Blu-Ray Review: 1990: THE BRONX WARRIORS
Blue Underground presents 1990: The Bronx Warriors via a Blu-Ray/DVD Combo set on June 30, 2015 and we got our review for you, right here.
1990: The Bronx Warriors is an Italian mash-up of John Carpenter’s Escape from New York and Walter Hill’s The Warriors, as probably evident from the title (Escape from New York was called 1997: Escape from New York in Italy). The Bronx is labelled as “No Man’s Land”, where law & order is vacant and the borough is run by gangs that have their own territories – much like the gangs in The Warriors. Our main gang is “The Riders” which is a motorcycle club (that features real Hell’s Angels) lead by Trash (played by Mark Gregory) who believe that a war is about to begin with other gangs. What they don’t know is the Manhattan Corporation is planting a man named Hammer (played by Vic Morrow) who is setting up the gangs to go against each other as well as possibly using gang members in The Riders to use as pawns to cause the gangs to self destruct.
The plot is simple and honestly, the movie caters to those who never wanted The Warriors to end. While Mark Gregory, who was 17 at the time, isn’t very convincing as a leader, it’s clear to see why director Enzo Castellari picked him. He is eye candy on a low budget. The film has an idea that is a bit bigger than what it can handle production wise, but that is the fact with a lot of Italian exploitation films. What makes 1990: The Bronx Warriors worth your time is that the fundamentals & character building is just enough to carry the film. Fred Williamson, who plays Ogre and is in charge of the gang, The Riders, and Vic Morrow are great to watch and elevate the film above mediocrity on the acting spectrum. All the other actors are fine in their roles, with Mark Gregory being so bad that it is so entertaining to watch. Seriously, his strut/walk is a highlight. This film is also the last film that Morrow successfully completed prior to his last film he appeared in which was Twilight Zone: The Movie. Again, the film is high concept and that alone makes the film more interesting than it has any right to be. Also, Castellari is a director that takes his craft seriously and it shows. Some of his slow-motion shots are entrancing to look at, unlike the sequel, Escape From the Bronx (read the Blu-Ray review). Yes, the film looks towards The Warriors for inspiration and some of its story lines, like when Trash and a couple of members need to go through enemy territories, but it is so damn entertaining and doesn’t necessarily feel like it exists just to capitalize the success of the film that it is borrowing some of the concepts from.
1990: The Bronx Warriors is a great watch that is definitely worth a genre fan’s time.
Blue Underground presents 1990: The Bronx Warriors on a BD25 disc. Film grain is apparent and definitely more visible in daylight scenes. There is some shots where there seems to be slight obstructions, like dust, that is apparent in the upper right corner – specifically, the scene where Ogre meets up with Golan (George Eastman) towards the finale of the film. However, this isn’t a result of the transfer, this simply looks like dust/dirt got stuck int he gate of the film cameras while filming. Also, it seems the scan is a bit noiser than usual. Since this was scanned from the original negative, it is possible that it was scanned at LVR Digital – whom did a lot of Italian digital scans – back when they had an issue on some of their 2K scans. If you look at the images below (feel free to click on them individually to see the full resolution), you will see the digital noise. It seems apparent to the naked eye when shots are in a softer focus.
All images in this post are pulled from the Blu-Ray
In this shot, you can see the digital noise is very apparent on the edges of the hockey sticks of the Zombies gang.
In this shot, since the light is sparse, the digital noise combined with the grain makes this scene extra speckley.
The audio is presented in DTS-HD Mono and sounds great with levels being pretty evenly distributed. It’s not an outstanding soundtrack but it really doesn’t need to be.
Audio Commentary with director Enzo G. Castellari, his son Andrea Girolami and moderator David Gregory – Castellari talks about the film with the help of his son, who was 12 at the time and shares his recollections as well, and with moderator David Gregory. Castellari provides a lot of behind the scenes information on the film. Gregory does his best to keep Castellari on track sometimes, but sometimes he is defeated in favor of another story that Castellari finds interesting. A funny thing that Castellari likes to do in the beginning of the track is point out scenes that have shots that alternate between shooting in The Bronx and back in Rome. It’s worth a listen for fans of the film.
Enzo G. Castellari & Fabrizio De Angelis In Conversation Part 1 (14:09, HD) – The conversation starts off with De Angelis & Castellari talking about how Castellari turned down Zombi 2 because Castellari didn’t really care for the horror genre and, based off of De Angelis’ account, it was a sequel (Zombi was Dawn of the Dead in Italy). The rapport between these two is great to watch as a fan. They also talk about how the Hell’s Angels helped with the filming (the President of the New York chapter is in the film) as well as handling some of the “tension” filming in the Bronx. This featurette is in Italian with English subtitles.
Sourcing the Weaponry – Enzo G. Castellari Visits the Italian Weapons Rental House of Paolo Ricci (11:55, HD) – A tour of Ricci’s warehouse where he shows off some of the weapons used in the film. Castellari shows that he geniunely loves films and he gets a kid-like glee from film and special effects in general. The majority of this conversation is in Italian with English subtitles.
Adventures in the Bronx – Interview with Actor/Stuntman Massimo Vanni (7:20, HD) – Italian with English subtitles
Rounding out the Special Features is a International Trailer & a Italian Trailer of 1990: The Bronx Warriors in addition to a Escape from the Bronx Trailer & the trailer for The New Barbarians Trailer.
1990: The Bronx Warriors Blu-Ray/DVD Combo by Blue Underground NEEDS to be in the collection of any fans of Italian cinema and for anyone who loves Walter Hill’s The Warriors – which better be everyone reading this.
Great package for a fun Italian rip-off film
The digital noise from the transfer