Monday, February 16, 2009

Guilty Pleasure Cinema - The Warriors

This was another of the movies that were very popular when videos first became popular and thus were watched by me and my friends a thousand times. Watching it today I find it stands up amazingly well. After 30 years and its own video game, action figures and comic book series it has definately cemented its place in pop culture. Directed by Walter Hill in 1979 its like a live action gang comic book with each of our 'tribes' having a unique look and point of view. How many Halloweens have we seen a group of buddies dressed as the New York Baseball Furies. For those of you who have been living under a rock the story is simple. Cirus, the leader of the largest gang in New York City has declared a gang truce and invited all the gangs to send representatives to a meeting where he will unveil his plan to take over the city. The Warriors under their leader, Cleon go to this meeting but when Cirus is killed by an assassins bullet, the Warriors are accused of the crime and have to "bop" their way back across the city to their turf of Coney Island and the Atlantic Ocean. In their way are all the gangs who have been alerted to their 'crime' by the largest gang - the Gramercy Riffs. With its low budget grit and realistic fight scenes it was a pared down adventure story with a simple premise - just get home to Coney Island. The director was smart to give each of the warriors (and the gangs they encounter) distinct personalities and motivations. You get caught up in rooting for them to succeed while despising the small timers who originally put the target on the back of the Warrior, forcing them to run the gauntlet in the first place. This leads to a very satisfying ending and perhaps the best song - In the City - that Joe Walsh ever put out. The ending is also bittersweet because although the Warriors survived, they are back where they started from which is nowhere. You get the feeling they are better than the gang life they have been living because we have seen their honor, loyalty and bravery.


Ben Varkentine said...

I don't even feel slightly guilty about likeing that's got such style.

Anonymous said...

Warriors... come out to plaaaay. Cal you dog. That brings back memories of hanging in Joe's weird little video room with a VCR the size of a microwave and a TV that was slightly smaller. You do need to be corrected though. Joe Walsh's best song was Funk #49. He played it while sitting in for Howard Stern and it reminded me of how cool that song really is.