1990: The Bronx Warriors (1982)

1990.  The Bronx.


Everyone has given up on the Bronx, leaving it to be run by a bunch of novelty gangs, including the barbaric rollerskating guys, and the formidable tapdancing Broadway gang.  But those guys are nothing compared with the generic motorcycle gang, the Riders, led by Ice and Trash.  They are one of those movie gangs that are actually just a bunch of fun-loving guys in a bad situation with hearts of gold.

Trash and his gang end up saving a girl who has escaped to the Bronx from her rich father, but her father will stop at nothing to get her back- including hiring an ex-Bronx psycho named Hammer.  Hammer starts playing the gangs against one another and before you know it there is a full-scale war as the Riders attempt to reach the base of the Tigers, crossing over the territory of multiple bizarre gangs.

So obviously this is a low budget ripoff of The Warriors (1979).  Usually this would be a disaster,
but there if there is one thing 80s Italy was good at, it was ripping off movies on low budgets.  And as a result, this movie is really very good!

Let's get the bad stuff out of the way.  The gangs are admittedly ridiculous.  The acting is all over the map; like most Italian productions in the 80s, it's likely that some actors acted in English, and others had their Italian acting dubbed over in English.  Trash is a bizarre character: he's supposed to be a badass fighter with a heart of gold, but he looks totally awkward at all times, like the actor was never comfortable with the role but is trying his best to work with everyone.

That is literally all that is wrong with this movie.  Everything else is amazing.  The sets looks fantastic, the costumes (while bizarre) look great, and the plot is surprisingly straightforward for an Italian exploitation movie. 

I think a lot of thought actually went into making this movie.  You get a few scenes showing gang rituals/culture and each gang has its unique quirks.  Most Italian exploitation movies just string together a bunch of the most memorable scenes from the movie they are ripping off.  While Bronx Warriors does this to an extent, it doesn't feel forced at all and thus comes highly recommended.

Four of the Apocalypse (1975)

Stumpy "Stumpy" Preston is an incompetent gambler who loses every single game he plays during the movie (or gets caught cheating).  Bunny is a pregnant prostitute.  Bud is crazy, but in that lovable way.  Clem is the town drunk, but also in that lovable way.  Combing their formidable powers, the four are able to survive a vicious attack on the town but since everyone else is dead they have no choice but to travel the land until they find something.

Along they way they run into both friends and enemies, including a seriously psychotic guy who might be a little of both (mostly the latter).

So why is there a western movie on this blog?  Well, it just so happens that this movie was directed by Lucio Fulci, the Italian goremeister and after watching all of his actual horror movies
I decided to give this one a watch.

It's a pretty good movie to be honest with you.  It's a little nonsensical (kind of like all of Fulci's movies...) but that really just adds to the charm.  It's a very dark western- everyone has got their flaws, and lots of innocent people die horribly.  With a couple of minor changes this could easily become a Mad Max-like post-apocalyptic movie.

The tone is a little uneven.  One minute our heroes are a-whoopin' and a-hollerin' while they shoot their guns at the sky and dead birds rain down from the heavens.  The next minute, someone is getting skinned alive.  It's kind or reminiscent of Cannibal Holocaust (though not nearly as brutal and not as effective).

It's pretty violent for a western, but Fulci fans will be let down by what few gore effects are here.  Gunshot wounds are pleasantly wet and chunky, but the skinning scene is only effective due to the acting, since the effect is so lame.  Yes, at this point in my movie hobby I am rating movies by how effective their gore effects are.

I watched the English dub and it was fine.  Accents seemed to change from scene to scene and there was a lot of unconvincing screaming, but nothing too bad.

It's no Unforgiven, no The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, no El Topo.  Maybe not even Young Guns.  But it's an entertaining 90 minutes of gritty western movie.