Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Bronx Warriors (1982)

Though the title refers to Walter Hills The Warriors, and the concept of theme-gangs are there, The Bronx Warriors more resembles Escape from New York, but still manages to stay on its own feet. Gone is the Snake Plissken-character that probably would have been annoying being ripped off by any other actors, and instead we have Mark Gregory, better than people say, and a good collection of characters actors like Vic Morrow, Christopher Connelly, Fred Williamson, Luigi Montefiori, Joshua Sinclair and of course the ever present in Enzo G. Castellari's productions, his brother Ennio Girolami.

Here we have the daughter of some corporate leader running away from her school to find freedom in the sealed area of The Bronx. It's ruled by a couple of gangs, where The Riders, controlled by baby-faced leader Trash (Mark Gregory) is the biggest and toughest. But there's also The Ogre (Fred Williamson) and his bunch of dandys, a cabaret-style dance-gang, some violent underground dwellers and so on. Yes, sorry, almost forgot, the murderous gang of rollerskating killers with Luigi Montefiori as the boss!

Not surprising, the young woman wants to stay there and falls in love with Trash. But of course this has to be stopped, and the corporate leader (played by Ennio Girolami - his assistant is Enzo himself by the way!) is sending in his best man, Hammer (Vic Morrow) - a hired killer that stops for no one!

This could have been so crappy. The budget is obviously very, very low, but with the master Castellari behind the camera and his faithful Rocco Lerro and team in front as stuntmen, this becomes a very good little movie. Sure, you'll have to look beyond some of the sillier props, cheap clothes and The Bronx in the background, obviously living it's normal daily life (in one scene we can see kids playing basket in the background) without caring about these weird Italianos doing their business in the backyard. But Castellaris direction is excellent, one of the best jobs he did during this area - I personally think some of his more "normal" action movies during this period felt a bit unpersonal and stuff - but here he makes the screen come alive with a lot of stylish shots, the use of Sergio Salvati fantastic cinematography and Walter Rizzati's Goblin-style score.

It's more violent and graphic than I could remember, maybe I've only seen a cut version on VHS before, with juicy big squibs, a nice decapitation, lots of stabbings, fighting and mayhem. Everything is turned up to the max in the even better sequel, but this is still one helluva good movie. Mark Gregory is chapter for himself. First of all, I can't agree he's a bad actor. He's a little bit stiff, but remember this was his first part and he wasn't an experienced or trained actor. He's a bit uneven in the drama and dialogue (and to be fair, the dub voice they given him make him sound a bit... stupid), but he shines in the action and is convincing beating the hell out of people.

I'm not sure where I heard it, but Mark Gregory was (or is? no one seem to know where he is or if he's even alive and well) was gay, and because of his inexperience with acting this makes him not so convincing when it comes to women. Really, I get that feeling. But what's make this interesting is the scene where one of his men dies, killed by the evil Ice (Joshua Sinclair), he gives it all when it comes to emotions and closeness and it's obvious he invested a lot more in this scene than later when one of the women dies and he's in the exactly same situation. Well well, it might be unimportant for most of you out there, but my gaydar really reacts to both Marco Di Gregorio and the relationships he has in this movie.

And did I mention he has the tightest jeans ever in movie history? He can't hardly move around in them! Walks like someone with a buttplug up his ass! Sorry for being a bit rude, but jeans of that kind does that to a man. At least it shows his well-trained ass, which could be fun for those who appreciate it.

Anyway, The Bronx Warriors still holds up very well compared to a lot of other similar movies from those glory days of Italian genre cinema. The Shameless DVD looks stunning is recommended to 100 %.


CiNEZiLLA said...

I Love that you mention Gregory's "buttplug" stance, it's one of the few flaws that this movie has - and also that you pick up that vibe on the old gaydar. I don't know where I heard it - possibly a commentary track somewhere or in some book - but the bikers apparantly gave him a hard time for that walk of his.

Great review and a smashing movie!

Alex B. said...

I wouln't say budget was that low.
It felt like an average Italian ripoff movie, probably shot for about $400 000. I like this movie a lot. And Mark Gragory is awesome in a queer way.
In some of the slow-motion fight scenes it is very obvious that punches miss the target. Still, a lot of fun.

pseudo-autor said...

I'm searching that movie here in Brazil for more than 10 years. I love Enzo Castellari Movies and say Warriors, from Walter Hill, but do not had the chance to watch this, unfortunately. But i'm in the road looking for him.

Culture? The place is here:

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Jack J said...

You've been looking for "The Bronx Warriors" for 10 years and still haven't found it. Huh? Dude, there's several DVD releases! Shriek Show put it out on Reg. 1 DVD in 2004! It's available for less than $20 on It's all over eBay. Just go for it.

Aaron King said...

Wasn't as much fun as I thought it would be, but maybe I'll give it another shot. Would like to check out the sequel too.

Jack J said...

I finally received my box yesterday. Ahh. It certainly looks nice!! xD.