The Warriors,
directed by Walter Hill
(Paramount, 1979)

The Warriors is a "night in the life of" movie about a New York City street gang. One gang leader calls on all the rival gangs to set aside their turf battles and unite against the police force. During his eloquent raised-platform speech in the opening sequence of the movie, a drugged-up street punk assassinates him and points the blame at The Warriors, our hero street gang. A melee ensues, and the Warriors need to make it home to Coney Island without getting assaulted by the cops or their rivals.

There isn't much else to the plot of this movie (in fact, the viewer is never sure of the assassin's motivations, other than surmising that he's a punk who has nothing better to do than cause trouble). Visually, however, The Warriors is a cinematic experience. Each gang is color coded in its own street uniform -- baseball gear with face paint, denim overalls, purple satin with matching hats, a mime group and so on. The Warriors is representative of a video game a full decade before the explosion of video games (and it was recently turned into a video game by Rockstar Games). The various teams are color coded, they get powerups and additional weapons by battling their enemies, and they need to complete a quest without getting killed by the enemy.

Director Walter Hill opens his director's cut with an apology for over-the-top director's editions. He reveals that he did only minor edits to his new version, cleaning up the editing and using comic-book transitions between the scenes. The comic book transitions are seamless and fit well within the architecture of the movie.

review by
Jessica Lux-Baumann

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