Friday, August 22, 2014

1990: The Bronx Warriors

I have always loved Escape from New York, a true dystopian B-movie classic. However, that film got one thing about the future glaringly wrong: The idea that the island of Manhattan would be abandoned to poors and criminals. Hah. No, Manhattan is the province of Russian oligarchs and Chinese billionaires and anyone else corrupt/amoral enough to obtain get the kind of money that buys a $50 million condo they're only going to live in two weeks out of the year. Nope, in the future, as in the present, the disenfranchised will be kept far, far from Manhattan.
Now, this is one thing that a crap flick like 1990: The Bronx Warriors actually gets right: Gentrification. Here, the 1% resides in high-security Manhattan, while everyone else is stuffed into the rotting borough of the Bronx. Yes, the true future of New York City, except that even the Bronx will be too fancy for the plebes soon. Anyway, other than that, 1990: The Bronx Warriors is a Euro-knockoff of better 80's films, the aforementioned Escape from New York and that truly great film, The Warriors.
 atempts... attimpts... attemps... oh, fuck it.

So, we open with some dopey girl in shoulder pads and moussed bangs running around the Bronx. 1990: The Bronx Warriors was actually shot on location in the Bronx because i don't think there's anyplace in Italy that looks like Hunts Point and, hell, if the NYPD were willing to ignore the same crackhouse for decades, i don't think they'd  care much about a few stunts n' pratfalls.
Dopey girl is quickly cornered by a bunch of guys in plastic helmets and shoulder pads on roller skates. Sure, it worked in The Warriors, in the well-paved ramps & straightaways wonderland of the Union Square subway station. But it's not the best transportation option in a rubble-strewn apocalyptic wasteland. However, before someone can trip over a rock, help arrives!

Behold our hero, Trash, who is supposedly the invincible leader of the Riders, the toughest biker gang in the Bronx, but he comes off more like a sissyboy Bon Jovi. Apparently, in the post-apocalyptic Bronx, not only will you be able to get your whites whiter, but chest wax will be plentiful!

 Really? You were in the Bronx in the early 80's
and you couldn't find someone to make you better graffiti than this?

But, oh noes! It seems one of the Riders is found dead, leading to a faceoff with the other hot shit gang of the Bronx, the Tigers, who wear zoot suits and drive awesome 40's cars. They are led by Ogre, played by Fred "The Hammer" Williamson. Finally! Someone with some motherfucking charisma. A believable badass. He has a sweet Rolls, dynamite outfits and a girlfriend named Witch who looks like Jerry Hall with Wolverine claws.

 Anyway, yeah, the Hammer offed yer buddy. Because he was on Hammer's turf and motherfucker was a snitch for the Manhattan Corporation -- the paramilitary corporate entity that protects the rich. (I'm pretty sure Dick Cheney's on the board.) The Hammer did you and the rest of the Bronx a goddamn favor, so chill out there, Steven Pearcy.
And here comes our villain. The Mahattan Corporation has sent in a psycho cop named the Hammer (oh, this is going to get confusing) to try to get Dopey Girl. The Hammer -- the cop-fake Hammer, not the awesome-real Hammer -- is played by Vic Morrow. He shoots a couple Riders, plants a Tiger's ring, figuring on the old "turn the gangs against each other" ruse. 
But wasn't one of the Riders already a police snitch? This is the part where 1990: The Bronx Warriors starts trying to get too complicated for its own good as we try feebly to keep track of who's turning who against who... Ah, let's fuhgeddaboudit and have a biker funeral pyre!
It turns out that Dopey Girl is actually the daughter of the president of the Manhattan Corporation, who, of course, wants her back. In short, she serves the same purpose as the cassette tape in Escape from New York and is about as compelling a character. But, well, she's actually the director's daughter, so that should give you an idea of how talented she is. As for Trash, he's played by a guy the director picked up in a gym -- sorry, discovered in a gym -- so that should give you an idea of how talented he is.

However, as soon as she reveals this, the roller skate gang from the beginning with the shiny white hats return  -- apparently they're called the Zombies, because Zombies are clean and roller skate -- and carry Dopey Girl off to their playroom...
Trash realizes that the Manhattan Corporation is behind it all. All the gangs need to band together, but to recruit Ogre, Trash will need to cross the Bronx. Which is full of gangs. I think we've heard this one before...

 The first gang the Riders come across is... oh, here, i'll just show you a picture.
Sir, i knew the Baseball Furies and you are no Baseball Furies. You are simply tap dancers in Kiss makeup. Literally: Tap dancers. They have choreographed moves and tap-tap-tap KICK! tap-tap-tap KICK! tap-tap...
Next up, the Scavengers.  Who look more like they should be the Zombies, but whatever.
 Finally, Ogre's house and civilization! Trash has to persuade Ogre to join him in the battle for the Bronx.
... and Fred "the Hammer" Williamson is so fucking in. Bring it on!
Once things are settled with the rat within the Riders' midst and Dopey Girl is reclaimed from the Power Rangers, the Bronx warriors can go to war.

The cops hate the civilians, refer to them as "animals," wear helmets and armor, have tanks and flamethrowers and are basically just there to wipe everyone out. Another thing about the future 1990: The Bronx Warriors got right, i guess...

Welcome to Ferguson!

1990: The Bronx Warriors was actually only the first in a Bronx trilogy, which also included Escape from the Bronx (which, oddly, is about not wanting to leave the Bronx) and The New Barbarians (which is more of a Road Warrior knockoff). Actually, all three are available in a boxed set now. Who knew that movies like 1990: The Bronx Warriors and Ginger would one day be raised from the 99-cent bin to the limited-edition collectors tin....

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