The Warriors

The film opens on Coney Island at night with a shot of the ‘Wonder Wheel’ Ferris Wheel. Then it cuts to a night train in the distance as the title fades in and then fades out. We pan to follow the train as it pulls into the station. From out of frame steps a black man with a hat that looks like it’s ready for desert warfare. He says, “It’s still on and we’re going…” He goes on to explain that there is a man named Cyrus who is holding a meeting in the Bronx for the gangs. There is a truce and no weapons or muscle are to be brought along. The Warriors board the train to make the long trip from their turf in Coney Island.

Now we start cutting between comic book opening credits to other gangs boarding their trains to short conversations members of the Warriors had with each other before departing. Each conversation reveals more about the meeting while also telling us what we need to know about the guys we’re going to be spending our time with. It all happens in a few minutes showing us the comic book look of the film as well as the nonstop action that will follow.

Cyrus: “Can You Dig It!”

Turns out Cyrus controls the biggest gang in the area, but he has far grander ambitions then to just fight over turf with the other gangs. He begins his speech to the gangs by saying, “Can you count suckers!” Then he quotes some statistics that show if the gangs worked together as one they would outnumber the cops to the point where they could control everything. Unfortunately, Cyrus is assassinated in the middle of his speech and the finger is pointed at the Warriors. Now they have to battle their way back to Coney Island with every gang out for their blood including the real assassins.

An Attack At The Train

Kinetic and fun are the best words that describe this film. Kinetic for the Warriors running for their lives to the wipes that grab us and dump us into the next scene without a moment to catch our breath. Fun because of the concept, but also the crazy gangs they run into like the all-female Lizzies, the lowly Orphans, and the Furies who dress like baseball players and carry bats. All the while we get updates on the Warriors’ progress from a woman on the radio ala the film Vanishing Point.

The Furies

The Orphans

The Lizzies

I stumbled upon this one more than a decade ago some time after midnight. They said it was originally based on an ancient story of an army caught way behind enemy lines that had to fight it’s way back home. Whether that’s true or not, the concept is compelling and the gang implementation makes it timely and beautiful. I highly recommend it.

“Warriors Come Out To Play!”