Welcome to a new column from Jeffery X Martin. Prime in the Dustbin will dig through the movies on Amazon Prime that look like complete trash and then review them. Because sometimes you find gems buried in the dirt.
Taking place concurrently with Walter Hill’s classic action-adventure, The Warriors AlamoCity is a feature length fan film that adds some backstory to the original with a little retconning for good measure. Did you know there was a Texas branch of the Warriors? Me neither, but that’s where we are. Like the Coney Island Warriors, this gang is comprised of the whitest kids you know with one African-American thrown in for good measure, and a few Latinos because Texas. When the War Chief’s little brother gets killed by an unknown gang, the Warriors go on the hunt for those responsible.
We get some callbacks to the original film, including some mentions of Cyrus, the leader of the NYC gang the Gramercy Riffs, as a practically mythical creature and a female DJ communicating with the gangs over the radio. But we don’t get a glimpse of the Warriors running single-file down flights of stairs until about 46 minutes in. Heck, we don’t get a good fight scene until about halfway through the movie. We also get some weird plot elements that don’t seem to fit within the Warriors mythology. Why would the War Chief of a street gang be working with the cops? Why would said cops share privileged police information with the previously mentioned War Chief? Me no know.
The budget limitations are the real star of the show here, and in a serious case of overcompensation, there’s an overuse of polarization. Half the scenes look like the post-nuclear skies from Damnation Alley. It’s like the filmmakers got hold of an old Video Toaster file and went to town. Exterior lighting is practically non-existent, mostly consisting of streetlights and passing headlights. That’s a telltale sign of guerrilla filmmaking, and I’m not against that. I watch Larry Cohen movies. But it makes it difficult to tell one character from the other, and there are a lot of characters to keep up with.
There’s some hot Warriors love in this movie, and for the most past, an attempt was made to be respectful to the original. The final fight scene is decent, despite some terribly thrown working punches. The crowd scenes are filmed better than the two-shots, and there’s a good handheld camera freneticism in the third act that I kind of got into. I’m also amazed at the soundtrack, which includes portions of Barry DeVorzon’s original score. Fair Use Act, maybe? This doesn’t seem like a big enough production to have taken care of licensing fees
The script could have used two or three more passes. While it is almost coherent, some of the dialogue seemed improvised, and not always done well. The reliance on weird visual enhancements makes it difficult to look at. But there’s some passion at the core of it all. Not enough to redeem the whole thing, but it’s certainly more heartfelt than some of the bland flyover-friendly ticket-shifters I’ve seen from major studios over the last decade.
The Warriors didn’t need a sequel. It didn’t even need that director’s cut with the comic book splash panels and overtly mythological extra material. While not exactly a second chapter to the tale, I did not hate The Warriors AlamoCity. I fully expected to. Blame the movie’s flaws on its budget, which looks to be about the same as three two-liter bottles of root beer. Visually, it’s a nightmare, but its heart is in the right place. In times like these, where movies have traded their souls for product placement deals, having a heart is half the battle.
Boppers, you can check out The Warriors AlamoCity on Amazon Prime US.