The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

1990: I guerrieri del Bronx aka 1990 Bronx Warriors (1982)

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This is a straight up classic. I didn't do the work I should've and looked to see if this was on Netflix sooner. I think it just got lost in the shuffle. Anyway, I got my act together, and here it is. One other note, the DVD I got from the Netflix shipping facility in Portland was almost untouched. No one's renting this gem.

1990: Bronx Warriors takes place in, you guessed it, 1990. The Bronx has been so overrun by gang violence that the city gives up and lets the gangs have it. That's until a rich girl's gone too far and run there to escape her inheritance of a major arms corporation. She won't rely on the old man's money, but it's a bitch girl, when the corporation sends former Bronx gang member now cop Vic Morrow in to get her. High and dry, out of the rain, it's so easy to hurt others when you can't feel pain, but she'll feel the pain too as the rival gangs choose sides and fight it out while the cops come in and try to take them all down.

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This is pretty sweet. I mean, it's a classic, so what can you expect. Obviously, it's 2009, and the Bronx didn't devolve into the mess it is in this movie. The director couldn't have guessed Rudy Juliani would come in and do what he did with his aggressive policing and whatnot. This is a vision of New york City that could never imagine a Times Square that wasn't full of hookers and sex shops; never imagine Forrest Gump's Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurant where the peep shows once were. Sure, it's silly at points, and you're talking about the idea that the Bronx is given up by the city, so you have to suspend belief some; but this is a really fun time that shouldn't be missed.

The biggest name here for DTVC readers is Fred Williamson. He plays The Ogre, a rival gang leader to the hero, Trash. 1982 was peak Fred Williamson, just as the wave was cresting from his great Blacksploitation films of the 70s. The only drawback, if there's any for me, it's that he's not in this as much as he should be. I looked him up on imdb, and he's listed as being 71 years old. Wow. He graduated high school in 1955. Insane. I mean, I guess if he was playing in Super Bowl I, he has to be getting up there. I just can't believe I didn't see that sooner, considering all the times I've looked him up on imdb. Maybe I just didn't want to know...

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This was Vic Morrow's second to last movie, the last being his part in a segment of The Twighlight Zone Movie. He actually died tragically while filming that movie when a helicopter crashed on him and two young children. He was great here as a bad guy, but reading his imdb bio, he actually hated the fact that he was type-cast as the "tough" after his debut in the film Blackboard Jungle. Maybe it's the Bronx accent that directors liked-- he just sounded like a "tough".

I grew up near Boston, MA, another city that went through a fair amount of urban renewal in the late 90s early 2000s. In some areas, especially Jamaica Plain, the changes were really good. It's funny to say I'm going to Jamaica Plain to older people, because they're always like "good luck". Anyway, I was watching Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations, and he covered New York City, and he was disgusted at the changes the city had undergone in the last twenty years or so. He felt like it took away some of the city's character. I understood what he was saying, but I never really felt it until I saw this. It makes me wish I'd seen Times Square in the 80s now.

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This is the real deal. Go for it. It's a must watch. Sure, it's funny, but it's not that bad either. The fact that the copy up here from Netflix was barely touched shows that not enough people are seeing this gem, and I hope in a small way my review will get the word out on it.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085124/

3 comments:

  1. Watched this one earlier in the year and really enjoyed it. My first real taste of Italian exploitation flicks.

    It's got a lot of good style to it (mostly ripped off from The Warriors). I love the bit where the guy is randomly playing a drum solo under the bridge as all the warriors turn up to meet Fred Williamson.

    The sequel Bronx Warriors 2 (aka Escape from the Bronx) isn't too shabby either - again it stars Mark Gregory as Trash - only problem is that it fizzles out a bit at the end (sort of like this film).

    Another good one to check out is 2019: After the Fall of New York - which is a near scene for scene rip off of John Carpenter's Escape from New York - it's got some damn good cheesy action.

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  2. Yeah, the drum part was fantastic, made it kind of surreal. I'll have to check out the ones you mentioned. Like yourself, I'm just getting into the Italian exploitation scene, so it's good to have a few to consider.

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  3. Vic Morrow's pretty much dubbed in this one, his death prevented him from doing post-production dubbing apparently, and so they used Edward Mannix, the know Bronx dubber for many Italian movies.

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