The Warriors (1979)

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Released 10-Aug-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Theatrical Trailer- 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1979
Running Time 89:22
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Walter Hill
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Michael Beck
James Remar
Brian Taylor
David Harris
David Patrick Kelly
Tom McKitterick
Marcelino Sanchez
Terry Michos
Thomas G. Waites
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $39.95 Music Barry De Vorzon


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Greek
English
Spanish
French
Croatian
Italian
Hebrew
Portuguese
Slovenian
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    A truce is called by Cyrus (Robert Hill), leader of the largest gang in New York, known as the Gramercy Riffs. He's invited each of the other gangs in the city to send along nine of their members to the Bronx where he's holding a clandestine meeting. Coney Island's resident gang, The Warriors, lead by Cleon (Dorsey Wright), have agreed to go and the gang sets off on a journey by train, across New York, to hear what he has to say.

    At the meeting Cyrus proposes that they take over the city, using the power of the gangs and the estimated 60,000 members they have between them, to hold off the cops and secure the city, precinct by precinct until they own everything. He has them all in the palm of his hand until Luther (David Patrick Kelly), the psychotic leader of the Rogues, shoots Cyrus and starts a panic. The cops, who had surreptitiously been staking out the conclave then bust in and all hell breaks loose. During this pandemonium, Cleon goes to see what happened to Cyrus and Luther accuses him and The Warriors of shooting Cyrus to cover his own tracks.

    The other members of The Warriors escape the park where the meeting was being held and gather together in a cemetery. Swan (Michael Beck), the war leader of the gang takes control but is briefly challenged by Ajax (James Remar), who is told to back off by the remaining gang members, Snow (Brian Taylor), Cochise (David Harris), Cowboy (Tom McKitterick), Rembrandt (Marcelino Sanchez), Vermin (Terry Michos) and Fox (Thomas G. Waites). They know they have bigger problems on their hands than who will take over the gang. Is the truce still on, and if not, will they be forced to 'bop' their way home past all the other gangs in New York? Unbeknownst to them, the Gramercy Riffs have put the word out on The Warriors; Wanted: Alive if possible, if not, Wasted. And so begins a long journey home...

    Walter Hill directs this movie which is said to be loosely based on Xenophon's Anabasis, an historical account of ten thousand Greek mercenaries fighting their way across Persia in a long retreat to the sea in 401 B.C. Instead of Greeks and Persians we get the Riffs, the Rogues, the Lizzies, the Turnbull A/Cs and the Baseball Furies. Instead of swords and shields we get chains and baseball bats, multicoloured attire and painted faces. Hill is ably assisted by his director of photography Andrew Laszlo in creating their own battleground across the subways and parks of New York and offering up a smorgasbord of action. The Warriors was an eminently satisfying experience both as a reviewer and as a movie buff, enhanced by the superior medium offered by DVD.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Not since seeing the original movie back in the late 70s have I seen this movie look so good. It's pretty obvious this was taken from a superior source.

    The original aspect ratio is listed as 1.85:1. The transfer of this disc is in the ratio of 1.78:1 and 16x9 enhanced, which will suit those with widescreen TVs perfectly.

    Apart from some minor incidences of edge enhancement, this is quite suitably sharp and exhibits plenty of well-defined shadow detail with excellent depth. Considering the number of night scenes and low lit shots, this was particularly pleasing. Early in the movie there is some grain on show, but it dissipates to a surprisingly light level at most times. For the most part, any grain seen didn't affect the level of fine detail on offer. Additionally, the various levels of blacks on display were deep and noiseless.

    Possibly the most pleasing aspect of this transfer is the glorious colour in evidence. Skin tones are excellent with deep texture to them. The colour in low lit scenes is never drab or washed out indicating an excellent palette. There was no evidence of colour bleed or oversaturation at any stage.

    I couldn't see any obvious MPEG artefacts in the transfer and the usual film-to-video artefacts were suitably absent. There was the usual array of light white scratches on the print, which occur frequently, but for the most part they are unobtrusive. The worst incidence comes at 4:08 when there appears to be a spray of flecks on the screen for several seconds which were very visible.

    The subtitles were positioned in the bottom eighth of the screen and were very noticeable, probably due to the number of darker scenes. I didn't find them too problematic though, and they follow the dialogue with a reasonable degree of accuracy.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The soundtrack on this disc is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, a crying shame as it deserves better. You may have a desire at some stage to turn this up on your system. A word to the wise: don't pump it up too loud as everything is directed through the centre channel and too great a volume tends to make everything strident. There are moments when the sound level appears to drop slightly in level, (1:16 being a noticeable example).

    There are four soundtracks on this disc; the default English, and French, Italian and Spanish tracks all in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, all presented at 192 kilobits per second. The English track sounds fairly subdued compared with the other tracks which were a little more raucous in tone. Listening to Cyrus' speech in Italian or Spanish sounded wrong, but that may have been my personal bias coming into it, otherwise I doubt there will be too many complaints.

    With everything competing for your attention from the centre speaker you would expect the voices to get a little lost, but Hill's style of making dialogue secondary (at times) to the action on the screen works well within the limits of the mono soundtrack. Audio sync didn't appear to be a problem.

    The music is by Barry DeVorzon, with several tracks written by Joe Walsh, and is a real treat. This was such a good soundtrack that I ended up buying the CD. The thing that really made it for me was the pounding drumbeat, the terrific synth and guitar riffs during the opening scenes and the way DeVorzon drives every one of the many chase scenes with this thumping beat that really sticks in your head. Interspersed in this soundtrack are some incidental rock tracks performed by various artists including Joe Walsh. He blends these tracks superbly, making this the most enjoyable soundtrack I've heard in a long, long time.

    The Warriors bopped its way right past the Surrounds and the Subwoofers, unfortunately.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Theatrical Trailer

    This has a running time of 1:51 and is presented in 1.78:1. It is 16x9 enhanced. The trailer is comprised of snippets from the movie with an audio track from Tangerine Dream, which is certainly strange, and not from the soundtrack. The trailer is slightly blurry with oversaturated colours and plenty of minor film artefacts.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    From all reports, the R1 and the R4 are precisely the same, down to the same tacky cover art on the DVD.

Summary

    Although to me a minor classic, The Warriors may seem a little dated to many, but it still has a sense of timelessness about it that makes it as watchable today as when it was first released.

    The video is outstanding except for some minor film artefacts.

    The audio is less than stellar, and a more robust 5.1 version would really have been appreciated.

    The extras are, as usual, mostly missing-in-action. An isolated music track and/or the extra footage that has been seen in the TV versions that are around would have added immensely to this disc.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Carl Berry (read my bio)
Thursday, August 30, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Xelos (81cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderRotel RSP-976. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationRotel RB 985 MkII
SpeakersJBL TLX16s Front Speakers, Polk Audio LS fx di/bipole Rear Speakers, Polk Audio CS350-LS Centre Speaker, M&KV-75 Subwoofer

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