Friday, August 14, 2009

BMTAA Extra: Cult Movies That Are Awesome#1 The Warriors

"Warriors...come out and play!"

Hey there boys and girls. Now this is a movie I was kind of conflicted with this film because it can be argued that the film I'm about to discuss is not a bad movie.

It can also be argued that it is a bad movie with a great story at it's core and a bunch of raw actors who later prove themselves.

But what is not under dispute is the fact that The Warriors is a film that has achieved a rather decent cult following and should be discussed by someone... so here I am.

The Warriors is about a street gang Warriors and their quest to get home. You see The Warriors are kind of caught up in a sticky situation.

The Warriors along with what appears to be a hundred other gangs. A gang messiah of sorts named Cyrus has brought everyone together in order to become one united gang.

But one of the other gangs called The Rogues decides this isn't a good idea for some reason. They smuggle a gun in and shot Cyrus. The man doing the shooting is Luther played by character actor extraordinaire, David Patrick Kelly (48 hrs, The Crow, Last Man Standing, Commando) and then points the finger at The Warriors for the shooting.

All hell breaks loose.

The gangs go after The Warriors, their leader gets jacked and presumably killed in a vicious manner. The Warriors book it and begin their long journey back to Coney Island. At every turn a new gang or a new problem arises; fire on the subway tracks, gangs come out of the wood work, cops, the whole nine yards.

And the gangs!

The gangs are what makes this movie special. Each gang is unique. They all look a little different, the most well known is the Baseball Furies who are dressed in pseudo Yankees uniforms, face paint and wielding baseball bats but in the opening sequence alone we are introduced to gangs of 70's style pimps, mimes, gangs in fatigues, gangs of guys in biker gear with shaved heads, a weird Asian gang wearing a combination of traditional style Tibetan hats and Chinese military jackets, it's just a rich world of gangs in this film.

The movie introduced us to James Remar (veteran character actor best known today as Dexter's dad on Dexter) and helped to expand the audience of director Walter Hill (48 hrs, Extreme Prejudice, Deadwood) and the classic Joe Walsh/Eagles track In The City which ends the film.

As far as low budget action movies go, this one is truly a gem.

Now for the bad...or not so good depending on your views.

There are two versions of The Warriors out on dvd and both have issues.

An older version of the dvd (still in print) has original theatrical cut of the film but suffers from a not so great picture quality and only the original 2.0 mono soundtrack and no extras at all.

Now an Ultimate Director's Cut was released on dvd a few years ago. It includes a vastly improved picture, sound in a decent 5.1 mix as well as 2.0 and a decent making of extra.

Now the bad.

For this version Walter Hill went in and pulled a little bit of a "Lucas" and inserted some comic book style panels in between certain cuts and edits. According to Walter Hill's very brief introduction to this new version, it's to make the film more like what he originally envisioned.

Now for newer viewers, probably doesn't make much of a difference.

Guys like me, it's a bit annoying. Hill even mentions that he knows some fans won't like it. What makes it more annoying is that considering the space on a dvd, there is no reason why this dvd couldn't have held BOTH versions of the film (Like a few of the dvd versions of Terminator 2 hold both the extended cut and theatrical) other then money.

I'm all for trying new things and if you are a film maker and want to extend or fix a film, by all means go a head, just give me the original while you're at it. Blade Runner is a prime example of how to do it. The set I have has four different versions of the film.

So if you do plan to check this out, just be aware of the differences.

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