Arrow Video, with domestic sales and distribution expertise provided by MVD Entertainment Group, will be coming out to play on Dec. 12 with a new 4K Ultra HD Limited Edition of director Walter Hill’s The Warriors.
This is a new 4K film restoration from the original camera negative … and it is not only for the theatrical cut, but Hill’s 2005 alternate version of the film. This alternate cut is included on a companion 4K Ultra HD disc.
Who would have imagined in the summer of 1976 that a bunch of unknowns would be bouncing around various locations in New York City filming a survival flick. Or, as some might call it, a gang film.
The budget was modest. By some accounts under $5 million. It opened theatrically in the dead of winter in 1979 (not in the summer) on under 700 screens nationwide and was immediately thrust into the national headlines with multiple accounts of violence at various theatrical venues, including at least three killings. WOW.
In Hollywood there is this axiom that “all publicity is good publicity.” The Warriors earned double its production budget — with all of the notoriety — during the first week of its theatrical run.For some, this wasn’t a gang film, but rather an arthouse film. Is Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai an action film? Or is an arthouse film? Walter Hill, whether he set out to accomplish that is open to debate, but certainly the result — as measured by time and discussion — is that The Warriors is both an iconic arthouse film as well as a gang film (it kicked off a small cycle).
You have four performances that hold the entire production together. First, Michael Beck as Swan, the leader of the Warriors — a gang from Coney Island — is spot-on as the stoic, even laconic leader … he knows this is folly; a fool’s errand. But he soldiers on with just one mission— get home.
Beck’s film career never matched his performance here.
Along the way they, the Warriors, pick up an Orphan’s castoff (another New York City gang), Mercy, played by Deborah Van Valkenburgh. Tough, dirty (filthy), yet somehow a beauty shines from within … by dawn Swan and Mercy will be a couple (you wonder how the next day, and the next, went). She makes it all work with her performance. Sad, and yet wonderful.
Then there is James Remar as Ajax, another member of the Warriors … this film ignited his career and yet he is gone midway through the film. He’s that good.
And finally, we have Luther, the self-style anarchist — an indie gang leader — who enjoys creating chaos for the sake of chaos. David Patrick Kelly got to shine here in his film debut … “Warriors, Come Out to Play-yahh” is his line of dialogue that sticks with you forever. He owns it … he is Luther.
The rest of the Warriors (Maracelino Sanchez, David Harris, Terry Michos, Thomas G. Waites, Tom McKitterick and Brian Tyler) all have their moments, but it is the performances of Beck, Van Valenburgh, Remar and Kelly that are the core of the film.The Warriors on 4K Ultra HD from Arrow Video on Dec. 12 … a Christmas present to all film buffs.
So what are the extras?
We kick off with a newly prepared commentary from author and film critic Walter Chaw (“A Walter Hill Film”), ten featurettes — “War Stories,” “Battling Boundaries,” “Gang Style,” “Armies of the Night,” “Sound of the Streets,” “Come Out to Play,” “The Beginning,” “Battleground,” “The Way Home” and “The Phenomenon” — and a round table discussion with filmmakers Josh Olson, Lexi Alexander and Robert D. Kryzkowski.