Why I should have seen it already:
“Waaaaarriors… come out to plaaaaaay-aaaye”
Now that I have:
New York isn’t the New York we know. It’s more of a Gotham city where Batman never showed up to keep all the themed gangs in line. Basically, any group of people larger than four in number is instantly considered to be a gang and must come up with a name and motif. The Orphans? They were dirty t-shirts and complain about a lack of respect. The Turnbull AC’s? Shaved heads and they travel in a school bus. Gramercy Riffs? They’re all about sunglasses and silk robes.
Then there’s the Warriors, a smaller gang with a Native American theme.
All the gangs (there are tons) are invited to a huge meeting by the leader of the Gramercy Riffs, Cyrus (Roger Hill). Cyrus wants two things: to unite all the gangs in a war against the police and to say “Can you dig it?” a lot. He is almost ready to achieve the former when he’s shot by Luther (David Patrick Kelly), the leader of the gang The Rogues.
The police show up. Things get crazy as all the gangs attempt to escape. Warriors leader Cleon (Dorsey Wright) seems to keep his cool and goes to investigate his Cyrus’ murder. Luther goes “Uh-uh!” and tells the Riff’s the Warriors are the killers. Cleon gets punched a lot and never seen again.
So the remaining Warriors escape, have a quick squabble over who should be the leader (it’s decided the second in command, Swan (Michael Beck), should), and then realize how difficult their journey back to Coney Island is going to be.
The Riffs put out the word that the Warriors are to be brought to them dead or alive. Since the Riffs are the biggest gang in New York City, all the other crazy gangs seem to take this really seriously. Most of the time the Warriors are running away from the other gangs. Sometimes though, the gangs are made up of ladies and the Warriors are unable to resist their make-outy charms. Then they get shot at.
One of the few fight scenes takes place against The Baseball Furies, who are neon-face-painted baseball players. The two Warriors Ajax (James Remar) and a dude in a cowboy hat who looks way too much like Kevin Nealon (Tom McKitterick) to not mention it fight them off. Also, I wrote this paragraph solely for the purpose of mentioning the Kevin Nealon look alike.
Anyway, The Warriors get separated, find each other, one of them gets thrown into an oncoming train, they give some social commentary, and they meet a feisty street girl (Deborah Gaye Van Valkenburgh) who helps them and they joke about raping her. After all that tom-foolery, they wind up at Coney Island where the Rogues lie in wait for the final battle.
But wait! Just as things were about to get all fisty-kicky the Riffs show up! They know the truth about the Rogues! They give The Warriors the mad props they deserve for surviving the night, apologize for the inconvenience and then swarm on Luther as he screams “Noooo!”.
This was a pretty fun movie, but I really could have used more gang fights. I feel like West Side Story has more punching than The Warriors. Though, even the chase scenes (which are 80 percent of the film) are pretty intense.
Also, the low production costs and ridiculous nature of the film help keep it from feeling dated. The Warriors has the tone and feel of an 80′s action film but visually it could have been made last year.
Luther is a fantastic bad guy. The dude loves being weird and making chaos. He’s The Joker in high school. The scene of him with the empty bottles yelling to the Warriors in his awful sing-song voice is only a taste of what Luther brings to the film. If this movie has a fault, it’s there could have been more Luther yet there wasn’t.
Actually, scratch that. I thought of another fault. Sometimes what the characters are doing doesn’t always make sense besides giving them sometime to do while the plot catches up. For instance, several of the Warriors end up at the Lizzies’ gang house to “party”. Only the youngest member of the Warriors is suspicious of all these women willing to do anything for dudes the rest of the city wants to kill. He, along with you the viewer, know right away it’s a trap. Yet at this point the otherwise competent Warriors are written as dofuses.
Ajax also falls prey to the allure of women. He makes eye contact with one lady and figures he should drop his plans of running for his life and instead try his luck with her. Though, Ajax’s brain seems to be cut into two parts throughout the movie. Since his “be a jerk” part was still recovering from a recent gang fight the “have sex with anything otherwise you’re a homosexual” part must have been dominate at that point of the film.
My complaints are mild ones. The Warriors holds up as a film, and to be honest I probably could re-watch it right now and enjoy the action, adventure, and gang members in overalls and roller skates.