Lion of the Blogosphere

The Warriors vs. Elysium

No, this isn’t a post about what would happen if the gang from The Warriors got into a fight with Max from Elysium. Max would obviously kick their ass because he would be aided by his exoskeleton implants.

Very strangely, Elysium has a quite a lot in common with The Warriors, a gang movie from 1979. They are both campy action movies, and like Elysium, The Warriors has just the right amount of campiness so that it doesn’t become too stupid. Elysium takes place in a dystopian future, while The Warriors takes place in a dystopian past (some think that The Warriors actually takes place in a New York City in the future relative to 1979, but I didn’t see that in the movie).

Both movies have an unusually interesting backstory for a campy action movie. The Warriors starts out at a gathering of the gangs, supposedly taking place in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx (although that scene was actually filmed in Riverside Park in Manhattan). This guy Cyrus, who is trying to position himself as the leader of all gangs in New York City, gives a compelling speech urging the gangs to unite so they can run the city. And that gets one thinking. What would happen if the gangs got together in real life and decided they should run the city instead of the cops? The answer is that this wouldn’t happen in real life because the kind of people who are members of real-world gangs lack the cooperation and future-time-orientation required to run the city. And even in the movie, we are shown that it’s impossible, because Cyrus is assassinated. Our heroes, The Warriors, are set up to appear as if they murdered Cyrus, and thus every other gang in the city is after them and they have to make their way back to their home turf of Coney Island using the subway system.

Although I am as much a fan of science fiction as any nerd out there, I much prefer the fist-fights of the Warriors to the fights with high-tech future weaponry in Elysium. I like the atmosphere of a movie filmed entirely in New York City in the 1970s over a CGI-created future. The Baseball Furies are a much more entertaining adversary than the gang of South African mercenaries in Elysium. And The Baseball Furies manage to just skirt the correct side of the boundary between campiness and utter stupidity. I enjoyed the big fight in the men’s room at the Union Square subway station a lot more than the big fight in the space station. Simpler is sometimes a lot better.

If you rent The Warriors from Netflix, you will get the new director’s cut Blu Ray version. I was amazed at what a great job they did cleaning up what most have been old grainy film, because it appears nearly as sharp on a high-definition TV as a modern movie. Dystopian New York City circa 1979 has been brought back to life!

After watching and enjoying the movie, I learned that there is a great deal of controversy about what was removed and added to the movie for the new director’s cut. In retrospect, I can understand why people who enjoyed the original film are miffed, but not knowing what I was missing I didn’t miss anything.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 18, 2013 at 6:48 PM

Posted in Movies

15 Responses

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  1. The Warriors was reviewd by Siskel and Ebert on the first Sneak Previews I ever saw (it became a weekly series in 1979). One of them made the point, that any city with interracial street gangs can’t have too many problems.

    WmarkW

    August 18, 2013 at 7:06 PM

    • I should have thought to add to the above, that such an incongruity wouldn’t be nearly so noticeable today, when films do absolutely anything to diversify their casts. Like the submarine film U-571, that sends a black cook out on a sub patrol, and then adds him to the raiding party that boards and captures the U-boat.

      WmarkW

      August 18, 2013 at 7:15 PM

      • Not even close to Das Boot.

        Fritz

        August 18, 2013 at 11:04 PM

  2. You might be interested in The Wanderers which was made in 1979 and filmed in the Bronx. The actual movie takes place in 1963.

    Vic

    August 18, 2013 at 7:40 PM

  3. The Warriors is a very loose retelling of Xenophon’s Anabasis. Hence the gang leader named Cyrus and the desperate retreat across enemy territory toward safety.

    Sikandar

    August 18, 2013 at 7:43 PM

  4. Only two of the gangs featured in The Warriors were clearly interracial: the title gang of course, and the Turnbull AC skinheads. Three of the featured gangs were mostly or entirely white: the “bad” gang the Rogues, the wimpy gang the Orphans, and (possibly) the costumed Baseball Furies. The toughest gang, the Riffs, looked to be all black.

    Warriors filming locations today: http://www.scoutingny.com/?p=6629

    Peter

    ironrailsironweights

    August 18, 2013 at 7:47 PM

  5. It is strange how people have strong opinions about certain movies and want to argue about slightly different versions. I can never have an opinion on something like this because I never watch a movie a second time, no matter how much I like it, unless 5+ years has elapsed.

    As for Netflix, you might want to save some money and start using torrents instead. I am constantly amazed that 100% of the time that I want to watch an obscure movie I read about on the Internet somewhere that it is easily found online. For example, I really enjoyed The Battle of Algiers, which is quite relevant today given the current Middle East instability. It is also nice to look back to the last few years of the French being ruthless and powerful.

    Zoink

    August 18, 2013 at 8:33 PM

  6. Completely off topic, but you might be interested in this:

    Even George W. Bush Has Heart Disease | JayMan’s Blog

    JayMan

    August 18, 2013 at 8:47 PM

  7. I spent my teenage years just a couple of blocks from Van Cortlandt Park, and went to Bronx Science with Richard Price, author of “The Wanderers”.

    I was living in the Twin Cities area in 1979 and saw The Warriors with my then girlfriend who wondered why none of the gang members sounded like me in terms of accent. Very strange.

    sestamibi

    August 18, 2013 at 10:28 PM

  8. Campy.

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    Robert the Wise

    August 19, 2013 at 6:36 AM

    • I think it means what Wikipedia says it means, “Camp is an aesthetic sensibility that regards something as appealing or humorous because of its ridiculousness to the viewer.”

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      August 19, 2013 at 7:11 AM

  9. ” What would happen if the gangs got together in real life and decided they should run the city instead of the cops?” ——————— Detroit?

    Curle

    August 19, 2013 at 7:40 AM

  10. I saw The Warriors many moons ago at the drive in, so I guess that’s dating myself. But even then I saw the movie as a fantasy, not really moored on real gangs in a real New York. It had the air of a fantasy situation in a city that only seemed to exist as a backdrop to the action, so I don’t think you could draw any real conclusions from this.

    Mike

    August 19, 2013 at 11:01 AM

  11. Oh Li—-EEEEE—yon … come out to pla-EEEEE–ay …

    Sheila Tone

    August 21, 2013 at 2:41 AM


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