1990: The Bronx Warriors (1982)

Title

Directed by Enzo G. Castellari

Tagline: “A Heavy Metal Journey Into An Urban Hell Where Everything Was Done Wrong!”

Run Time: 89 minutes

“You’d better be careful or I’ll knock your block off!”
– Trash


If anybody has been paying attention to my latest travails, you will have noticed I just finished pounding out 4, count ’em, 4 reviews based on crappy shark movies…and man do I feel like I’ve been through the ringer. Seriously, it really took it out of me. After taking a week or so off I’ve gathered my strength and I am now prepared to dig into a film that I’ve been longing to dig my claws into for a long time: 1990: Bronx Warriors.

After spending the last couple months in the pseudo-world of trashy Bulgarian B-films (see the first 2 editions of Amazing Fantastic Video Junk Food to see what I mean), it’s actually comfortable to return to the well-trodden realm of 1980’s Italian junk-cinema. As bad-movie lovers should know by now, during the 1980’s the Italians excelled at ripping off American films, often with nary the thinnest veil of modesty. For example, we had Superman, they had PumaMan. To counter the success (so to speak) of Conan, our Italian friends countered with a pair of shoestring-budgeted films entitled Gor and Gor: The Outlaw. Did you like Road Warrior? Be sure to check out the ‘homage’ entitled Warrior of the Lost World. Not even Jaws was safe from this Mediterranean menace…check out the (deservedly) much maligned Devil Fish.

Are you seeing a pattern yet?

Our current feature is a shameless, er, ‘reinterpretation’ of John Carpenter’s popular 1981 flick Escape From New York. In 1990: Bronx Warriors, ‘Snake’ is replaced with the daughter of an ultra-rich businessman who flees her domineering father and escapes, so to speak, into the wilds of the Bronx, which has now been abandoned to the gangs. Meet the most effeminate ‘hero’ of all time: Trash. Our young hero rules the toughest gang in all the Bronx: The Riders. (Yeah, right.) Trash’s biggest challenge is to rescue the young lass from various goofy competing gangs: the ‘Zombies’, a roller-skating gang (capped with white Wehrmacht helmets!), a tap dancing gang (!!!), and the ‘Tigers’, a gang of face-painted pimps led by the ubiquitous Fred Williamson. Oh if that’s not enough, there’s the eeeeevil corporate suits and the corrupt cops and the…and the…and so on.

In other words: It’s a freakin’ mess.

 

Mark Gregory Trash (Mark Gregory)

Our young hero, and leader of the ‘Riders’, is the aptly named "Trash". Played by 17-year old Italian pretty boy Mark Gregory, Trash saunters in and out of trouble with his jeans and leather vest while the extras try their best not to laugh. Seriously. Members of the Hell’s Angels were hired to fill out the Rider’s ranks, and they could barely contain their laughter as Trash strutted around the set like some sort of long-haired rooster. Mr. Gregory went on to reappear as Trash in this film’s sequel: Escape 2000 (1983), along with a trilogy of Thunder films where Gregory plays a Native American (!) sheriff named, surprise, Thunder. Mercifully, for both us and him (and his hair), Mark Gregory dropped from the radar in 1989 after his last film: Afganistan – The Last War Bus.

Vic Morrow Hammer (Vic Morrow)

Veteran actor Vic Morrow plays gun-for-hire and all around Bad Guy, ‘Hammer’. Morrow hit it big in the 1960’s TV series Combat! which was unfortunately cancelled after just a few years. With the end of Combat!, Morrow fell out of the public’s eye and was forced to appear mostly in European B-movies (i.e., Bronx Warriors) and made-for-TV junk. After finishing Bronx Warriors, Morrow was approached by John Landis and was asked to appear in Twilight Zone: The Movie. Morrow accepted the deal and was very enthusiastic about returning to the ‘big screen’. As you are probably aware of, Morrow and 2 children were tragically killed while filming a helicopter sequence for Twilight Zone in 1982.

Fred Williamson The Ogre (Fred Williamson)

Former professional football player and Italian schlock regular Fred Williamson collects a paycheck by playing Ogre, leader of the ‘Tigers’. As usual, Fred seems to be a pretty good sport about the whole thing as he rules over his wince-inducing gang of garishly dressed pimps and leather-clad molls.

Joshua Sinclair Ice (Joshua Sinclair)

The treacherous Ice who’s out to steal the reins of power from Trash…at any cost! (Wow! Now that sounds good!) Anyway, the guy who plays Ice, Joshua Sinclair, actually works in crappy movies in order to pay his way around the world where he works as a doctor specializing in tropical diseases. (!) Well, according to IMDB at least. I really want to believe that because it seems pretty cool, and God knows I’m looking for any bit of evidence that any sort of ‘class’ still exists in this world after watching all these shitty movies.

Stefania Goodwin Ann (Stefania Goodwin)

The source of everybody’s problems. Daughter and heir to the imaginitively nammed Manhattan Corporation, Ann flees the confines of the corporate world and her domineering billionaire father only to take refuge in the skinny arms of Trash. Yeah, smart move, Ann. By the way, honey, find the woman who dubbed your voice and kick her ass. She sure didn’t do you any favors.

Open with cool 80’s Movie Music as the credits appear on the screen over various shots of deadly gang equipment: knives, spiked elbow pads, clubs, roller skates.

Huh? Roller skates?

Yes, just you wait and see: things can get pretty goofy in the Bronx.

Ok, after that portentous opening sequence we see a young woman running over a bridge. Night has fallen as she frantically makes her way towards…and I’m taking an educated guess here: The Bronx.

Meanwhile, an Evil Business Guy (EBG), Fred, and his boss, Mr. Fisher, who is the CEO of the Manhattan Corporation (!) discover that the young lass has absconded. "Damn it! Our hands are tied until we get her back here," Fred growls to Fisher who is <surprise>: the girl’s father. Fisher demands that "the Hammer" be called in to sort the matter out. Gee, this is going to be fun.

Cut to a overlay which fills us in on a little back story:

"1990. The Bronx is officially declared "No Man’s Land". The authorities give up all attemps [sic!] to restore law and order. From then on, the area is ruled by the Riders."

Credits

Spell checker? We don’t need no stinking spell checker!

Yes, the tried and true Urban Wasteland film. Always cheap to film. Always a pleasure to view. What continually makes this film so hilarious is that the filmmakers couldn’t get permission to temporarily close the streets to traffic while shooting, so if you watch in the background you will always see everyday street traffic driving about, which, to put it mildly, makes it difficult to go along with the illusion of a desolate urban "No Man’s Land ". (Especially when you see UPS trucks driving by! Ouch!)

White NaziAnyway, I’m going to cheat and tell you that the girl is named Ann because I’m tired of typing The Girl. Yes, where was I…ok. We return to Ann and wow, she’s still running, so I guess she’s in pretty good condition. Unfortunately Ann is ambushed by a gang of roller-skating (!) toughs dressed in white vests with matching Wehrmacht helmets (!!) and brandishing bandy sticks as weapons.

Now really, you have to wonder just how effective it is to get around in an urban wasteland on roller skates. In fact, if you look to the side of the shot you can see one of the gang members stumble and nearly fall after skating over a stone, which only reaffirms my critique of the utility of that particular mode of transportation in this particular milieu.

Yes, Ann ineffectually scampers back and forth in the open instead of, say, climbing up on something and running away since they’re wearing freakin’ roller skates (!). These guys, and I’ll call them the Roller Nazis for now, quickly round her up and drag her off to do God only knows.

Luckily for Ann, out of the darkness comes a gang of motorcyclists. Oh, and not just any motorcycle gang. Oh no. It’s the most feared gang in all of the Bronx: The Riders. You can easily spot the members of this prestigious faction by the glowing plastic skulls that are affixed to the front of their bikes just above the headlight. And when I say that these plastic skulls look dime-store cheap, I’m not being overly critical.

Skulls

Meet the "Riders". The Bronx’s toughest gang. No. Seriously.

After that hilarious, sorry, dramatic entrance, Trash and the others dismount and begin a massive melee with the Roller Nazis. With a chorus of dubbed "Arggghh!"’s and "HuuHaaa!"’s that would make Sandy Frank proud, the Roller Nazis are quickly vanquished and dispersed, primarily because of 2 reasons: One: their Wehrmacht helmets keep slipping down over their eyes, and two, they’re wearing roller skates. (In a particularly wacky bit, one of the Riders has a pair of long blades that ‘flip’ out from his motorcycle’s front axle which he uses to cut down a pair of fleeing skaters.)

On a side note, and to be fair to the Roller Nazis and their unusual mode of conveyance, would a motorcycle really be that much better in a ‘wasteland’? OK, maybe dirt bikes, but even those highly mobile bikes have limits. Even if they could navigate the the rubble, and even if the driver never toppled, they are completely open for enemy fire and at most can have one passenger with a weapon (who is equally vulnerable as well). Oh well, it’s ‘cool’, so that’s they way it goes. (By the way: Nobody, and I mean nobody in any of the gangs has a gun. Which seems kind of strange since the exact opposite is true today. So it appears that giving up the Bronx to the gangs actually cleaned the streets of hand weapons!)

While all this nonsense is taking place, Ann cowers in a corner and watches the ‘studly’ Trash deftly defeat a veritable army of opponents, all the while whipping his mane of dark, curly 80’s hair back and forth in not-so-subtle synchronization with his falling foes.

After finishing off the last of the Roller Nazis, Trash saunters over to Ann and finds out she’s a fugitive from her father and his Evil Business.That’s enough to convince Trash to take her in, that and, well, she’s cute as a button, so he extends his hand as the chords of a horrible rock ballad fill the sound track.
Yea verily, love blooms quickly in the wasteland.

The next day we see the Riders rolling up on their motorcycles to confront a gang under the Brooklyn Bridge. As the camera pans across the meeting place, we see a guy sitting at the perimeter playing a snare drum! (…more on him soon) We quickly discover the cause of this renegade rendezvous: A dead Rider impaled on a shattered dock piling at the water’s edge.

Oh, and check out the steady stream of traffic on the bridge both to and from the Bronx. I’m really trying to pretend this is a wasteland, but stuff like this just aint helping.

Oh, did I mention there’s a dude sitting all by his lonesome and pounding on a snare drum? I’m not sure what the hell that’s all about, but as usual, I have a couple of theories:

1) The guy is some sort of wasteland herald who preludes the gangs’ arrivals with a drum riff.

2) The director thought it was arty.

Either way, I’ve certainly never seen anything like that before, and it did seem kind of cool at first. But after a while it reminded me that I was watching a movie, and not a very good one at that.

Guess

The horrors of the Bronx wastelands…drum kit included.

Anyway, Trash and the Riders roll up, and brother, I just can’t get over those ridiculous plastic skulls. Oh, and Ann has her own motorcycle. (Sometimes. Other times she’s riding on Trash’s back behind him. Who knows why.) Boy, that Trash sure knows how to treat a lady right. Although I did notice that she doesn’t have a plastic skull on her bike yet. Maybe she’s in a trial membership or something.

As the drum solo rattles on, the camera pans across the faces of the various Riders. Like I mentioned in the introduction, a group of actual Hell’s Angels members were hired as extras for scenes like this, and there just isn’t any way in hell I’m going to believe that these dudes would ever take orders from pretty-boy Trash. But they do, because the script tells them they have to.

And just for the record, the Hell’s Angels certainly do not have those idiotic skulls attached to their motorcycles. God, I wish I could’ve been there when they caught the set dresser trying to mount those goofy trinkets onto their bikes.

OK, where were we? Yes, Trash dismounts and stares at the impaled body for a moment just as a group of absolutely cherry street-rods cruises up proclaiming the much awaited arrival of the Tigers, led by none other than the Ogre (Fred Williamson). (In a funny bit…every Rider is facing towards the river, so when the Tigers get out of their cars…behind them!…every single one of the Riders has to awkwardly twist around to look at them. I’m just not seeing how these morons could rule the Bronx, but there you have it.

Twist

Ummm…back here, Trash…behind ya…

I’m guessing that these guys are the ‘pimp’ gang as indicated by the plethora of befeathered fedoras and super-wide collared
leisure suits. Of course, we also spot the inevitable Face Painted Gang Member, because, man, it just looks so tough! (His name, I just found out, is ‘Leech’. Wow! A tough name and face paint! Stop this ride! I want to get off!)

Trash turns on his heels and takes an incredibly effeminate strut across the meeting ground in order to speak with the Ogre.
I can only assume this shot took multiple takes because of the inability of the Hell’s Angles to refrain from laughing. And not to beat a dead horse, but everybody strains and twists on their motorcycles in order to watch Trash because they all facing the wrong way! I can’t imagine that this horrible blocking wasn’t discovered in rehearsal but there it is.

OK, Trash strolls over to Ogre’s car and pulls open the door. Out pops Ogre’s woman, Witch, a slim, leather-bedecked blonde with long blades attached to her finger nails, just like, oh, what’s his name again, I think he lived on ‘Elm Street’…

(On another side note, I saw "Nightmare On Elm Street" when it first came out to theaters when I was just a young lad. Of course to get in and see it required an accompanying adult because of the movie’s "R" rating and my sub-17 year age at the time, so guess who I cajoled into seeing it? Yes, you guessed it: My grandmother. I’m totally serious. Actually, I think she likee it, so what the hell. I miss you, Grandma.)

Back to our feature film, and sorry for the digressions into my past.

The Ogre admits that he killed the guy on the river’s edge because of a breach in a territory agreement…you know the deal…you stay out of my wasteland and I’ll stay out of yours. Oh, and Ogre divulges that the guy also had a "gizmo", and that’s a quote. It appears that a gizmo is some sort of ‘wire’, i.e., surveillance device, so he was a snitch, and…my God, who cares. Let’s get this sucker moving.

"Bullshit!" Trash retorts, because, hell, he’s Trash, and nobody could infiltrate his Riders.

"You think I’m jiving?!" Ogre shoots back and I wince in my beer as I always do whenever I hear the word "jive" or any of its verb tenses. "Now they know exactly where we’re based!"

So, what…the cops now know you’re based in…the Bronx? Damn. I guess they’re screwed now. And by the way, who cares? Didn’t the opening credits state that the Bronx had been abandoned to the gangs? Oh…screw it.

With that being said, and really, what was said?, the Tigers pile into their immaculate vehicles and roar off, leaving the mighty Riders twisted in their motorcycle seats, craning their necks trying to watch them leave.

Meanwhile, back in some secret surveillance center, Fred finds out that his informant has been murdered and the tracing signal is gone. Why the Riders were being traced in the first place is anybody’s guess. You may presume it was to try and find Ann, but how would they know she was hanging out with Trash and the Riders? Also, didn’t she just run away yesterday…and they’ve already planted an informant in the Riders?

And, oh, this must be America because there’s an American flag tacked to the wall. This is most definitely not Italy. Nosirree.

We next cut to a helicopter flying far above the Bronx wastelands. Inside the chopper are a couple of soldiers packing M-16’s and wearing black leather jackets emblazoned with patches which read, "State Vigilantes: Bronx". (!)

"Scum of the Earth," one of them snarls as they fly above the ‘ruins’, "the lousy cock-a-roaches [sic] think they own the whole borough!"

Well, they do own the Bronx, right? Didn’t this stupid movie just state that the Bronx has basically been given to the gangs?

Meanwhile, Trash’s lieutenant, Ice, who looks like a Nazi librarian, suspects that maybe the Ogre planted the tracking device on the murdered Rider in an effort to spread confusion in the Riders’ ranks. In return, Ice suggests that the Riders "get even" with the Ogre for this alleged treachery.

Ice

Ice puttin’ the pieces together…

Back in the city, Fisher arrives via helicopter from…somewhere…and confers with Fred on the whereabouts of his daughter. Fred and Fisher share some boring banter before reminding us that the Hammer is busily working to find Ann.
Just in case we forgot. Or fell asleep. Or turned the movie off. Or drank ourselves into unconsciousness.

Anyway, back in the Bronx, Ann is chillin’ in Trash’s grafitti-rich room inside an abandoned warehouse which serves as the Riders’ HQ.
Trash notices that Ann seems a bit lost in her thoughts and asks her if she’s thinking about somebody back home. Well, no, she isn’t, or at least that’s what she says. Trash saunters over to her side and they share a few wooden lines before embracing. I’m serious, this is really horrid stuff here. I’d rather watch Fred and Fisher exchange boring banter then watch Trash and Ann feign passion.

Later that day, (I think it’s the same day, but does it really matter?), Trash, Ice, and a couple other of the knucklehead Riders are cruising around the Bronx for some reason. They just happen to spot a police van parked up a side street.

"They gotta be crazy in their heads," Blade remarks. (As opposed to being crazy in their…arms?)

The Riders roar off on their motorcycles to lure the cops deeper into the wasteland. (Please keep in mind that when I use the term ‘wasteland’, it’s everything but that. Like I’ve mentioned, any exterior shot will inevitably show working traffic lights, delivery trucks, pedestrians, everyday street traffic, and so on. It appears that they tried to edit out any such flubs in the beginning, but they became so numerous that they just gave up and let them remain. It’s just…awful.)

As the van gives slow ‘pursuit’, Blade, who we just saw taking off on his own bike, is now magically riding as a passenger on Ice’s bike (when did he do that??!!), hops onto the back of the police van and shimmies onto the roof. He then climbs over the top and hangs down over the windshield in order to spray paint an expletive on the windshield in pink spray paint. (So Blade just happens to carry around a can of pink spray paint in his jeans pocket? )

TagMeanwhile, the Hammer, disguised as a mailman (!), has infiltrated the Bronx . With a pair of mirrored sunglasses on his face, a mail bag slung over one shoulder, and a long, thin, package tightly gripped in his other hand (Gee, I wonder what’s in that?), the Hammer makes his way into the Riders’ headquarters, a task made easy since the building is conveniently spray-painted with the words, "This Shit Heap Is Riders Home".

Indeed.

Hammer ascends the garbage-strewn stairwell which leads into the headquarters proper.
At the top of the stairs, the lone Rider watchman is busily pawing some floozy on the ground. (I question this amorous pair’s enthusiasm since they’re laying on a concrete stairwell…and brother, if you’ve ever made out with somebody on a set of concrete stairs, then you should know that it’s not the most comfortable place to do that sort of thing.)

The guard eventually notices the presence of this "mailman" and orders him to halt.
Well, I hope you don’t die of shock when I tell you that the Hammer quickly blows them away with the shotgun that he had concealed in the cardboard tube he was carrying.

As the other Riders raise the alarm, Hammer drops a "Tiger" ring onto the corpse in order to frame the Ogre and his gang, because, well, honestly, I don’t know.

The Hammer exits the building after causing a little chaos, and then hops into a waiting truck outside the Riders’ building. The Riders leap out of the ruins, hop onto their bikes, and give chase.

Excitement ensues!

SEE! Trash, Ice, Blade, and Some Other Dude give chase!

SEE! Hammer leap from the truck and hide without the Riders noticing!

SEE! The Riders finally catch up to the truck and force it over to the side of the road!

I’m not sure how guys on motorcycles could force a semi-trailer truck any-damned-where, but the driver of the truck considerately pulls to the side just as well.

Ice immediately realizes that the vehicle is being driven by "Hot Dog". Although the Riders appear to know Hot Dog from before, it’s never really clear who he is, or why the Riders don’t just beat the living tar out of him.

As Ice and the others ride around looking for the killer, Trash lamely pumps Hot Dog for information. Hot Dog, whoever the hell he is, plays dumb and eventually cracks wise to Trash.

"You’d better be careful or I’ll knock your block off!" says Trash, the leader of the Bronx’s most feared gang.

Trash and the others return to Riders Central Station after their thorough search.

"Did you get them?" Ann asks.

"No…the bastards got away," says Trash.

"They’re too clever," says Ann as she shakes her head. (I’m thinking that "they" aren’t too clever: It’s the Riders that are a bunch of maroons.)

Ann shows Trash the Tiger ring she found at the top of the stairs at the scene of the murder.

Skull"It’s impossible," says Tiger in disbelief. If he’s referring to the way a gang of losers like the Riders could rule the Bronx, then I’m in full agreeance.

Before the Riders drive off to deal with the Tigers, they all meet outside to "honor" the recently murdered members. Apparently the Riders definition of "honoring the dead" is to stand at attention and cremate the bodies on a funeral pyre made of busted up 2×4’s (!).

After the ceremony, we see Ice scoop up a handful of ashes into a leather bag as the Riders mount their motorcycles and roar off. So, I guess we’re to believe that the Riders stood by until the 2 bodies were reduced to ashes?…by being burned on a pile of 2×4’s?

Just for fun, I looked on the net to find out just how long it takes to cremate a body. One of my first hits was a company that manufactures cremation equipment. Their top of the line model (called the "Smoke Buster" !!!) can reduce a body to ashes in 2 hours. So even if the Riders had a ‘Smoke Buster’ installed at their headquarters, they’d still be standing, at attention beside their motorcycles, for at least 2 hours.

Man, I gotta get a life.

Oh, and there’s another screen shot up there of those crazy skulls that make me bust out laughing every time I see them.

Anyhoo, with skulls aglow, the Riders mount up and ride into the evening in order to payback the Tigers for the murders which they actually didn’t commit. (One shot of the Riders cruising up and down the streets wasn’t quite edited well enough, for you can glimpse a row of cars patiently stopped at a traffic light as the Riders go through the intersection. Wasteland indeed.)

Oh, I see. They weren’t going directly to battle. Rather, they were headed to the river where each one of them casts a handful of the ashes into the waters. The funny thing is, is that they are all lined up in a row, and as they cast the ashes into the water, one by one, the wind blows them directly into the face of the guy beside him! It’s totally inadvertent, and completely hilarious. In fact, as the camera progresses down the line of bikers, they start to throw the ashes towards the ground instead of the air, so I guess somebody started bitching and the director gave a quick verbal command to change the angle of the throw!

God, I love these movies. I really do.

Later, Trash is having a general meeting with all the Riders to inform them of the Tiger ring he found at the murder scene. (You know, for the rulers of the Bronx no-man’s land, the Riders sure do a hell of a lot of talking.)

"What are we waiting for?" Ice shouts, "Let’s go to war!"

And really, who could disagree?

Nevertheless, Trash is hesitant to attack. Obviously, he’s correct to have doubts that the Tigers murdered Speedy and Sandy (as we just now learned their names), but the movie hasn’t presented any reason for him to do so. Despite Ice’s goading, Trash refuses to give the order to attack, because, you know, it could be a trap.

As the debate rages on and on and on and on, in its own very contrived manner, the Riders suddenly realize that Ann is missing.

"She said she wanted to think," Blade reports. (And dear Lord, I just wanna go to bed.)

Being the good boyfriend that he is, Trash hops on his bike and races away to find her. For some reason he rides through the Rollerhockey-Nazi’s territory and they set up an ambush behind him. Man, is this going to be exciting.

Out on a pier somewhere, Hammer and Hot Dog have a secret meeting. (I can’t believe I just wrote that…) Hammer informs Hot Dog that Ann, the future president of the Manhattan Corporation, is somewhere in the Bronx…and he’s gotta find ‘er!

"How much are you gonna pay me [to help you]?" asks Hot Dog.

"Don’t talk to me like that way…don’t talk to me that way, ever!" Hammer snarls. (?)

The meeting concludes with Hammer asking Hot Dog to arrange a meeting with Ice. (Like I said before, it’s amazing the things I actually have to write for this web site.)

Meanwhile, Trash has tracked down Ann on some beach somewhere. Ann confesses that she’s thinking about leaving Trash and the Riders since it’s her presence that’s causing all the murders.

"Nonsense…we were born dead," Trash enigmatically retorts.

Trash continues with his long-winded monologue on the way they all have to "live with death", whatever that’s supposed to mean. I suppose this is all a ploy to convince Ann that it’s not her fault, that, well, life is harsh in this surprisingly clean and orderly no-man’s land.

Ann explains that she’s the heir to the Manhattan Corporation, which supplies "sixty percent of the world’s arms." As Trash sits on the sand and listens, Ann continues by saying that without her, the company is "powerless". I’m not really seeing how all that works, but there you go.

Anyhoo, Ann insists that if she stays with the Riders, the murders will continue until she’s captured. In fact, Trash himself may fall victim because of her, a chance she can’t possibly take. (On the the other hand, I think she should…)

"Stay, Ann, at least dying for you would give my life meaning," Trash oozes, which in fact turns out to be enough of an argument for her to change her mind and stay.

Don’t you just love these movies?

As luck would have it, on the way back home Trash is forced to get off his motorcycle to remove the road block that the Roller Nazis set up. Really, Trash,…there wasn’t a roadblock when you drove to the beach, and now there is one on the way back…Don’t you think there’s something fishy going on?

So, yes, Ann is taken captive by the Roller Nazis while Trash gets the tar beat out of him (by dudes wearing roller skates…you’re one tough cookie, Trash.)

Oh, and if I may say so Trash, you’re also an idiot.

Anyway, Trash recovers and rides back to the Riders, who, as usual, are sitting around on their bikes debating what to do.

Update: The Roller Nazis are really called the Zombies, which is too bad, because Roller Nazis had a certain panache in my opinion.

So be it: Zombies it is.

OK, Trash still insists on meeting with the Ogre to try and get the Tigers in an alliance with the Riders in order to fight back against the "Manhattan bigshots" who are trying to wipe them all out in the quest to recover Ann. (Did you follow all that? If you did, then congratulate yourself.)

Since they’ll be forced to travel through rival gangs’ territories in order to get to Tiger headquarters, Trash decides to take along a couple guys in case there’s trouble.

Cut to the Zombies’ training room where these guys are skating around smacking sundry objects with their hockey sticks while other dudes spar in a display of Pseudo-Foo martial arts. (The targets of choice for the hockey stick barrages appear to be white-painted tires suspended from the ceiling with ropes, and multi-hued cut out targets.)

Pan to see the Zombies’ leader, Golan, gloating over the captive Ann, who is chained to a concrete pole in the middle of the room. "You shouldn’t have done this," Ann hisses, "[Trash] will kill you!"

Ah yes. The Super Amazing Trash who just got his ass kicked by a pair of roller skaters.

Meanwhile, Trash has assembled an awesome task force of 2, count ’em, 2 guys with which to navigate the treacherous No-man’s Land of the Bronx. As Trash and his entourage make their way through the ruins, they’re suddenly confronted by, and I swear to God I’m not making this up, a Tap Dancing Gang. (!!!)

Tappers

Wow, now that’s intimidating.

Is it just me, or is this really bizarre?

Anyway, as soft, jazzy, tap-dancing music plays on the soundtrack, Trash sends in his 2 companions to kick these face-painted fops’ asses.

Incredibly, the 2 Riders get their asses kicked, forcing me to ask yet again: The Riders are the toughest gang in the Bronx? They get their asses kicked by freakin’ roller skaters and tap dancers!!!

Just as the Tappers are about to lay into Trash, out pops the Tappers leader: a black woman dressed in a gold dance outfit, who apparently has a thing for our young Italian lead. As she tappity-tappity-taps her way around Trash, she gives the order to the other killer-dancers to stop the attack.

Goldie

You see? I’m wasn’t making this up.

Because she has a "soft spot in her heart" for Trash (Dennis’ stomach spasms), she decides to let the Riders pass through her territory.

Yeah, that’s the Bronx’s toughest gang: they have to get permission from a flock of face-painted tap dancers.

Meanwhile, Hot Dog has arranged a meeting between the Hammer and Ice. However Trash, in his limitless wisdom, has asked Blade to keep on eye on Ice because he fears that treachery is afoot. So as Ice chats with the Hammer, Blade watches from afar and realizes that some sort of scandalous operation is underway.

Back with Trash now. He and his 2 buddies have descended into the sewer system and thus into "Scavenger" territory: the mandatory Gang of Cannibals that every cheesy ‘urban wasteland’ movie seems to have in its roster.

Within a matter of seconds, the Scavengers manage to pick off Fat Rider Guy when Trash isn’t looking and dispatch him. As an added bonus, we see that the Scavengers are basically guys wearing white face-paint and wearing gunny sacks. (Again…what’s with the incredible surplus of face paint in the wasteland?)

Trash and the Other Guy (sorry, I can’t keep track of these idiotic names) quickly turn when they hear Fat Rider Guy scream. As they run back to help they are also assaulted by a gang of white-faced potato-sack wearing dudes wielding broken 2×4’s.

Why doesn’t anybody have a gun?

Back to the movie. After a really, really lame mad melee, Trash and Other Guy wipe out the Scavengers.

Meanwhile, Ice meets with the Hammer and Hot Dog. Getting quickly to the point, Ice informs them that Golan and the Zombies are holding Ann captive.

Meeting

Ice and Hammer discuss Ann while Hot Dog looks on.

You can just feel the excitement, eh?

Hammer and Ice finally pound out a deal: Ice will deliver the girl if Hammer will kill Trash.

Blade has overheard this treacherous alliance from a nearby building (I guess he reads lips), but Hot Dog spots him in his side-view mirror. "I’ll take care of him," Ice says as he speeds off on his motorcycle to hunt down Blade and kill the only witness to his treachery.

As Blade pulls into a ruined building you can plainly see that Ice unintentionally loses control of his motorcycle and crashes hard to the pavement; and I mean he hits hard. The scene was left in the film, but…mama mia! That had to hurt! (Note: see my earlier observations regarding the absurd choice of employing motorcycles in an ruinous urban wasteland.)

Anyhoo, Blade flees Ice and makes his way down into the tunnels where the Scavengers promptly kill him. The Hammer also enters the tunnels, quickly spots Trash, and tails him. How the hell the Hammer got down into the ruins and spotted Trash in, oh, about 10 seconds, must remain a mystery.

After a short while, Trash and Other Guy re-emerge in a well manicured riverside walking path…ooops…sorry, I meant wasteland.

BeardMeanwhile, in the Tiger’s stronghold, the Ogre is chillin’ and distributing supplies while listening to the smooth sounds of a classical piano and bongo drum, played by guys with, yes, face paint. (The latter has taken the additional step of dying his beard blue.)

To be honest, Fred Williamson looks like he’s really enjoying himself as "The Ogre". (And brother, can this dude ham it up pretttttty thick…)

Unbeknownst to the Ogre and the other killer pimps, the Hammer has made his way into the Tiger hideout. In fact, it turns out there’s a gigantic, unguarded hole in the ceiling directly over the Ogre’s throne. I mean, I had to rewind this scene to see if I had missed something, but no, it’s true: There is a 10-foot wide hole in the ceiling of the Tiger’s headquarters. Incredible.

Ok, now where was I…yes, a Tiger guard spots Trash making his way towards the Ogre and accosts him. This gives the Hammer an opportunity to kill the guard with Trash’s spiked-club which he had earlier purloined from Trash’s motorcycle. (Don’t ask. And by the way, wasn’t the Hammer just shown standing above the main room?) So now the Tigers think that Trash killed the guard, even though all Trash wanted to do was create an alliance, and blah blah blah. Can we just get this moving already?

Trash manages to break free and flee from the Tigers (like the wimp he is). The Hammer quickly corners him and gives Trash the Evil Guy’s Inevitable Monologue, which he concludes with a manly, "I’m Hammer…the Exterminator!" (Yes, this guy does have issues…)

"You’re the biggest son of a bitch in the world!" Trash trenchantly retorts.

Anyway, the Hammer holds Trash at gunpoint until the Tiger guards get close before he slips away. Trash, on the other hand, is captured and brought to the Ogre for interrogation.

Here’s a tasty bit of dialog for you, just to give you an idea of the crap I have to sit through for you, my dear reader:

Witch: "I saw somebody else pointing a gun at Trash. Really."

Ogre: "Really?"

Trash: "It was the Hammer."

Ogre: "The Hammuh?"

Beer break.

Ah. I’m back. Oh brother, they’re still talking. There really is a hell of a lot of talking in this movie.

Anyway, Trash convince the Ogre that the ‘Hammuh’ is behind the recent spate of gang murders, designed to get the Riders and the Tigers to wipe each other out.

"Yeah, that’s his style alright," Ogre wistfully notes, "Just so he can get off his, uh, sadistic rocks."

Meanwhile, Ice has made his way to Golan and the Zombies and is haggling for Ann’s release.

Oh wait. We artistically cut back to the Ogre and Trash.

"You just want my help to get your chick back," Ogre sagely concludes. After a pause the Ogre announces his decision, "OK. I’m with ya."

With Ya!

"OK. I’m with ya."

With the technicalities of this new alliance out of the way, Trash, Ogre, and Witch (Ogre’s weird leather-clad S&M babe) head out to deal with Golan and try to free Ann from the Zombies. Naturally, their path leads through the Scavengers territory…again…so we can eventually be treated to further boring battles. (I’d wager that the Scavengers are certainly the most well fed gang in the Bronx…)

As luck would have it, Trash stumbles upon the battered and bloody Blade who was trying to reach Trash to tell him of Ice’s betrayal. Oh yes, what a surprise. Blade has Just Enough Life left in him to gasp out the details of Ice’s betrayal before he, <sob>, expires.

Fist fight with the Scavengers!

The Hammer, meanwhile, has returned to Manhattan and reports his ‘progress’ to Fisher and Fred.

"If you don’t have Ann back by eleven o’clock, I’ll have your head!" Fisher snarls. (What’s with the deadline? Oh. It builds tension.)

Just then the phone rings and Hammer picks it up. It’s Hot Dog, who is oddly speaking via CB radio from his truck, so I’m not sure how in the hell he managed to ring Fisher’s phone. Anyway, Hot Dog informs the Hammer that he’s spotted Ann at the Zombies’ HQ, so now it’s just a matter of swooping in and snatching her away.

I really hoping that you’re as sick of all this as I am.

OK. The Ogre makes his way to Zombie HQ, starts an argument with Golan, and, duh, ends up killing him in a routine hand-to-hand sequence. (Key word: routine.) Naturally, none of Golan’s Roller Nazis lift a freakin’ finger to help him as the Ogre gets the best of him. No, they wait until their leader is dead, then skate in one by one to be decimated by the awesome trio of Trash, Ogre, and Witch.

BootIce, who has hidden behind a pillar during this mundane melee, waits until the chaos is at its apex before scurrying off. On his way back to, wherever (and if you can keep track of who the hell is running where, then my hat’s off to you), Ice meets a belligerent Hot Dog. (I apologize for that last sentence, but I didn’t make up these stupid character names.) Hot Dog is pissed off because Ice "screwed everything up " (?) and now he’s not going to get any money for Ann’s rescue.

Yadda, yadda. Ice pulls out a pistol and takes aim at Hot Dog, but Hot Dog has apparently loaded it with blanks. Quickly adapting to the situation at hand, Ice activates his boot-knife and plunges into Hot Dog’s gut. (Hot Dog: Thoust are also an idiot.)

Meanwhile, the Ogre and the Witch continue devastating the hapless Roller Nazis as Trash and Ann run off to find Ice. Sure enough, Trash quickly finds Ice in the vast warren of tunnels and the two rivals finally square off. To make a long story short, Ice starts running his mouth about how he made deals with Hammer and Golan in order to elevate Trash’s rank in the Bronx, but it all backfired because of a "lack of idealism". (!?) Because he’s a moron, Trash lowers his guard for a moment, which gives Ice the chance to grab up a piece of debris and start pounding on him.

The nonsense continues as <gasp> Trash loses his spiked club, which conveniently falls into some rubble with the spiked end pointed out. Now, I know I’m not Nostradamus, but I’m predicting that Ice is soon to be Ironically Impaled on Trash’s weapon. Well, that didn’t take long. In fact, Ice was Ironically Impaled even before I could finish typing the sentence.

Cut to see…and I shit you not…the Riders, lounging on their skull-adorned motorcycles (!), chillin’ with the Zombies in the Ogre’s Pimp-tastic HQ while Ann plays classical music on a grand piano. (!)

To say that this scene comes across a weeee-bit out of left field might be understating it.

HQ

Just another day in the the Bronx.

As the Tigers and the Riders chill out to music of Ann’s nimble fingers, back at Manhattan Corp, Fisher has had enough and orders Hammer to take a squad of men to the Tiger’s HQ and initiate "Operation Scorched Earth."

"I don’t want any evidence or any witnesses left behind," Fisher says.

"Ashes…(dramatic pause)…just ashes," says Hammer as he dons his patent leather police uniform and heads out to do battle.

Cut to see Operation Scorched Earth in full swing. This awesome task force seems to be composed of around 9 guys on horseback (!) wearing motorcycle helmets and armed with flame throwers. (Of course, these mounted maroons are filmed from a variety of angles to give the impression of a much greater number than they really are.)

Back in the Tigers’ head quarters, more insanity ensues. I’m assuming the writers were stoned at this point because we now see a pair of Mack Daddy’s carrying out a gigantic sponge cake in the shape of the New York skyline (!!) in celebration of Ann’s birthday.

Cake

Sponge Cake-dili-Astic!

I’m guessing that the Tigers really, really enjoy sponge cake, because not a single guard has been posted – as is evident by the way the Scorched Earth Squad (SES) quickly moves into position around the birthday party. In fact, the SES has also managed to ride their horses into the Tiger’s hideout without anybody noticing. (!!)

The fun begins as the Hammer, perched on the ledge of that gigantic hole in the headquarter’s roof (!), suddenly shouts a truly unusual battle cry:

"Let the enemy have no survivors this day! Horsemen: Torch ’em!"

Anyway, the Hammer stands at the hole and laughs (and man, I thought Fred could ham it up!) while the massacre below gets into high gear. Operation Scorched Earth is comprised of the horsemen riding around squirting small amounts of flaming goo from their <cough cough> flame throwers as the Tigers and Riders run willy-nilly back and forth squealing like a bunch of school girls.

After a while, Fred gets his Big Scene as he gets shot 5 times with an M-16. Five shots with an assault rifle to the torso doesn’t kill him outright, naturally, but it does put him at death’s door as he dramatically stumbles back to his throne. The Ogre lights up a cigar as the flames engulf him. Auteur! Auteur!

Meanwhile, Ann espies a SES dude taking aim at Trash and Nobly Takes A Bullet for him. Trash spins on his heels, kills the SES guy, and catches Ann in his arms. (Oddly, Ann has two bullet wounds in her chest even though she was only shot once. Strange. I guess they had an extra squib laying around that they wanted to use up.)

Ok, Ann dies in Trash’s arms. Trash, with tears streaming down his face, struggles to keep his composure as he silently vows to avenge his girlfriend’s death.

And brother, is Mark Gregory a terrible actor.

Looking up, Trash spots Hammer perched over the hole. Looking down, Trash spots one of the cop’s guns.

If that description was bland and unimaginative, then I’ve accurately described the last scene.

Actually, I’ve described the entire film.

Except for the weird Pimp-tastic Sponge Cake scene.

Man, that was weird.

Oh wait, it’s not a gun: it’s a hook-with-a-rope-tied-to-it launcher thingee that the cops used to attach ropes to the building’s roof so they could clamber up. (Which they never did even though we saw several cops launching them up onto the roof. Well, not actually several cops: the same cop over and over if you know what I mean.)

I figured it was time for this to happen: Trash going topless.

HookTrash, as usual completely unaware of anything happening around him, manages to get sprayed by a flame-thrower dude. This burst of flames sears his tender Italian flesh, forcing him to rip off his leather vest and expose his oily torso. (If you look quickly, you can plainly see that Trash is "pre-burned" before the flame thrower is fired at him!)

Trash, now terribly burned, well, not really, but he is strategically smeared with soot in order to emphasize his muscles, takes aim at Hammer who is busy gloating high overhead. As the Hammer simply stands there and shouts "The Hammer! The Hammer!", Trash raises his gun and fires the scaling-hook into Hammer’s gut.

With a yell worthy of an Italian B-Movie, the Hammer plunges down to the concrete floor below. Trash affixes the Hammer’s body to the back of his motorcycle via a long rope and rides off into the proverbial sunset. (Hilariously, you can see the stunt guy playing the "dead" Hammer struggling to keep his head and arms up off the ground as he is dragged behind the bike.)

Cut to see Trash riding along a dirt road with the Hammer’s <cough> ‘lifeless’ body being dragged along the ground and…

Freeze frame. Roll closing credits.

Ooooookay. Well, I guess that’s a wrap then.

The End.

Dennis Grisbeck (Feb 2007)

Afterthoughts

1990: The Bronx Warriorsstarted out relatively promising on the Cheese-o-Meter but quickly ran out of steam. It’s really too bad, since an Italian knock-off of Escape from New York is just beggin’ to be made fun of. Sadly, the second half of the film is lackluster and perfunctory, even for a cheapo like this. Truly, Trash is probably the least convincing "hero" I’ve ever scene. He seems like he’s sleepwalking through the entire film. Maybe he was overwhelmed by the whole affair, he was only 17 at the time. Still, dear sweet Lord above, he is a terrible actor.Do yourself a favor, skip this one unless you’re planning on watching this film’s sequel Escape 2000, which the MST3K gang did a hilarious job of ripping to pieces, and was in fact, much more entertaining than this dung heap.

Last but not least, another big thanks to Shack Proof Reader Sean Ledden for finding all of my typos and grammer mistakes.

Read more about 1990: The Bronx Warriors at

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6 comments to 1990: The Bronx Warriors (1982)

  • guts3d

    …Iā€™m assuming the writers were stoned at this point .

    Best line in the review! But I am thinking they were heavily medicated to write this. Or, they just made it up as they went along. Great review!

  • I’m pretty sure that the guys that designed the motorcycles with the glowing plastic skulls were heavily medicated at one time or another šŸ™‚

  • guts3d

    Nothing would say pure terror to me than a motorcycle with a glowing white plastic skull on it. What were they thinking? I doubt even Jerry’s kids would be frightened of that…

  • This is a prime example of 1980s trash that I love. I rented this back in 1986 when everyone was crazy about VCRs. I loved watching movies like this then and I still do today. šŸ™‚

  • guts3d

    A thousand monkeys in a room with a thousand typewriters… I’ll bet this is one of the scripts that those monkeys came up with!

  • nowhere

    … All that and not one mention of “The Warriors” as a source of, uhh inspiration? You deserve to have your bad movie expert credentials revoked!

    I’ve always assumed that the drummer is in the film because some guy just happened to be using the vacant lot as a place to practice without getting yelled at by the neighbors and the director said “what the hell!” and incorporated it into the film. Fun film. Not as crazy and fun as it should have been but still fun. I always wish that Fred Williamson could have been the lead in one of these Italian exploitation movies though as he usually has way more charisma than anyone else on screen.

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