The Bronx Warriors: Reviewing The Wasteland
If you’re unfamiliar with The Bronx Warriors, directed by Enzo G Castellari, it’s part of the 80’s Italian Post-Apocalyptic sub-genre.
The sub-genre itself consists of several films that marry a mix of popular Western movies, notably Escape From New York, The Warriors, Mad Max/Mad Max 2 etc. Other titles in the sub-genre include Endgame, 2019 The Fall of New York, The New Barbarians and Escape From The Bronx.
Anyway, lets dive into the movie in question!
The Bronx Warriors has a simple plot which is to expected of such a derivative movie. A 17 year old heiress (Anna), played by genre favourite Stefania Girolami, is set to become the owner of the nefarious Manhattan Corporation when she turns 18. Unable to handle the guilt of presiding over such a despicable company she decides to run away only to be pursued by Hammer, Vic Morrow in full bastard mode and various other cohorts of the Manhattan Corporation. There is also a sub-plot centring around an undercover cop infiltrating the main protagonists,
Trash played by Marco Di Gregorio, gang. In terms of plot that’s pretty much it, nothing fancy, but these kinds of movies aren’t made to make you think, They’re made to be fun and in this respect The Bronx Warriors delivers that and more!!
The main protagonist is played, as we know, by Marco Di Gregorio. A young Italian actor who disappeared from the scene in 1989.
In The Bronx Warriors he plays Trash and although he certainly won’t win any awards for his acting he takes on the role with great aplomb and pulls off the action hero role pretty well. Although it must be said he has THE campest run of any action hero I’ve seen, his leaps and jumps would also put Billy Elliot to shame but with a film like this it all adds to the fun.
Marco Di Gregorio (Trash)
His look is very much in the Rambo mould and his street attire is very much “borrowed” from the movies Mad Max and The Warriors but overall he looks the part and adds some small level of cool to the proceedings.
The main female role is pretty much the same as with all movies of this genre, little more than a damsel in distress that screams/pouts/cries their way through the film. But at least Stefania Girolami brings some emotional subtlety to the role, something that is usually lacking from many lead actresses in similar movies. It’s interesting to note that her movie career also ended in 1989. But unlike Di Gregorio she has carved out a new career as an Assistant Director, working on several popular US TV Shows (American Gothic, Dawsons Creek).
Throughout the movie she looks good and pulls the appropriate face at the appropriate time, but don’t expect anything to rival Meryl Streep in terms of acting. She is, after all, an Italian genre actress. Although the scene set on the beach halfway through the movie when Anna and Trash discuss the virtues of Life/Death and everything in between, does show a better than average grasp of emotional acting.
Stefania Girolami (Anna)
Although the two main leads will be largely unknown to most western audiences Bronx Warriors does have some more familiar faces lurking in support roles. As previously mentioned Vic Morrow plays the role of bad ass bad guy Hammer, Fred Williamson (Former NFL star turned actor) appears as the fantastically named Ogre with support from former model Elisabetta Detty as Witch with the ever present George Eastman (Luigi Montefiori as he is known to his family) dominating the screen as Golem!!
George Eastman could have an article, or 20, written about him and his appearances in many 80s Italian genre films but suffice to say he is as commanding as ever on screen and puts in a typically solid performance. Unusually for George his involvement with the movie is minimal as he only acts in this release. His fans will know he is usually a multi tasker, often staring, directing, writing or producing.
Maybe on this occasion he was too busy admiring his rather fetching red/black power shoulder pad jacket in the mirror?
George Eastman (Golem)
Elisabetta Detty (Witch) and Fred Williamson (Ogre)
All in all the supporting cast is very solid and the appearance of some familiar faces helps to add a little extra gravitas and air of professionalism to a relatively inexperienced leading duo. As I previously commented about the leading pair, don’t expect any Oscar winning performance but enjoy the cheesy dialogue and OTT acting doled out in a serious, yet knowingly, tongue-in-cheek fashion.
Regarding the movie itself, yeah it’s highly derivative and the acting is not the best, the effects are better than average but not the best I’ve seen, not the best I’ve seen in a low budget Italian movie to be honest. But the gusto of the actors and the solid directing do make up for its short falls. The final battle is full of action and moments of suspense that show that when you have a team of professionals who are dedicated to the job a small budget can be used to great effect (Michael Bay take note).
Oh and it must be said that the “Ninja Cabaret” scene half way through the movie is a definite highlight. You can’t beat some 80s beat-em-up-dancing fun!!
In summary I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone who is a fan of action, whether it be big budget Hollywood fare or low budget Italian rip-offs. The acting is OK, the effects are OK and the script is OK. But when you put them all together, under the solid direction of Enzo Castellari, a little bit of magic happens and you end up with a fantastic, fun filled 90 minutes. If you do enjoy this movie I suggest you check out the titles I mentioned earlier in this review, all of which are similar in terms of acting, plot etc but pack a dynamite action punch!!!
Words by Ryan Peplow