Warriors, The (1979)

The Warriors (1979), directed by Walter Hill.

After a convocation of street gangs breaks down, the Warriors have to make it back to Coney Island through miles of enemy territory, making this a Lost Patrol story. They face many challenges and temptations. Walter Hill aims to please and we have loads of running and fighting.

What I notice after all these years is how young, whiney and un-tough the kids seem. The gang costumes were always strange but now they seem ludicrous. Still, it's a fable with comic book transitions; every off-beat bit just serves to make it more mythical.

My favorite part is when some clean scrubbed party-goers board the train and sit across from our worn and travel-stained heroes. We have fear from the "straights", but both embarrassment and disdain from the gang. That's why young people cheer the Warriors: the gang life is raw and authentic as contrasted with the phoney life of social convention the rest of us live.

According to the wikipedia article, the critics hated it at the time ("a ghastly folly", "banal dialogue") but now it gets 93% at Rotten Tomatoes. How does that happen? Do new generations of reviewers have entirely different sensibilities, or do the reviewers just herd together, even when revising their opinions over time?

Available on Blu-ray. I don't remember what this looked like originally (did I see it in a theater?) but the colors are neon bright and the image is super-sharp and de-grained. Even if that is cinematic abuse of the source, it is undeniably vivid.