Italian

November 10, 2014

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – The Bronx Warriors 2: Escape From the Bronx

ENTERTAINING

We narrowly survived the Bronx. Now, will we be able to “Escape From the Bronx“? Oh yeah, the “Action Movie Time Machine” is synched into the appropriate time stream. All aboard to visit the sequel to “1990: The Bronx Warriors“. Now I don’t want to hear any complaining. This parallel time destination was very difficult to pinpoint since it didn’t take place during any specific time. Just “several years later”. I had to fast-forward through nearly an entire decade before I found it. Even if it’s fast forwarded, a decade is WAY more time than I ever want to spend in the Bronx.

The year is 1983. James Woods grew a tummy vagina in “Videodrome”, Michael Jackson & Vincent Price hit the MTV airwaves in the form of “Thriller”, and NASA’s Challenger space shuttle takes flight for the first time. All this and Henry Silva commits genocide in “Escape From the Bronx”.

THE SKINNY
Picking up where we left off, several years later, the General Construction Corporation is another god sized corporation, much like the Manhattan Corporation of the first film. They have managed to pay off the governor of New York who in turn has granted the GCC permission to forcibly relocate the inhabitants of the Bronx to a cookie cutter suburb in New Mexico. With the people gone, the GCC will build a new, lavish city for the rich on top of the ruins of the old one. It’s like the Delta City from “Robocop”.

The only problem with this is, the people don’t want to move from their urban homes and when they resist they are either shot or set on fire by the “Disinfestation Annihilation Squad“. Oh and one more thing, there is no cookie cutter suburb in New Mexico. That is all just a story to tell the media. As the residence are being relocated, the GCC keeps coming up with clever ways for “accidents” to happen. Accidents that kill everyone.
The gangs of the Bronx have banded together and have found refuge in the underground tunnels of the Bronx. Trash has been keeping busy collecting ammunition for the immanent war against the GCC.

It’s just another day in the hood for Trash, until he returns home to visit his parents and finds their home is being looted. He fights past the looters to find that his mother and father, the people who brought little Trash into this world, the only parents in the world willing to hang a poster of their gang leader son in their living room… So he finds them dead. The DAS set them on fire when Trash’s father fought back against their eviction.
Trash is enraged and flees to the tunnels to gather support from the remaining gangs. Trash is out for blood.
 
Meanwhile, a nosey reporter, Moon Grey, ventures into the Bronx to conduct some hard hitting detective work to expose the GCC killings. Once she finds her way into the tunnels she happens into the underground lair of the Bronx Warriors (the various gangs). Together Moon, Trash and the rest discuss a plan of action. They decide to fortify the tunnels with weapons and booby-traps to protect themselves from the DAS while Trash, Moon and a man named Strike venture to the surface to kidnap the President of the GCC. With President Henry Clark in their grasp they will be able to hold the DAS and the GCC at bay while getting the attention of the media.
The leader of the DAS, Floyd Wrangler, Henry Silva, is one bad dude. He’s the type who isn’t interested in the finer things in life, just killing. He is the one behind all of the so called “accidents”. Wrangler is hip to the underground tunnels and starts to mobilize units for an invasion. Scratch that. It’s not an invasion, it’s an extermination.
While the DAS mobilization begins, Trash, Moon and Strike, who is now accompanied by his nine year old bomb making son, snake their way through the tunnels to a ground breaking ceremony where they grab President Clark. Moon creates a distraction and gets shot in the process. Trash & Strike pull Clark into the tunnels and lead the DAS and police into a maze of bombs cleverly placed by Strike’s son.
After the kidnapping heroes reunite with the Bronx Warriors, they are soon joined by the DAS and police. A battle breaks out and for a while the Warriors seem like they are going to win. This brings Wrangler to call for “the gas”. They begin pumping poison gas into the tunnels and those who survive move above ground where the fight continues.
Now I know your worried about President Clark, wouldn’t the gas get him too? Well he managed to escape during the fighting but when Wrangler finds him his is shot twice in the chest. As it turns out, Wrangler had a side agreement with the Vice-President of GCC. Like I said, Wrangler is one bad dude.
The battle continues and much like the first film, it’s hard to tell who the winner is. Everyone is dead except Trash, Strike and his son. The goals of the Bronx Warriors and the GCC were never reached. The Bronx is all but leveled and burning and then the credits roll. The End.
THE VERDICT
I like that our protagonist and hero is named Trash. He is written off by the police, the government, and the upper class as some gutter rat because, well, that’s more or less what he is. A piece of garbage blowing through the Bronx streets. But this is also what has made him a survivor. Living on the mean streets is has made him tough and has taught to fight and win. He is the victor of the proletariat against the untrustworthy and murderous bourgeoisie. Viva Trash!
In a nut shell, this class warfare concept is the heart of “Escape From the Bronx”. This idea has been done before, but as a sequel to “1990: The Bronx Warriors”, it really stands out. Most sequels offer up little more than “more of the same”, especially when there is a decrease in budget. But this film expands upon the original in a way that makes me want to watch third Bronx movie. If there was one.
Using words like “proletariat” and “bourgeoisie” implies some European philosophy. Don’t forget that these films are Italian, and it shows. While the action in this film is more developed with shootouts and explosions, it still has a somewhat subdued feel. Things explode, but they explode slowly. This isn’t really a fault of the film, but a noticeable cultural difference in the way American and Italian filmmakers work their craft. This is something that is seen quite a bit to those who watch many European films.
Also, the dialogue, again, is dubbed. While it sounds good, there are some bits of dialogue that… aren’t natural. In the scene where the President of the company is kidnapped, a police officer comments on the way Strike runs. “Look at him run…he‘s such a fag!”. LOLWUT?! It’s like if a character, ANY character is on screen the dubbers felt compelled to have them say something. Many laughs can be had at the expense of this mostly good film. Just add a few tasty brews.
 
I have to say, for all the post apocalyptic flicks of the VHS era, there were only a handful that were memorable. And for good reason. I can’t quite wrap my head around why a production studio would even attempt to create such high concept environments that rely so heavily on special effects, props, futuristic vehicles and weapons. They almost always look like such crap. Fortunately the two Bronx Warriors films are better than most. Maybe because they tried to keep it simple. For more on the Bronx Warriors, visit the official website.
There are a LOT of post apocalyptic, straight to video, buckets or boring shit, and most can be found conveniently on YouTube. So to do this action movie sub genre justice we will be paying a visit to whatever no budget, boring, nothing crap that I can dial in on the ol’ “Action Movie Time Machine”. I’ll save the “Terminator” films and others for another time. It’s only fair.
I’m Cory Carr and this concludes another trip on the “Action Movie Time Machine”. Until next time, Semper Fi Punk!
For more from Cory, check out his website slaughterfilm.com, where he and his good friend Forest Taylor record weekly podcasts, reviewing the films that are legendary, even in Hell!
October 31, 2014

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – 1990: The Bronx Warriors

ITALIAN

Lace up your Chuck Taylors and throw on a flannel shirt, we’re taking a trip to the ’90s. A ’90s of a PARALLEL TIME!
The year is 1982. Both funny man John Belushi and guitar shredder Randy Rhoads pass away.  Rocker Wendy O Williams sues several Milwaukee police for physical abuse endured while she arrested. “Ghandi” and “Conan the Barbarian” share the silver screen – now that’s a fight I’d like to see. And the compact disc is debut.
All aboard! The “Action Movie Time Machine” is dialed into the time stream of “1990: The Bronx Warriors”, a film that predicts the post apocalyptic world of New York City in 1990.
THE SKINNY
The film is set in the post apocalyptic New York City of 1990. The Bronx, where our story unfolds, is controlled by several vicious gangs who patrol their territories and coordinate their Technicolor outfits for maximum bad-ass-itude. The gang related crime has become so great that all attempts to restore law and order have been unsuccessful, and the Bronx is now regarded a “no man’s land” by the authorities. All of this we learn from the films “Escape from New York” style prologue.

 
The film begins with seventeen year old Ann, who has runaway from her Manhattan Catholic school and found her way into the Bronx. Soon she is discovered and attacked by one of the many colorful gangs following in the footsteps of such films as “The Warriors”. Her attackers are the Zombies. A gang who’s mode of transportation is roller skates. Their weapons are white hockey sticks and they wear matching white Stahlhelme (Nazi helmets). Soon Ann’s attackers are confronted by a rival gang,  the Riders, who are nothing more than a biker gang. the Riders dish out a bit of the ol’ ultra violence to the Zombies and Trash, The Rider’s leader, takes Ann as his biker bride. Ann doesn’t seem to mind. She and Trash hit it off and spend the following days making underage love.

Ann has escaped a world of privilege and power to live in… the Bronx. She could have used her family’s money and influence to go anywhere in the world, but she chose the Bronx. The gang infested – ghetto-ass Bronx. Why you ask? Well she is running from responsibility. Once she turns eighteen she will inherit the family business, The Manhattan Corporation, which is the largest single company in the United States. In short she doesn’t want her life devoted to the  board meetings and conference calls of a god sized entity that influences the decisions of first world countries and owning those of the second and third. Instead… she chooses the Bronx. That’ll show that stuffy old board of directors.
In order to get Ann away from danger and back into Catholic school, the vice-president of the company sends in a private contractor, a man who goes by the name Hammer, to infiltrate the Bronx, track and retrieve Ann. The Riders learn about Hammer when he gets a little too close to the gang while doing some recon. He happens upon a member of the Riders and his lady getting’ busy in a stairwell of an abandoned apartment building. Hammer shoots them both point blank in the chest with a shotgun. The noise alerts Trash and the rest who search the building and chase Hammer but can’t catch him.
Around this time another of the Riders turns up dead. This time at the hands of the gang known as the Tigers – a gang of well dressed pimps. He was found trespassing on Tiger territory, so The Ogre, leader of the Tigers played by Fred “The Hammer” Williamson, removes his heart as a punishment. In the process, The Ogre discovers that he was wearing a “gizmo” (a police issue tracking device). This news gets back to the Riders and causes them to quarrel among themselves. Some think it’s all a lie and The Ogre is moving in on their territory. However, Trash has had a long conversation with Ann, who believes all these killings are connected and are the doing of the Manhattan Corporation. Trash devises a plan to  take his best men, travel through the other territories and meet with The Ogre. With The Ogre on his side, the gangs could team up and smoke out Hammer and whoever else has ties to the Manhattan Corporation.

Along the way, Trash and his men encounter several other gangs who they must defeat. First the Iron Men – a gang of face painted, tap dancing theater types, then the Scavengers – a nomadic group or club wielding barbarians and finally the Tigers who they have to fight their way thou before they earn an audience with The Ogre. When they do, The Ogre and the Tigers are on board.
Meanwhile, Ice, one of the Riders, has been making a power play to lead the gang. He has made a deal with Hammer – telling him Trash’s plan to team up with The Ogre. Ice then meets with the leader of the Zombies, who’ve captured Ann, and convinces them to use Ann as bate to draw in Trash and eliminate him for good.

Everything comes to a head when The Ogre and Trash arrive at the Zombies’ hideout. The Ogre takes on the Zombie leader while Trash frees Ann and gets his revenge for Ice turning traitor. They then battle their way out against the entire Zombie gang before they return to the Tiger’s territory where they, together, defend themselves against a Hammer lead invasion of police armed with flame throwers.
This invasion is an all out slaughter. People are set on fire left and right. Over half of the people who bite it in this entire film die here in this final scene along with The Ogre, Hammer and even Ann. The only survivor is Trash, who rides out into the sunset dragging Hammer’s body by his motorcycle. The End.
THE VERDICT
“1990: The Bronx Warriors” comes from Italian director Enzo Castellari and I believe THIS is the reason it falls into both the good and bad categories. While it isn’t original, which I’m sure you figured out for yourself from my referencing of several other similar films, but it is original enough in it’s own right. It is well filmed, acted and scored but has a distinct European feel to it which detracts from it’s action packed potential. It’s a bit subdued compared to American made action films of the same vintage.
Being an Italian film made in the States, the film is largely made up of an Italian speaking cast who have all been dubbed, which makes for some pretty interesting lines of dialogue… Or, maybe it’s the script that has been translated which makes for the interesting dialogue. Anyhow, one of my favorite  lines came from Trash when the Riders were discussing some planted evidence found where Hammer killed the two with his shotgun; “Look, it could be a pile of shit outta somebodies asshole!”. Weirdly specific when he could have just said; “Look, it could just be bullshit for all we know!”.
Speaking of Hammer. Why didn’t Fred “The Hammer” Williamson play the character Hammer? Sure Fred looks better dressed as a tough guy pimp, but with a name like that it just makes sense.
 
There were two other things that seemed strange that I would like to point out. The first occurs when The Ogre and The Tigers pay the Riders a visit to tell them about the “gizmo”. The whole time this scene goes on, there is a drummer playing. No, I mean the drummer is sitting next to the Riders, beating the skins all alone and I don’t know why he’s there other than he is REALLY good. Why set up your drum kit in the middle of nowhere just to play for a biker gang? Did the Riders call him ahead of time to let him know when they would be there, or does he always practice there and today there just so happened to be some heavy gang related shit going down?
 
The second thing occurs when Ann is being rescued from the Zombies. As she watches Trash beat up some Zombie gang members in slow motion, she starts to breath heavy and her lip quivers. She is totally turned on by Trash’s brain bashing machismo. Then, moments later, as Trash is talking to Ann, who is sitting on the ground, we see the back of Trash and his mace like weapon poking out from in front of him. It just so happens to be at Ann’s eye level and she can’t take her eyes off of it. This is phallic as all hell. Leave it to an Italian filmmaker to come up with a way to turn that scene into a hidden moment of sex.
 
So in the end, it’s unfortunate that “1990: The Bronx Warriors” isn’t very original, but it is also too good to be bad. I feel that this could easily be a forgotten cult classic if it was able to stand out more from it’s peers with more than odd dialogue and sexual innuendo. In my opinion it should have been a full blown grindhouse flick with boobs and blood galore. Maybe it’s sequel “Escape from the Bronx” has a little more to offer.
Again, it’s not a bad film. Maybe if you’re bored with “The Warriors” you should give this one a try.
I’m Cory Carr and this concludes our trip on the “Action Movie Time Machine”. Until next time, Semper Fi!
For more from Cory, check out his website slaughterfilm.com, where he and his good friend Forest Taylor record weekly podcasts, reviewing the films that are legendary, even in Hell!

May 8, 2013

The Lords of Salem

GROWTH

The Lords of Salem – Growth

There are certain people that like to co-opt the horror genre and whore it out for their own needs (Michael Bay, I’m looking at you) and others that have a feeling for the genre and try to pay homage while trying to create something new that either hasn’t been done before, or hasn’t been done for decades.  Rob Zombie is a little bit of both.  Overall, I like Zombie.  White Zombie was a kick ass band, his solo efforts were solid, even if they were a little more on the industrial rock side, but when I first heard he was getting into the horror movie making business I thought about films like “Monster Dog” “Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein” and other assorted crappy movies that happened to have musicians associated with them.  Out comes “House of 1000 Corpses” while not perfect, was still entertaining and was instant nostalgia.  Fast forward 10 years and we have Zombie’s newest, and most mature effort, with “The Lords of Salem,” once again starring Sheri Moon Zombie’s ass.

“Lords” plot revolves around a Salem disc jockey, played by Moon Zombie, a recovering drug addict who begins to have strange, demonic visions.  After listening to a mysterious record from a new band ironically-called “The Lords” her visions begin to intensify complete with giant hairy monsters, bleeding walls, and perverted priests (well, the last one very well could have been real).  Complete with witches and a town conspiracy, “Lords” is a modern day Dario Argento film, very similar to “Suspiria” or “Deep Red.”

There’s no doubt that director Zombie has an eye for film.  His shot compositions are put together very well in “Lords,” he knows just how long to linger on a shot, and I commend him for being very practical with his special effects, I have a hard time forgiving him for his “fake blood and bullet hits” in “The Devil’s Rejects” but it looks like he has finally moved beyond that and gone back to basics.

The acting is still a struggle, as it usually is in his movies.  There is overacting, underacting, and everything in-between   I’ll go out on a limb and say it’s the best acting in a Zombie film so far, which isn’t saying a lot, but it’s not as bad as “Halloween 2.”  While I understand it, I don’t think Sheri Moon Zombie is a leading lady.  She’s a scream queen at this point, and always will be, but I don’t think she is strong enough to hold together an entire picture, but she does a decent job as the disturbed lead, Heidi Hawthrone.  As is normal for a Zombie film, you get plenty of cameos by some great genre actors, namely Sid Haig, Michael Berryman, and the almost unrecognizable Meg Foster from “They Live.”  It’s almost like she was channeling Grima Wormtongue from the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

Overall, if you like Rob Zombie, you won’t be let down by his latest effort.  Like I said, it’s his strongest since “1000 Corpses,” but don’t go in expecting blood and guts all over the wall.  While there is gore, it’s more nuanced and the film relies on sense of dread instead of buckets of blood.  Also, as a warning, if you are bothered by excessive amounts of weirdness and hate music videos, you might want to skip the end of the film…..it gets……odd, to say the least.

Fun Fact:  During the Salem Witch Trials, which lasted from 1692-1693, 27 people were killed by the means of hanging, pressing, and while detained in prison.

Welcome to the new home of SimplisticReviews.net - We're currently still working on the site. You might notice a few issues, please be patient with us. Thanks! (Store also in testing — no orders shall be fulfilled.)
Scroll to top