When a gang leader is assassinated, the gang accused of the crime
must fight their way through every other gang in New York City.
The Warriors (1979)
Directed by Walter Hill
Written by David Shaber and Walter Hill
Starring Michael Beck, James Remar, Dorsey Wright,
Brian Tyler, David Harris, Tom McKitterick, Marcelino Sánchez, Terry Michos, Deborah Van Valkenburgh, David Patrick Kelly,
Roger Hill, Lynne Thigpen
Based on the novel by Sol Yurick
I can see why The Warriors has become such an iconic cult film, even if it needs a lot more work. It's a simple enough story with grounded characters and just enough flash to keep it from being too realistic. Its biggest problem is that its over too soon. Amidst the 100 gangs mentioned in the film's beginning, we are introduced to roughly five of them throughout the whole film. With every gang in the city after the Warriors, we should've seen a tirade of vengeful freaks in warpaint running across Union Square. Now that I think about it, The Warriors has an odd John Carpenter feel to it. Maybe that's because of the obvious parallels to Escape from New York.
This film is definitely quintessential late-70's. Its hybrid disco/rock score and some of its cheesiest lines ("Can you dig it!?") constantly remind you of just how dated The Warriors is. It needs something more in order to stay relevant, perhaps some personalities for its characters or a more focused plot. There's a lot about this film that I enjoyed, mostly the whole opening sequence with the meeting of the gangs. It set up a film with a great deal of potential. The costumes were amazing too, with each gang wearing everything you need to know about who they are. In the end, the gang you know next to nothing about is the Warriors themselves. All you know is that they kick ass, which is great, but I'd like to know more.
I don't usually say this, but I think that The Warriors is ripe for the remake treatment. With a modern cast of character actors and a tighter script, this story could really soar. The film is decent, but it's in desperate need of a final polish that it never got. All of the Warriors' gang members blend together and the final conflict is over way too quickly for all the time they spent building it up. The Warriors could use another shot at being an awesome film. Maybe one day, it'll get one.