, they'd be unstoppable with regards to the redistribution of wealth and "turf".  

If you're a Republican, you can get an advance look here at what this year's National Convention is going to be like, especially if handguns are allowed on site, a topic now being debated.  SPOILER ALERT: Yeah, that doesn't end well.  Because what's to prevent one yahoo (and that's all it takes) from firing at the podium and taking out the nominee, plunging the whole system into chaos?  Wait, I mean, maintaining the whole system into chaos.   We've already seen that anti-Trump protestors can get into Trump rallies, if you throw guns into the mix, well, you reap what you sow.  By all means, let one gun nut with bad (or good) intentions change the course of history, see if I care. 

Now, with that out of the way, "The Warriors" is a rather simple film - I think by adding in some political relevance I've giving it twice the credence it deserves.  It's just about 7 gang members who need to get across NYC by subway without getting killed, but don't 7 million people do that on a daily basis?  What's the big deal?  How is this different from any of a thousand other "quest" movies, like, most recently for me, "London Has Fallen" (trying to get the President across town to the embassy) or "Tammy" or "Dumb and Dumber To"?  

The other film that came to mind was "O Brother, Where Art Thou?", especially when some of the Warriors are enticed by the all-female gang, the Lizzies, to go back to their crib for a make-out session. This called to mind the Sirens from that Coen Brothers film, which of course is a reference to Greek mythology, the women who would tempt the warriors, using seduction to interfere with their quest or their journey home - but that would place "The Warriors" on a level with "The Odyssey", but I'm not prepared to do that just yet.  Maybe it's somewhat inevitable now that I've noticed the connection.  

So the story is simple, the acting is horrible, the only other thing of value here is a look back at New York City in 1979 - a time when average citizens were at the mercy of colorfully costumed gangs of characters who would shake them down for money.  Holy crap, that's just like Times Square today!  Seriously, someone took a look around at the gang colors at the time (red and blue, I believe) and expanded on that - there are 21 gangs in this film, including the Orphans (dull green), the Hi-Hats (they dress like mimes), the Boppers (purple vests + fedoras), the Baseball Furies (face-paint and Yankees uniforms) and the Punks (overalls and roller skates).  A full breakdown of the gangs is available on Wikipedia, I'm sure the fans of this film know the outfits by heart.  

As with several other "cult" films, I'm struggling to see the appeal.  But now I really want to play some "Grand Theft Auto" - but I can't today because I've got to get our taxes done.

Also starring Michael Beck, James Remar (last seen in "Judge Dredd"), Dorsey Wright, Brian Tyler, David Harris (last seen in "Brubaker"), Tom McKitterick, Marcelino Sanchez, Terry Michos, Deborah Van Valkenburgh, Roger Hill, Lynne Thigpen (last seen in "Hello Again"), with a cameo from Mercedes Ruehl.  

RATING: 4 out of 10 Molotov cocktails


  1. I just recently rewatched this film (after seeing parts of it repeatedly on cable when I was a kid, and having thought I had seen the whole film), and they had altered the version I watched to add comic panels to each new scene, which I think added nothing to the film.

    I was surprised that you referenced Lynne Thigpen as being in another film, as I only knew of her as the Chief in the TV game show "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego".

  2. Yeah, I read about the version that the director made years later, with the comic-book style graphics. It's what he wanted to do at first, but didn't have the budget for.

    I'm aware of most character actors, the people who make you say, "Hey, it's that guy!", umm, or gal. Lynne Thigpen is definitely one, if you look her up you'll see she appeared in quite a few films, while she was alive.

    Some character actors have longer resumes than big stars, I'm always shocked when I look up Tom Cruise or Julia Roberts, and see that they've made 45 or 50 films, while a great character actor can have a filmography of several hundred appearances.