Released by: Blue Underground
Released on: June 30th, 2015.
Director: Enzo G. Castellari
Cast: Mark Gregory, Fred Williamson, George Eastman, Stefania Girolami, Vic Morrow
Year: 1982 Purchase From Amazon
Enzo G. Castelleri made some really fine films during his heyday in the Italian film boom of the late 70s and early 80s. The Big Racket, Keoma, and The Cold Eyes Of Fear are all top quality movies that are not only entertaining but also very well made. Enzo also made a lot of lesser pictures too, but even when he was dealing in knock offs and blatant rip offs, his movies were typically still a whole lot of fun. Bronx Warriors (known in the US as 1990: Bronx Warriors) is one of those later, goofier, entries in his filmography but despite the lack of very little redeeming artistic or social value, it still manages to be entertaining… even if it’s mostly for all the wrong reasons.
Mark Gregory, of the Thunder Warrior films, plays Trash – a post apocalyptic survivor who rides around on a motorcycle in the wasteland that has become The Bronx. Now a no man’s land, the Bronx has been taken over by ‘riders’ (gangs) and been pretty much completely abandoned by the government, let alone the NYPD. Trash dresses like’s auditioning for late eighties/early nineties era Manowar. He’s decked out in jeans and leather (not crackerjack clothes) and all greased up and ready for action. Trash not only likes his leather, he also like his bad ass fighting stick-spike thing that carries around. He uses it to bring the smack down on his enemies.
When Trash and his crew come across a pretty young thing named Anne (Stefania Girolami) being harassed by a gang called The Zombies (who coincidently look nothing like their namesake and instead sport ‘Mork from Ork’ style outfits and cruise around on roller skates) they of course do the right thing and save her. Anne, being a vulnerable woman in danger, is unable to help herself and instantly falls in love with her rock and roll savior.
Well, it turns out that Anne is more than just another pretty face – she is in fact the heiress to a massive arms manufacturing plant and the men who control it want her back. Why? Not because they care about her but so that they can use her as a puppet to run their organization. It’s inferred that they intend to do something terrible like take over the world or kill a lot of people. Anyway, these evil pricks send in a couple of hired goons led by The Hammer (played not by Fred ‘The Hammer’ Williamson but by Vic Morrow instead!) to get Anne back in one piece and of course, things get messy.
Trash’s right hand man, a dude named Ice (Joshua Sinclair), ends up turning traitor and selling him out to the Zombies and the hired goons, and all Hell breaks loose. Trash is gonna need some help to clean up this mess, so he does what any reasonably intelligent post nuke hero does – he goes to Ogre (played not by Vic Morrow but by Fred ‘The Hammer’ Williamson instead!) for help. But to get there, he’s gonna have to battle his way through a menacing gang of tap dancing thugs (no, seriously, they really are tap dancing thugs) and get across The Bronx alive. And even if he can do that, is The Ogre even gonna wanna have anything to do with Trash’s cause?
Dopey and nonsensical, Escape From The Bronx defies any form of logical New York City geography. Important scenes are shot just north of the Brooklyn Bridge (meaning in Brooklyn, not The Bronx) and large parts of the finale take place on Governor’s Island (again, not The Bronx) but that won’t matter to most people. Castellari borrows elements from Escape From New York here but so much that it’s a complete copycat. In a low of ways the film has more in common with Walter Hills’ The Warriors than anything else, basically relocating large chunks of that movie into a post-apocalyptic setting of sorts.
Made a couple of years before The New Barbarians (a film that would reunite Castellari with Williamson, Eastman and Massimo Vanni), this is a fast paced goofball of a film. High on action and colorful, bizarre costumed gangs and low on logic and common sense it’s got plenty of exploding body parts, bad ass biker guys with skulls on their choppers and, yes, even some actual location footage of what looks like the bombed out Bronx of the early 1980s (not to mention large chunks shot on Italian sound stages). All of this more than makes up for whatever shortcomings there are in the story.
And the cast? Williamson rules the school and is a bit underused here but he really does an awesome job basically playing the ‘King’ of The Bronx. He’s basically a pimp, albeit one interested in the finer things which would be why he employs a piano player to hang out in his underground cavernous base of operations. Mark Gregory has very little range but hey, he looks like a Manowar guy and so he fits in just fine. If he isn’t the greatest actor to ever walk across the silver screen he looks cool on a motorcycle and does just fine in the action scenes. Vic Morrow is a kick, slumming it a bit here but doing a fine job with the material and George Eastman basically does what George Eastman does, and for that we thank him.
Blue Underground presents 1990: The Bronx Warriors on Blu-ray in AVC encoded 1080p high definition widescreen framed at 2.35.1. Detail is much stronger than it’s been on past DVD releases and colors look excellent across the board. The disc is only a 25GB platter but it’s free of obvious compression artifacts. The picture is pretty clean, reasonably well detailed and features fairly good texture as well but some scanner noise and sometimes grain looks odd but again, despite this we get a pretty decent upgrade over past DVD releases.
The sole audio option for the disc is a DTS-HD Mono track with optional subtitles provided in English, French and Spanish. The audio here is solid enough. Gun shots have good power behind them as do the revving of the motorcycle engines. Dialogue stays plenty easy to follow throughout.
The biggest and best of the supplements comes in the form of an audio commentary with Enzo G. Castellari moderated by David Gregory. Conducted in English, some of the most interesting discussion here covers the locations used for the film, where they found them and how they came onboard to use them – he speaks a lot about a brick factory that is no more that he used in a few different movies. They also talk about the use of motorbikes in the movie, how all of Williamson’s scenes were shot in Rome and how they shot three weeks in New York and four weeks in Italy. They also discuss some of the stunts, the contributions of the cast and crew, and even Castellari’s recollections of Lucio Fulci.
Also worth checking out is an interview with Castellari and producer Fabrizio De Angelis. The first part of a multi-part featurettes it runs fourteen minutes and sees them talk about where they got the ideas for this movie, shooting in the US and Italy, run ins with the police, getting invited to the wrap party for Conan The Barbarian and working with veteran actors like Williamson and Morrow as well as younger actors like Mark Gregory.
We also get a twelve minute featurette called Sourcing The Weaponry where we see Castellari visit the Italian weapons rental house run by Paolo Ricci. Done with a good sense of humor, we see the two men reunite and discuss their work together and then get a demonstration of how some of the weapons effects we see in their work together is born.
The last featurettes on the disc is Adventures In The Bronx, an interview with actor/stuntman Massimo Vanni. Running seven minutes, here we learn about how he wound up being cast in the movie alongside Mark Gregory and how he wound up introducing the leading man to the director. He also talks about his good fortune working for Castellari on multiple occasions, working on location in the Bronx and more.
Rounding out the extras are a trailer for the feature and trailers for The New Barbarians and Escape From The Bronx, a still gallery, menus and chapter selection. As this is a combo pack release, inside the case alongside the Blu-ray disc is a DVD version of the movie with the same supplements included.
The Final Word:
1990: The Bronx Warriors is a lot of ridiculous fun from start to finish. They really don’t make them like this anymore and Blue Underground have rolled out a solid release for this one, highlighted by some great extra features.
Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!