Plot: What’s it about?
On the streets of New York, various street gangs roam the landscape and maintain their rule over their turf. It seems like every area has a street gang that calls the area home, which means sooner or later, these gangs come into conflict with each other. This leads to brutal clashes that can last a long time, which poses a serious threat to both sides in the end. But when the largest and most powerful gang in New York calls a truce, the violence ends for a time and the gangs venture to the Bronx for a massive meeting. This seems like it could signal the end of all the violence, but when one of the leaders is killed, it means the start of some serious revenge. The blame is placed on The Warriors and even though they’re not responsible for the actions, the other gangs are ready to take them down, once and for all. Far from their own turf and with an entire army of gang members after them, can The Warriors ever make it back in one piece?
Fans of street gang cinema can rejoice, as Paramount has issued The Warriors on our beloved format. I am very please to be able to have The Warriors come out and play on DVD, but I think this was a missed window for Paramount, as they’ve done little with the disc. The new transfer is nice, but aside from the trailer, there’s no bonus materials included. I know this is an older film and all, but it is also a popular one, so I was hoping for some sort of value added elements here. Despite the low value present here, the film itself is well worth the trouble and in the end, that’s what really counts, right? This film takes place in a very short amount of time and almost seems like a live action video game, very cool indeed. There’s a lot of street fights and such, but don’t assume there’s no depth, because that would be a mistake. The storyline is very good for this type of film, as are the well rounded characters, which are played in sold form by the cast. The film does seem a little dated after all these years, but it is still a fun movie and one I will add to my personal collection. Due to the bare bones disc, I think a rental will suffice in most cases, but die-hard fans will want to purchase the disc for the new anamorphic transfer.
Although street gang films don’t always possess a visual flair, The Warriors does, thanks to the work of director Walter Hill, cinematographer Andrew Laszlo, and the rest of the crew. The grim, run down urban landscapes are showcased with a sort of dingy beauty here, which reinforces the themes of the film, such as turf and pride. The production design and location work are excellent here, the visuals are complex and very layered, which gives the film’s locations a sense of realism, which is needed here. Hill is able to keep a nice pace here also and that ensures the energy is consistent, but he never forces the issue and rushes things, which gives the movie a solid sense of balance. Other films directed by Hill include Brewster’s Millions, Crossroads, 48 Hours, Red Heat, Supernova, and Trespass. The cast here includes David Patrick Kelly (In Too Deep, The Crow), David Harris (She-Devils On Wheels, Dish Dogs), Mercedes Ruehl (Last Action Hero, Big), James Remar (The Dream Team, What Lies Beneath), Michael Beck (Xanadu), and Lynne Thigpen (The Insider, Blankman).
Video: How does it look?
The Warriors is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. I was expecting a solid, but flawed visual presentation and man, was I ever surprised when I spun the disc. This is a remarkable transfer in all respects, with very little grain and debris present, one of the finest catalog transfers from Paramount I’ve seen. The film’s excellent use of color is presented well here, the hues look rich when they need to, but also natural when that is called for, a nice overall balance here. The flesh tones also look consistent, while the contrast is stark and very well defined. I saw new details I had never seen before, which is a shock, since I’ve seen this many times before. This transfer has a few small flaws, but this by far the finest The Warriors has ever looked on home, kudos to Paramount for an excellent presentation.
Audio: How does it sound?
This disc uses the original mono track, but no real complaints in the end. I think a new surround mix could have upped the audio impact, but it could also throw things out of balance, like some remixes do on mono masters. But this mono track seems to be up to the task, very clean and with minimal signs of distortion or harshness. The vocals shine through with no flaws at all, while the sound effects are as good as you can expect from a mono source. No real problems to report here, this is about as good as mono can get, which is enough in this case. This disc also includes a French mono track and English subtitles, which are always nice to have.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer.