1990: The Bronx Warriors
Today’s feature is an infamous Italian knock-off of The Warriors: 1990: The Bronx Warriors, starring Vic Morrow and Fred Williamson.
1990 :The Bronx Warriors was co-written and directed by Enzo Castellari, who also created The Shark Hunter, Keoma, and the original Inglorious Bastards. His co-writers were Elisa Briganti (Hands of Steel, Zombie, The House By The Cemetery) and Dardano Sacchetti (The Beyond, Devil Fish, The Demons, Amityville II, A Bay of Blood).
The cinematographer for The Bronx Warriors was Sergio Salvati, yet another member of the crew who was a frequent cohort and collaborator of Lucio Fulci’s: he shot his films City of The Living Dead, They Died With Their Boots On, Four of the Apocalypse, Zombie, and The Beyond. Later on, he worked on a handful of other memorable horror movies, such as Ghoulies II and Puppetmaster.
The editor for the movie was Gianfranco Amicucci, who also cut a number of Castellari’s other films, including Keoma, The Inglorious Bastards, and The Shark Hunter. He also went on to edit a number of Ruggero Deodato (Cannibal Holocaust) movies, including The Washing Machine and Mom I Can Do It.
The producer of the film was Fabrizio De Angelis, who also produced a handful of memorable Italian films like Lucio Fulci’s Zombie, Manhattan Baby, and The Beyond. He also directed and produced the entire Karate Warrior franchise, as well as a number of other low budget films.
The makeup effects team for The Bronx Warriors was made up of Antonio Maltempo (The Godfather Part III, The English Patient, Manhattan Baby) and Maurizio Trani (Zombie, Piranha II, Troll 2, Ator 4),
The musical score for 1990: The Bronx Warriors was done by Walter Rizzati, who also has composing credits on such films as The House By The Cemetery, Deadly Impact, and something called Flying Sex, which IMDb doesn’t have a description for. Just let your imagination decide on that one.
The cast of 1990: The Bronx Warriors includes Vic Morrow (The Bad News Bears, Twilight Zone: The Movie, Humanoids From The Deep), Fred Williamson (Black Caesar, Hell Up In Harlem, From Dusk Til Dawn, MASH, The Inglorious Bastards), Marco De Gregorio (Thunder, Escape From The Bronx), Christopher Connelly (Manhattan Baby, Django 2), Joshua Sinclair (Keoma), George Eastman (Hands of Steel, Porno Holocaust, Anthropophagus, Django Kills Softly), Stefania Girolami (Sinbad of the Seven Seas, The Last Shark) and Angelo Ragusa (The Pumaman, Double Team).
The plot of 1990: The Bronx Warriors takes place in the futuristic wasteland that is New York City in 1990. The city is ruled by rival gangs, and is considered essentially lawless. After a wealthy heiress runs away from home into the city, a mercenary is sent into the warzone to insure her safe return. What results is a convergence of warlords and cut-throat baddies into an all-out battle for the city.
Marco De Gregorio was cast as the lead role of Trash in the movie based on his appearance alone. Apparently, the director just ran into him at a gym, and made the casting decision based on his looks and the physical impression he made. He had only previously appeared in a television movie in an unnamed role according to IMDb.
Unfortunately, this film marked Vic Morrow’s last completed movie role, as he died tragically and horrifically due to an on-set stunt accident while filming Twilight Zone: The Movie the next year, which also killed two young children. The accident resulted in a number of lawsuits, and is one of the most infamous on-set accidents in movie history.
1990: The Bronx Warriors ultimately spawned a sequel: Escape From The Bronx, which focuses more on ripping off Escape From New York than The Warriors.
1990: The Bronx Warriors was partially filmed on location in the Bronx, but also features a significant amount of sound stage footage that was shot in Italy, apparently due to an attempt to exploit some filming loophole for domestic Italian features.
Reportedly, actual members of The Hell’s Angels were used during filming to depict the extra members of The Riders throughout the film, which gives the movie an unexpected element of realism at times.
Vic Morrow’s character’s name in this film is The Hammer, which is also the real life nickname of his co-star, Fred ‘The Hammer’ Williamson. I’m curious if that ever got confusing on the set.
The reception for 1990: The Bronx Warriors has been generally negative, though it certainly has a cult following as a classic bad movie. It currently holds an IMDb rating of 5.2, along with a 37% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.
The acting is overall pretty awful in this flick, particularly on the part of “Trash,” who is way too inexperienced for what they wanted from the role. Speaking of which, that’s a pretty uninspiring nickname for a powerful gang leader. It is supposed to evoke a low-class impression, but why not something like “Gutter” or “Sludge?” Everyone else has names like “Hammer,” “Hot Dog,” “Ogre,” “Blade,” and “Ice,” so “Trash” is definitely the odd one out of the group as far as cool names go.
Fred Williamson is always awesome, and is one of my favorite b-movie actors for a reason. He notably has an outstanding death scene in this movie, wherein he is torched to death by flamethrowers while smoking one last cigarette. It is…so awesome.
There are a lot of moving parts to the story of The Bronx Warriors, but it irons itself out as it goes along. There are arguably a few too many character names and affiliations that aren’t adequately explained, but you pick up the essential stuff as the story goes along, to the point that everything is clear by the climax. That said, there are definitely a few elements that never quite make sense.
In the spirit of The Warriors, there are plenty of ridiculous costumes throughout this movie, as you would expect. Plenty of roller blades, motorcycles, leather, and fancy suits make their way into combat at one point or another, and it is just delightful.
This movie has one hell of an explosive ending, with just about every character dead and/or on fire. The movie finishes on a freeze frame of Hammer’s corpse being drug behind a motorcycle, impaled on a harpoon. I mean, wow. This especially potent because it takes place after a fake-out happy ending, complete with a damn cake.
The central crux of the movie’s plot doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. The heiress is apparently about to come of age, and she is afraid of her responsibilities as the head of a massive military corporation, and more specifically worried about being manipulated and used as a puppet. Of course, the current operators need her to be just that, so they a sink a ton of money into mercenaries to track her down and bring her back. However, in the conclusion, Hammer just decides to basically burn everything down, including the heiress. What was the point of all of that, then? This may have just been Hammer being bloodthirsty and angry, but he seemed to be using the military company’s men, so there is no way that the head honchos didn’t know that this was an extermination mission. In any case, pretty much everybody loses at the end of this thing, as I mentioned previously. It is a real nasty bloodbath filled with sadness and tragedy.
This movie is so much fun that it is easy to overlook a lot of the flaws in it. It certainly helps that a lot of those flaws, like the poor production values and nonsense story, totally add to the charm. It is evident from the start that this is a cheap knock-off, but if you enjoyed The Warriors or Escape From New York, this is genuinely more of the same, and that isn’t a bad thing.
Seriously, bad movie lovers have to check this one out. It is kind of surreal to see a bunch of Lucio Fulci’s Italian cohorts take on a quasi-remake of The Warriors, but it totally works.