Tuesday, April 18, 2023

1990: The Bronx Warriors

Escape from the New York Road Warriors

Post-apocalyptic gang warfare in the future!

1990. The Bronx is officially declared "no man's land." The authorities give up all attempts to restore law and order. From then on, the area is ruled by the riders.

And with that introduction we are whisked away to the futuristic year of 1990 by way of the year 1982, and to the exotic world of New York City by way of (and I am not making this up) Italy! Tonight we're taking a look at "1990: The Bronx Warriors" (Deaf International Film s.r.l., 1982).

What's it about?

17 year old Ann (Stefania Girolami Goodwin) is on the run.

Just to be clear: She's a lead, and she has like six lines of dialogue in the entire film.

As her 18th birthday approaches, she's set to inherit The Manhattan Corporation, a cabal of powerful international arms suppliers. Not wanting any part of it, she runs away to the only place in New York where the police have given up authority, the Bronx. Immediately assaulted by a gang of roller-skating kickboxing street hockey players (again, not making this up) called "The Zombies," she is rescued by "The Riders" and their leader, Trash (Mark Gregory), who takes her in.
I swear every one of his (badly) dubbed lines had me in tears.

This causes friction between Trash and his general, Ice (Joshua Sinclair) as they find one of their members impaled by a rival gang, "The Tigers" led by the crime lord The Ogre (Fred Williamson).
"SOMEONE had to class this film up!"

The Ogre informs Trash that their guy was wearing "a gizmo" (AKA a tracking device for the police). Ann pieces together that the recent influx of spies and police into the Bronx is caused by the Manhattan Corporation trying to reacquire her for their nefarious purposes. A mailman suddenly turns up in The Riders' headquarters, where he kills several gang members, leaving behind a ring belonging to The Tigers, trying to pit both gangs against each other. This evil mailman turns out to be Hammer (Vic Morrow), a cop in the employ of the Manhattan Corporation who grew up in the Bronx and who is now obsessed with destroying it.
A waste of talent for some, a paycheck for others.

In this pursuit, he employs Hot Dog (Christopher Connelly), a truck driver who lives outside of the gangs, and entices Ice to betray Trash.
I'm not entirely sure what this character was for, other than CB radio awareness.

As Ann is kidnapped by The Zombies, Trash must cross the Bronx, seeking safe travel and aid from the rival gangs in an effort to rescue her and to save the city from the nefarious Manhattan Corporation!
"Don't worry, we'll stop Trash with the power of roller skates!"


If you’ve ever seen the groundbreaking 1979 action film, "The Warriors," congratulations: You are just as qualified to write a movie as this production team. If you haven't, that film was about a street gang accused of a crime they didn't commit trying to make their way back to their home turf, while evading and fighting rival gangs along the way. It's exciting, it's brutal, and it's actually a pretty great film. This movie is like a pale imitation of that one, made by people who didn't understand what made that film so great.

I wonder why they parked in a big "W" for the trailer...

Every good a bad, but every bad a good!

Now, you might be thinking that the entertainment value suffers as a result, but you would be wrong, my friend! This movie was a fantastic watch, mainly because it fails in almost every single thing that it attempts: Remember "The Baseball Furies" gang from "The Warriors?" Well now every gang is "The Baseball Furies," with weird makeup and costumes!

"We are the TAP DANCE FURIES!"

Like fast-paced action scenes? This film delivers, but also some scenes are in slow motion where you can clearly see that the punches aren't connecting.
"Careful, Luigi! You-a almost-a hit-a me!"

Like big rigs and CB radios like everyone else in 1982? Well this movie has an entirely superfluous character who does exactly that!
If you're expecting a high speed motorcycle truck chase, don't.

Don't know how corporations work? Well neither did the filmmakers, so don't even think about it! Like heartfelt scenes where the main hero mourns the loss of a best friend? There's several here -- so much you'll wish that any of the characters had development! Want representation? The Riders motorcycle gang in this film has Italians pretending to be Americans, Italians pretending to be Latino, Italians pretending to be black, and Italians pretending to be Nazis (complete with swastikas and confederate flags) -- truly something for everyone!
"You don't get to be leader of a gang without seven years of dance and two years of tap!"

Looks great! Sounds... Well... There are sounds

The film actually looks pretty good, with great use of lighting and perspective. The sound quality though… This is one of those films where because most of the cast is Italian actors the entire film is dubbed with ADR, meaning NONE of the dialog syncs with the mouths of the actors. All of the sound effects seem to be stock from the time, so there's no real impact to any fight. It lacks any sort of memorable soundtrack opting instead for forgettable synth jazz, which is a shame because it really could have benefitted from some cheesy 80s lyrical music tracks.

Star Power

Fred Williamson (as usual) kicks all kinds of butt in this film, and is probably going to be one of the few actors most people will remember from other things.

He does his own stunts. Well.

The film's other big name is veteran actor Vic Morrow, who seems to be having a great time as "Hammer," chewing the scenery every chance he gets, which is a shame in a way: This is one of his last films before his tragic on-set death during the filming of "Twilight Zone: The Movie" in 1982.

My thoughts

I cannot recommend this movie enough. It's a great time: Action-packed in spots, incredibly bad dialogue and line delivery when it's slow, and absolutely hilarious when it tries to be dramatic.

How many films can brag about horse-mounted flame thrower troops?

Not for kids

This is a strictly rated R film, though, with lots of strong language, some (terribly executed) graphic violence, and white supremacist imagery… Sometimes worn by minority characters. Don't watch it with the kids.

The most disturbing image in the film: This unbelievably unappetizing looking cake.

So violent, this guy gets flame-throwered like, three times!

Where can you see it?

"1990: The Bronx Warriors" is currently streaming on Amazon and is included for free with Amazon Prime.

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