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The Warriors - Music From The Motion Picture Soundtrack Review

Warriors … come out to play-ee-yayyy! Warriors … come out to play-ee-yayyy!”

by Chris McEneany Aug 16, 2013


Movies review

1

SRP: £19.99

“Warriors … come out to play-ee-yayyy! Warriors … come out to play-ee-yayyy!”

Seriously, how could you possibly resist such an invitation?

Walter Hill exploded the gang mythos of New York, Brooklyn, the Bronx and, of course, Coney Island in 1979’s electrifying modern–day Western-cum-Spartan odyssey of uber-macho, anti-authoritarian lawlessness on the neo-futuristic streets of a Big Bad Apple. Based upon Sol Yurick’s grandslamming novel of the same name, it is the story of one gang, The Warriors, who have been framed for the murder of the new youth culture messiah, Cyrus (Roger Hill), during a huge, city-wide gang pow-wow designed to unify the hundreds of usually warring tribes in order to take over the streets from the police, and are now on the run. In desperation they have to battle their way back to their home turf of Coney Island through miles of hostile land, with every other gang out for their blood … and hopefully clear their name in the process.

Hill’s neon-flecked alpha-male juggernaut of heroic aggression, survival and camaraderie is a bright, colourful and violent comic-book brought to vivid, exciting and super-cool life. The imagery is brutally spectacular and somehow manages to mix lurid thuggery with dark Manhattan camp to create a beautifully bruising tableau of testosterone that has since surpassed any form of dated vintage to become a true, spray-painted cult classic of bat-swinging, bone-breaking street theatre. For as action-packed as the drama is, this is also a display of the avant-garde. The gangs are surreal, as is the notion of them holding so much sway over the land … yet still be enslaved to poor train services.

The Warriors, themselves, are a superbly realized crew of ne’er-do-wells who, nevertheless, are the good guys. You can’t see these boys mugging old ladies or trashing subway trains. They are a family, probably flung together for a variety of reasons, and they are clearly more intelligent, witty and eloquent than all those they encounter. Naturally – these are the heroes of the story, and we have to root for them. Yurick’s novel pulled far less punches and wasn’t so clean-cut. He had them rape and murder in order to make it through the night, but the screenplay adaptation from Hill, himself, and David Shaber, sought to mellow them and their gang-ethic. Hill fixated upon the semi-mythological tale of a Greek army trapped thousands of miles deep into enemy land and battling every step of the way back to the coast. He has always been fascinated by military and antiheroic courage in the face of adversity, seeking a la Kurosawa and Peckinpah to expose and study the primal bravery that drives such character on through endless trial and tribulation. Just because this was about gangs in a savage New York underworld didn’t mean it wouldn’t champion the nobility and dignity of self-resolve and group honour. The Warriors, more than any other gang, he seems to be stating, have an esprit de corps. They are, by chance and personality alchemy, blood-brothers who will stand by one another until the end. In another age, they would have had Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Richard Harris and Charlton Heston among their number.

Nevertheless, a great cast was assembled.

Cleon, the doomed but dignified leader of the Warriors was Dorsey Wright, who goes down swinging and defending his innocence and pride. Michael Beck, as Swan, assumes command as war chief, a bold and quick-thinking unifier, who does not give in to the hotheaded, pugilistic urges of Ajax, played the great James Remar, who would become a regular fixture in early Hill pictures, and would even pair-up with the intimidating Sonny Landham, who is seen as a cop here, for the villainous duo in Hill’s 48 Hrs. Brian Tyler and David Harris provide solid backup as Snow and Cochise, the former more pragmatic whilst the latter a little more opportunistic. Weakest of the bunch are the loveable Cowboy (Tom McKittrick), the lady-seeking Vermin (Terry Micho) and the spray-painting mascot, Rembrandt (Marcelino Sanchez). But one of the better characters in the crew is the ever-thoughtful and sagely diplomatic Fox, played by The Thing’s Thomas Waites. Waites, as terrific as he is in the film, ended up having problems and legal wranglings over the production and, as a result, had his name removed from the credits. Together, they make a formidable and believable conglomerate.

Equally as kinetic, exhilarating and scruff-of-the-neck grabbing was the superb soundtrack that aided The Warriors in their cross-city ordeal of life and death on the mean streets. With score elements composed by Barry DeVorzon to complement some terrific song choices, the music of The Warriors is a breakneck fusion of funk, R&B, Motown, early techno and pulsating synth licks that combine SF with cutting-edge prog-rock.

La-La Land’s awesome new limited release contains the original A&M Album, nicely remastered, plus DeVorzon’s Original Motion Picture Score in its entirety for the first time. This even contains alternate and unused tracks. The release is limited to 3000 copies.

Let’s look at the score, itself, first, and then charge our way through the songs. The score commences from Track 11.Withou the songs that flit in-between the action, the narrative flow, here, may seem disjointed, but I am sticking with the tracks as they occur on the album and providing an overview of what is happening onscreen.

In a time when synth-based film-scores were becoming all the rage, what with John Carpenter regularly tooling-up his Moogs for Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween and The Fog, Vangelis and Maurice Jarre creating tonal textures, and even Jerry Goldsmith using provocative electronica to enhance and mystify, a totally new and spellbinding form of aural decoration was the vogue. And since this was cutting-edge stuff, then Walter Hill wanted to explore its possibilities in his own quasi-future tale of a place that was recognizable, yet still acutely removed from the norm.

We commence with the splendidly eerie lullaby for the Coney Island Wonder Wheel, the symbol of the Warrior’s home. The sleazy rundown resort is perfectly voiced with this sliding, sickly plinking of the ghostly Wurlitzer. It’s a haunting 2-note echoing refrain descriptive of dilapidation and disdain, yet it also reveals the loyalty that the gang has for their “little piece of turf” in its glistening eeriness. This then kicks gloriously into the swirling, gyro-funky disco beat of the Theme from The Warriors in what becomes a classic piece of montage coverage in the film. As the emissaries from all the various gangs from New York make their way to the big meeting with Cyrus and the governing super-gang, the Gramercy Riffs, DeVorzon’s powerful, steady rhythm buzzes into a sizzling guitar riff that pulses through a jamming of drums, buffeting waves of synth phases, energized bass line and keyboards. The film depicts, in a brilliantly edited sequence, these wackily costumed “soldiers” boarding trains and progressing through the city. A stylistic touch that Hill refused to budge from was the cuts in the music that revealed the naïve Rembrandt asking each of his buddies what they knew about Cyrus. Not represented here, obviously, this works surprisingly well in the movie, actually adding momentum whenever we return to the driving mission music, further establishing the importance of the grand meeting and the almost mystical respect that Cyrus commands. This is also how we get to meet the main members of The Warriors, led by Cleon

After things turn very bad at the big pow-wow and Cyrus is shot dead, mid-speech, by Luther (David Patrick Kelly) the irresponsible leader of The Rogues, everyone panics and Cleon, blamed by Luther for the slaying, is beaten to death by the Riffs. The Warriors, in amidst the chaos, make a getaway and plunge into the darkness. Getting their breath back in Graveyard, the music becomes a smooth and unjustly laidback jamming for guitar, sax and keyboard. To be frank, as disco-soft as this is, it doesn’t fit the scene in the least, and was wisely jettisoned. However, the second cue in the track, all menacing and wavering synth tones is fabulously strange and burdened with danger. This phase corresponds to the order being given out by the Riffs, back in their HQ, for the world and his dog to go out and hunt The Warriors.

A terrific, and also unused rhythm for warbling synth, electro-Morse and then driving keyboard ostinato backed by guitars and a powerful bass riff comes next in Night Run. Now, given the title and the surging, ever-advancing tone of the music it is easy to believe that this piece was probably initially supposed to play over The Warriors as they run through the streets in the rain, ducking and diving under cover in the immediate aftermath of the graveyard sequence. Of course, in the film, this has presumably been replaced by Nowhere to Run. Both tracks work, and it is great to hear this alternative, but the song, so long established with the film now, seems to have the edge.

A hodgepodge of cues come next in Track 14’s stew of unheard and alternate material, covering several episodes in The Warriors’ fighting retreat. Cool jazzy-funk fusion licks and jives in The Orphans, perhaps suggestive of the fact that these guys - “So far down, they ain’t even on the map” – are no threat at all, and pose just a minor hindrance to The Warriors. But this is where they meet the troublemaking Mercy (Deborah Van Valkenburgh). Turnbull A.C.’s Pt. 1 and 2, on the other hand, are more dynamic and intimidating. Drums, heavier synth and more poisonous electronica bends and rolls with skinheaded insistency. Again, not actually heard in the movie, with the roars and shouts and obscenities of the raging pursuers and the thundering of boots on metal steps providing the momentum. Molotov Cocktail is another synth-based pirouette through phased badassery as Snow passes the titular weapon to Swan, who lights it with a piece of material torn from Mercy’s dress and flings at a car parked beside the amassed Orphans. When it goes up with a huge whump!, the two-bit outfit are sent pinwheeling, and The Warriors speed out of the vicinity, Mercy in-tow. The seventies SF-floating synth of imperious street power hums, swirls and sizzles its way back in for the Riff Boss cue that sits in the middle of all this, as he hears the latest scores in the Catch the Warriors Steeplechase.

All of this makes for quite a fresh new interpretation on the much loved soundtrack, adding moods and tones that are a new and unique to the film.

March to the Station, Track 15, is more gentle funk. Antonio Fargas’ cult street-grass Huggy Bear would kick-back and relax in his crib to await the next arrival of Starsky and Hutch to this easy-flow, easy-feel sensual chill-out. Guitars, synth, sax and percussion just pleasantly unify to create a mellow afterburn. There’s even a snatch here of guitar flick that wouldn’t sound out of place in Michael Kamen’s and Eric Clapton’s score for Lethal Weapon.

Something akin to Doctor Who erupts into a swirling synth vortex of paranoia and homicidal verve in Luther Shoots Cyrus. Part of it even sounds like some giant fly caught up in a jar of cosmic radiation. Again this wasn’t used in the film. Instead, we simply heard the gang-rousing call-to-arms, the cheering of the crowd and the echoing, slowed-down report of the gunshot. This sort of music would definitely have given the overall film a different flavor, a more futuristic ambience. Hill sort of wanted this, and then sort of wanted it bedded down in the pulsating, catchy and uber-fresh tunes of the day. At least we can now hear what the original interpretations would have been like. Train Walking is a nicely ominous passage that should play over The Warriors sitting trapped on a train that is going nowhere as cops slowly search the platforms all around them. Keyboard, synth and glimmering percussion provide a glassy, ethereal and spectral presence. Quivering synth tones steadfastly refuse to rise in pitch or intensity in the conventional tension-building manner, and simply remain keyed-in to a queasily uneasy hovering miasma of apprehension.

“I can’t go any further!”

“You sure?

“Yeah, I’m sure.”

“Well good … I’m sick o’ running from these wimps!”

After the awesomeness of DeVorzon’s opening theme, his next chunk of all-out synth-machismo comes when Swan, Ajax, Cowboy and Snow come face-to-painted face with the nightmarish Baseball Furies, who have been lying in wait outside a train station, and decide the better part of valour, in this instance is to give it toes. But these clowns are not about to lose their prey and The Baseball Furies Chase is on. Now this is a reworking of the Main Theme, although it is given a faster pace, a more twisting, turning sense of synth, more overt glimmering of electronic mysterioso, and a more growly rubbing of the electric guitar. The visuals are both enthralling, as the camera speeds alongside the two gangs who plunge into Central Park, and quite frightening as the Furies seems to move as one grim, zombie-painted unit in obsessive silence. Synth buzzes. Electric bass churns. The drums rattle. Higher-pitched electro squeals crawl over the top, the guitar maintains a grungy beat. The pace isn’t breakneck, but it perfectly describes the steady chase that is taking place, adding colour whenever Hill cuts between the good guys and the bad guys and the changes in location. A slight pause gives Swan and Snow, who have somehow managed to duck out and backtrack behind the Furies, time to take out couple of the baddies’ slower-moving rear-guard element, and arm themselves with a bat. But the momentum then picks up again for a brief final stretch as poor, exhausted Cowboy realizes that he can run no more, and the blood-hungry Ajax happily stops to confront their pursuers.

Cowboy gets battered to the ground, and one of Hill’s amusingly over-the-top and highly choreographed skirmishes then takes place in The Fight. Ajax floors the zombie-faced leader of the Furies after a scary synth episode of shimmering electro chimes as the goon shows off his prowess with the bat to the surrounded Warrior and then, in the nick of time, Swan and Snow turn up and help him lay waste to the rest of these creeps with almost balletic aplomb. Drums act like the swinging bats and plunging fists. Guitars sidestep and dodge. The synth acts like the disorientating fugue filling pummeled heads. Without a doubt this track has been the standout music of the score. Immensely catchy and made all the more immediate and visceral with that combination of ceaseless beat and spooky synth. Carpenter would paint New York as a wild, alien and dangerous place with his visuals and his music for when Snake Plissken had to Escape From it a couple of years later. Now he clearly had an established style already firmly in place by then with regards to his scoring, but the pulse and eeriness that DeVorzon creates for Hill’s equally hostile milieu must have had some influence upon him.

After an intro of swirling synth that circles ever closer towards us, Into The Tunnel is another straight-ahead driving rhythm for keyboards, drums, electric bass and percussion. Singular, direct and of simple momentum, this impulsive track is actually over before you know it. Presumably it describes when Swan and Mercy are forced to travel down the subway tracks through the tunnels before they, too, are forced to separate.

Track 19 begins with more synth menace, as glistening tones wobble and waft in the dank emptiness of the subway as Swan, who has become separated from the others, is reunited with Mercy as she comes to warn him that he has been spotted by another gang, their overly confident leader, on rollerskates, coldly observing them until his reinforcements arrive. But, as luck would have it, more members of the Warriors arrive to help even up the odds. The gang has been split-up, dispersed and whittled down by now, but by some group consciousness they remain adrift for too long. At Swan’s gesture, the crew make their way to the Men’s Room to create a last line of defence, as the skater’s crew begin to gather strength. The music continues to shimmy up and down with glacial tones and wafting phases of SF-tinged suspense.

When the Punks enter the Men’s Room, they see nobody. So, moving from cubicle door to cubicle door, and covering all exits, they spring into action, little knowing that this is precisely what The Warriors had in mind all along. When Rembrandt sprays the skater in the face with aerosol paint, the doors all fling open and another crazy battle commences. DeVorzon reheats The Fight again as The Warriors finally erupt en masse to blitz, pummel, bash and bludgeon the new gang and their skating hair-head leader to the ground. Well, it’s a great piece of dynamic, impact-heavy music, so why not? It is listed here as being an “alternate” track, but it sounds essentially the same. Hill apparently insisted that the fight music, both here and during the Furies skirmish “soften” the violence, overlaying the bodily crunches and the obvious agony that each encounter produces. Well, I don’t know. The film boasts some very over-the-top moves and it also makes the point, especially with regards to the battered Baseball Furies and even poor Cowboy that no lasting damage has been done. The Furies are shown rubbing their heads and groaning softly on the deck, whilst Cowboy, who took two rather horrible swipes that sent him sprawling, is completely unmarked and can even smirk with mock civility to the lone woman sitting on a park bench just afterwards. She turns out to be an undercover cop – but that’s another story. So, if anything, I would say that DeVorzon’s music actually adds a bit of necessary oomph to the mayhem, rather than diminishing it.

Finally, our boys, or what remains of them, make it back to Coney Island, but in one of the film’s most infamous vignettes, they discover that The Rogues, the gang that set them up and killed Cyrus, have got there before them … and are taunting them, urging them into one last confrontation. Swan decides to lead them out on to the beach for a showdown and, learning the truth about the murder – “I don’t know. I just like doin’ things like that!” mocks the pistol-packing Luther as he challenges Swan out by the surf. Swan proves that Sly Stallone’s Expendable boss is wrong and this blades are quicker than bullets when he hurls a flick-knife into Luther’s gun-arm, disabling him. And, in a blood-chilling twist, and a remarkable feat of mass camouflage, a veritable army of Gramercy Riffs suddenly appear to have arrived on the dunes and overhead the confession. Giving respect to The Warriors, who have outwitted them at every turn and proved their innocence, they then turn, as one ginormous swarm of chain-toting, club-swinging, knuckle-dusting rage upon The terrified Rogues.

Musically, DeVorzon supplies edgy tones that arrow along a trajectory of unease for Riffs Learn Truth, before slow synth whining over gentle keyboard, a sort of quiet, white sand appreciation of a new dawn on the outermost fringe of the city. The pitch-bending electronica of Platform is again all very SF, though it depicts the arrival back home of the Warriors, and this all floats and sears with more severity as they learn that The Rogues are there too, their graffiti-rife hearse purring slowly behind them as the gang leads their tormentors deeper into the warren of the disused funfair. This last section is called Warriors & Rogues and would boast the fantastic “Warriors … come out to play-ee-yayyy!” taunting from Luther as he rattle three beer bottles together.

Of course, the score itself is chronologically disrupted by the inclusion of the songs, so any reading of DeVorzon’s music is going to be fragmentary at best.

The Bonus Track is actually an alternate take on the last two cues in the final score track, so we can enjoy slightly modified variations on Platform and Warriors & Rogues. The former, especially, is a very bluesy interpretation for piano and sax that paints a much different texture on the style of the film and the attitude of The Warriors, themselves. This would have you believe that they are all Philip Marlowe wannabes, so I can see why it was altered. The addition of guitar and electric piano may attempt to swing us back into a hipper stance, but it still doesn’t work.

On a pleasing note, right at the very end of the album, we get to hear the rattling of those bottles on Luther’s fingers. Sadly, though, this time we don’t hear his invitation to “come out to play.”

“This is what fought all night to get back to?”

The original A&M Album begins with a shorter version of the Theme from The Warriors, followed by the Riff Boss demanding to know “Who are The Warriors? I want all The Warriors. Send the word.” Which is followed by the echoing gunshot that killed Cyrus.

And then in Track 2, we have the awesome Arnold McCuller’s driving song Nowhere to Run which is a brilliantly devious track choice. Upbeat, fast-paced and furiously catchy, it is played over the airways as a call-sign to all the other gangs to gather arms and go hunting The Warriors, and yet it plays as a fun rhythmic device that adds colour, spontaneity and toe-tapping addiction as we see our boys taking various detours and escape routes through backstreets and underpasses, dodging rain and roving bad guys on the lookout for them. It is glorious Motown fused with R&B.

Track 3’s In Havana, from Kenny Vance and Ismael Miranda) is only heard on the radio as the narrative-running female DJ, Lynne Thigpen, gives another announcement about the hunt for the renegade gang. She serves as the seductive-lipped commentator, informing the Riffs and all the other hunters just which new gang has been outsmarted and left for dead by The Warriors, as they “bop their way past!”

Mandrill slows things down even further with some serious low funk in Track 4’s Echoes In My Mind. It is incidental music, of course, but compared with the action fare this sort of thing serves to remind us of the culture that The Warriors are racing through. It’s a nice, lulling stopgap on the album, even if the film barely gives it time to register.

“The Baseball Furies dropped the ball. Made an error. Our friends are on second base and trying to make it all the way home.” So croons the DJ just before DeVorzon thunders through with synth overdrive in The Fight for Track 5, which is merely the bat/fist/knee and boot shenanigans that we hear properly in the score for the Furies and the Skater and his Punk.

We hear a subway train ease in with squealing brakes, and then the anthem In The City, performed by Joe Walsh and written by Barry DeVorzon in Track 6. Walsh handles all the guitar stuff, and the lyrics paint a somewhat romanticized view of urban life and how it might translate to gang mentality and honour. This track actually plays out over the end titles of the film, as The Warriors, with Mercy now assimilated into their number, walk off along the beach at Coney Island towards the horizon. Given that this is Walter Hill, you have to appreciate that he is viewing this as his gunfighters heading off to what will presumably be a short-lived respite from the violence that dictates their way of life.

During the film, when the cops go rooting about the subway and The Warriors are forced to run in all different directions, Fox gets embroiled in a fight with one of them and is accidentally hurled into the path of an oncoming train. Swan, Ajaz, Cowboy and Snow find their way out and meet the Baseball Furies. But Vermin, Rembrandt and Cochise wind-up with a girl-gang called The Lizzies, who take them back to their clubhouse. Bad mistake as it turns out. As the women put the moves on the errant and lost Warriors, this classic piece of bump ‘n’ grind, Love Is A Fire, written by Vinnie Poncia and Johnny Vastano, and performed by Genya Ravan, plays over the jukebox. Only Rembrandt seems to realize that their luck could not have changed so radically for the better. And, true enough, the scenario is a trap. The Lizzies pull guns and knives and almost make mincemeat out of the foolish Romeos until a glorious slow-motion chair takes one of them out and the trio burst their way back out on to the streets again. Brilliantly Love Is A Fire moves with steady seduction and then begins to climb higher and higher, and get just that little bit darker until a crescendo is reached and the violence suddenly erupts. It is a great track in the film, and a wonderful addition here.

Track 8 reminds us what is happening to the trio’s buddies across town, with DeVorzon’s scintillating Baseball Furies Chase.

Johnny Vastano returns with the redneck rock ‘n’ country collision You’re Moving Too Slow. This is pure Western bar material that would be heard in Hill’s 48 Hrs when Eddie Murphy’s new sheriff in town comes in an busts the place up. Once again, this doesn’t really fit in with the tone of the movie, but it’s very brief inclusion does add some extra colour, adding musical dimensionality to the story. Even the title seems to be mocking The Warriors, almost as though informing them that if they don’t get a shift on, the circle will close upon them.

David Patrick Kelley gets to do his famous line at the start of Track 10, rattling those bottles and squealing that infernal call to his rivals. Then Desmond Child belts out exactly the sort of American working class hero ballad that Sly Stallone would have his brother Frank lend his lungs to at the end of one of his own cinematic crusades, with Last of an Ancient Breed. This one actually namedrops The Warriors, themselves, and the lyrics seem to paint them as being something akin Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch, out of synch with the moving times and doomed to suffer the fate of men who live by the sword. Or the gun. Or the flick-knife. Or the baseball bat. It is a good rock ballad, though, and infinitely better than anything that Frank Stallone would have crooned out, that’s for sure.

Walter Hill would explore gang structure and turf aggression again with another, even more stylised rock 'n' fable in Streets of Fire. But, for my money, it is The Warriors that is the superior fantasy, both cinematically and musically.

La La Land’s release comes with a fabulously illustrated 24-page booklet that looks at the production of the film and the score and studies their lasting legacy. Both movie and musical soundtrack are classics from a time when cinema was changing once again. The grand orchestrals of Williams, Goldsmith and Bernstein et al, were being augmented with challenging and fresh new voices that hailed from rock, pop and jazz backgrounds. Barry DeVorzon came from a rock background and had scored for Hill before with Hard Times. The theme from TV’s S.W.A.T was down to him, with a nod to the great Lalo Schifrin, and he found The Warriors to be the perfect avenue with which to explore and exploit a dynamic rock based and utterly contemporary style of scoring. Its rhythmic belligerence and muscularity is matched by its quasi futuristic synth. The Yamaha CS-60 and CS-80, and the Moog were in pretty much their infancy at the time, well at least in terms of film scoring, although prog-bands had been utilizing them, but DeVorzon captures their unique tones and weird bending textures to perfection, blending their startling pulses and phases to match the rampages seen on the screen and the dark, anti-authoritarian attitudes of practically the entire cast of characters.

The influences of his score sent their tendrils far and wide, infiltrating TV and cinema alike and bolting their haunting, senses-tingling resonances to those of John Carpenter’s already seminal synth noodlings.

The Warriors also benefits from the roster of songs that were brought in, with the mixture of rock, disco, funk, blues and Motown making the soundtrack one that would, ironically, have something that would appeal to everyone. Although some of the material would make only a fleeting appearance as the iconic DJ kept us up to speed with the gang scores on the street, the immortal track Nowhere to Run has become an unofficial anthem for gang from Coney Island. It works so well for both the hunters and the hunted, totally embodying the theme of the film.

This, needless to say, is an essential album for all fans of the film. But be reminded – it is limited in number. So get your order in quickly.

ORIGINAL A&M ALBUM

1. Theme from The Warriors (Barry DeVorzon) 4:00

2. Nowhere to Run (Arnold McCuller) 3:14

3. In Havana (Kenny Vance & Ismael Miranda) 3:57

4. Echoes in My Mind (Mandrill) 6:11

5. The Fight (Barry DeVorzon) 1:21

6. In the City (Joe Walsh) 3:56

7. Love Is a Fire (Genya Ravan) 4:49

8. Baseball Furies Chase* (Barry DeVorzon) 2:30

9. You’re Moving Too Slow (Johnny Vastano) 2:39

10. Last of an Ancient Breed (Desmond Child) 4:23

ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SCORE

11. Wonder Wheel (Main Title) 6:50

12. Graveyard* 1:27

13. Night Run 2:09

14. The Orphans / Turnbull A.C.’s Pt. 1 / Riff Boss / Turnbull A.C.’s Pt. 2 / Molotov Cocktail* 4:09

15. March to Station 1:13

16. Luther Shoots Cyrus* / Train Walking* 1:42

17. Baseball Furies Chase / The Fight 5:09

18. Into the Tunnel* 0:57

19. Skater / Men’s Room / The Fight (alternate) 4:07

20. Riffs Learns Truth / Platform** / Warriors & Rogues** 2:56

BONUS TRACK 21. Platform* (alternate) / Warriors & Rogues* (alternate) 3:02

*not used in film
**film version


Verdict

“I’m gonna shove that bat up your ass and turn you into a popsicle!”

The original soundtrack album was always very popular, but that can easily be ditched now that this definitive edition has come along. Combining a remastered version of the A&M album, as well as Barry DeVorzon’s complete original score, together with unused cues and alternate tracks, there is more here than most Warriors fans could have wished for. Although one of those uber-snazzy Warriors vests would have been the icing on the cake, wouldn't it?

The alternate tracks make for an unusual interpretation. They may fit the synth flavor, the funky rhythms and the SF-tinged spices in the pot, but they also represent an approach that could, perhaps, have taken the film in a slightly different direction.

Together with John Carpenter, Maurice Jarre, Tangerine Dream and Vangelis, Barry DeVorzon hit upon a whole new spectrum of musical mood-setting and storytelling. Futuristic, alternative and sensually haunting, they found beauty and power in the synthetic. It all sounded new and exciting. Fresh and dynamic. Harold Faltermeyer and others would soon catch on to the commercial capabilities of such a sound. But although Carpenter had pretty much nailed the synth score and made it his own, DeVorzon was able to combine its gleaming tones with funk, R&B, disco and even jazz-fusion to keep it real and hip and with a more wide-ranging appeal.

The muscular chase material and the SF tinged synth interludes are phenomenal, and the song Nowhere to Run is absolutely essential. Together they totally capture the wild, flamboyant and exciting world of neo-future gang-warfare just before John Carpenter would further enhance it with Escape From New York.

Uniquely of its time, then … yet still amazingly vital and vibrant even today. This limited release is essential. A classic of its kind.


The Rundown

Movie

9

Overall

9

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      Warriors, Warriors, come out to play-ee-yayyy!
      Seriously, how could you possibly resist such an invitation? Walter Hill exploded the gang mythos of New York, Brooklyn, the Bronx and, of course, Coney Island in 1979's electrifying modern-day Western-cum-Spartan odyssey of uber-macho, anti-authoritarian lawlessness on the neo-futuristic streets of a Big Bad Apple. Based upon Sol Yurick's grandslamming novel of the same name, it is the story of one gang, The Warriors, who have been framed for the murder of the new youth culture messiah, Cyrus (Roger Hill), during a huge, city-wide gang pow-wow designed to unify the hundreds of usually warring tribes in order to take over the streets from the police, and are now on the run. In desperation they have to battle their way back to their home turf of Coney Island through miles of hostile land, with every other gang...

      Read the full review...
  • Production

    Studio La-La Land Records
    Running Time 67.39 Minutes
    Number of Discs 1
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