Friday, June 4, 2010

Escape from the Bronx (1983)

Like the first movie Escape from the Bronx uses a title that is actually a bit misleading. It makes you feel it's mostly a rip-off on Escape from New York (which the story of the first movie resembles, but not the title), but it's not. The title could be "We're not gonna escape from the Bronx" or "Let's stay in the Bronx" instead. But that don't stop this movie from being one fantastic, awesome, ultra-violent Italian action-explosion! Sure, it lacks the stylish cinematography by Stelvio Salvati, and the script is more an excuse for making Rocco Lerro and his crew to work extra much! The concept-gangs is more less gone, though some of them shows up during the finale, and Mark Gregory is a lot more relaxed in the lead - and also got clothes one or two sizes bigger.

This time the evil company that owns the Bronx-property wants to tear everything down, move the people to Mexico and build a new luxury city on top of the Bronx-ashes. This is not a popular decision, and it's even less popular because of the tactics he uses to get the people out from there. He sends in termination-groups, lead by the sadistic Floyd Wrangler (Henry Silva) who let his men murder everyone in sight. Trash and his gang of cool misfits decides to hit back!

There's even less story in this sequel, and it both looks more expensive and cheaper in the same time. How that works, I have no idea. But the scenes feels more rushed, but still are so god damn filled with violence, action, explosions and some gore that it makes the first movie look like sissy-movie Terminator Salvation in comparison. The Castellari-trademark of slow-motion is everywhere, and very spectacular. He also incorporates stuntmen and sometimes dummys in the explosions, which makes it looks a lot more dangerous than the usual "lonely explosion far away from people on some deserted parking lot"-style. Even if you see it's dummys being blown to pieces, it's perfectly alright, because it's the thought that counts in the end. To make it even better there's also a couple of miniatures being destroyed in the beginning!

Escape from the Bronx boasts a marvelous cast lead by a relaxed and much more focused Mark Gregory. Henry Silva is of course one of the best bad guys in the world, and even Ennio Girolami gets more to do this time. Giancarlo Prete, Paolo Malco, Antonio Sabato, Massimo Vanni and Enzo G. Castellari in his usual cameo. Ah, and don't forget Romano Puppo in a small part as the father of Trash! The small army of stuntmen works hard and according to some sources 174 people are killed in this movie. The style of action and sometimes locations makes it similar to another favorite, Death Wish 3 - and though they are different in style and story, they could be a great double feature.

The look is flatter and the style is more trashy and, some might say, sloppy. But for me this is one of the best futuristic action-flicks ever from Italy. I could even say that this movie is the reason, since I first saw it in my early teens, why I'm interested in rundown buildings, deserted places and concrete-romanticism. The DVD from Shameless is a composite of different prints, and is far from perfect. But it's still, what I know, the most compelete version of this classic out there.

Escape from the Bronx is just the movie you need in your collection of trashy eighties action.


lizzardking said...

Don´t forget the Region 4 release is also intact and uncut. Maybe a little harder to find but well worth the effort.

David A. Zuzelo said...

This movie is the one I prefer actually, it is just all out fun. PLUS, I love that Trash's family has a life size poster of him on their wall. I WANT THAT POSTER!!
The slo mo helmet visor smashing is a classic as well. What a film...I love the Bronx!