Dub Cee Reviews: The Warriors (1979)
Director: Walter Hill
Writer(s): Sol Yurick (novel), David Shaber (screenplay), Walter Hill (screenplay)
Sometimes the opening of a movie can make or break my designs on watching it. For example, I recently tried watching Kalifornia. While Brad Pitt was interesting, David Duchovony was bland and Juliette Lewis annoyed the piss outta me in about 15 minutes. I never finished the movie and finally just sent it back to Netflix. The opening of The Warriors is well done. Within the first 2 minutes we are introduced to some of the principal characters and we learn of the reason the events of the movie will be taking place. Three main ideas are introduced here.
1. The Truce – WE learn all the gangs in quite old New York have a truce. Not an alliance but just a truce. The reason for the gathering is that Cyrus, leader of the Gramercy Riffs, hands down the most powerful of the gangs, has proposed and alliance. 9 members of each gang will meet in Van Cortlandt Park. The Warriors travel to the meeting via El train from Coney Island.
2. Cyrus is respected and revered rather than just feared but the other gangs. I couldn’t help but compare him to the legend of Pontiac. Pontiac was on the verge of merging all the Native American tribes into one true nation with him as its leader. He was killed under the flag of truce, as Cyrus is.
3. We also see that each gang has its own gimmick. I don’t just mean matching colors or slanted hats. I mean Running Man Stalkers, WWE, gimmicks. The most iconic being The Baseball Furies, who all wield bats and wear pinstriped baseball uniforms.
The story is fairly simple. Cyrus, as I stated early, is murdered during the meeting. The Warriors flee as the cops swarm but unknown to them they are accused of killing Cyrus thus breaking the truce. So now, unknown to them, literally every gangbanger in NYC wants them dead. Of course they cannot go to the cops because, well, ya know, they are a gang themselves. Some of the members make some stupid choices, like trying to “make it” with a girl on a park bench with all these guys chasing them. Again, at this point they do not know they have been accused of the murder.
Oh shit, I forgot, the man accusing them is a Coney Island rival named Luther played by… DAVID PATRICK KELLY! He gets the infamous line, “Warriors…come out and pla-ay!” Points!
While I am thinking of it, be sure to take note of Lynne Thigpen (Where In the World Is Carmen Sandiego) as the DJ. And no, the guy playing the hothead Ajax is NOT the same actor who is the boss on Monk. Trust me, I already checked.
Overall, while I understand why this movie is considered a classic, I thought it was rather boring. Part of the problem is the story has been done to death. From Running Man (which I have previously reviewed), to Judgement Night (which I am reviewing next) to Hard Target (decent Van Damm flick) to Surviving the Game (my personal favorite of the human prey style movies). Maybe The Warriors was the first to do this? I am not a film historian but seeing as how it was released in 1979 I highly doubt it.
Grade: C+ (due to the casting of David Patrick Kelly….worth one full notch of a grade.)