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Blu-ray Reviews


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#1 of 19 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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Posted June 23 2007 - 07:04 PM

Blu-ray Disc/DVD REVIEW

The Warriors: Ultimate Director’s Cut

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Studio: Paramount
Film Year: 1979
Film Length: 1 hour 33 minutes
Genre: Action/Thriller

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

BD Resolution: 1080p
BD Video Codec: MPEG-4 AVC @ over 20MBPS
Colour/B&W: Colour

  • English Dolby Digital 5.1 640k
  • French Dolby Digital 1.0
  • Spanish Dolby Digital 1.0

    Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
    Film Rating: R

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  • Release Date: July 3, 2007

    Film Rating: Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image 1/2 / Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

    Starring: Michael Beck, James Remar, Deborah Van Valkenburgh

    Screenplay by: David Shaber and Walter Hill Based on the novel by Sol Yurick
    Directed and Produced by: Walter Hill

    ”Warriors, come out to play...”

    The Warriors is Walter Hill’s action fantasy about a small number of guys from the title gang who must battle their way across New York City in a manner reminiscent of Xenophon’s “Anabasis.” It’s thoroughly entertaining and a lot of fun, even today at 28 years after its initial release. Hill maximizes the film’s stylized choreography, wardrobe and makeup to create a slightly futuristic world where gang members dress in neon colors and fight in the manner of samurai warriors. It is actually easier to appreciate the film today than when it originally played in theatres. (At that time, the film was known less for itself than for the fights that would break out after people saw it.) This isn’t a typical action film or a star vehicle (the cast is almost entirely made up of unknowns). Instead, it’s an extended roller coaster ride that feeds on its own style as it carries the viewer through the various twists and turns.

    The Warriors is on its third DVD release. The first was a 2001 anamorphic release of the original theatrical cut. The second was a 2005 anamorphic release of a new print, slightly adjusted by Walter Hill with the addition of a brief introduction scroll about Xenophon’s tale (read aloud by Hill) and the inclusion of comic book panel transitions at several points in the film. (I must confess preferring the original release version.)

    This “Ultimate Director’s Cut” has now been released on Blu-Ray, with all the special features of the 2005 disc, along with 1080p transfers of the revised feature and the original theatrical trailer. The print itself is identical to the 2005 release, even down to a typo in the end credits – but the new 1080p transfer is marvellous.

    Posted ImageVIDEO QUALITY: 4 ½ /5 Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image 1/2

    The Warriors is presented in a superior 1080p MPEG-4 AVC transfer that improves on the prior releases in every area. Colors and details are richer and clearer throughout. The brightly colored gang wardrobes and makeups get a much better showcase in high definition than I’ve ever seen before. An early shot of a rival gangmember at the opening meeting reveals a tattoo of “MOM” emblazoned on his arm – something I could not see before. A late shot over Michael Beck to a rival gang has effectively been rescued by this transfer – where the standard definition view of this was a murky mess of dark and undistinguishable shapes, in high definition, the bodies can now be seen with much greater clarity.

    The print is in good condition – I didn’t see much grain. (Grain is evident when you watch the trailer, also in high definition, in the special features area) Given that the film is primarily set at night, much of the film’s look is quite dark. For this reason, the transfer has several areas where the video information per second drops to below 20 mbps. (The transfer is literally drawing mostly black frames in these moments) This is not a criticism of the transfer – just a note that it is limited in places by the source.

    Posted ImageAUDIO QUALITY: 3/5 Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

    The Warriors is presented in English in a 640k 5.1 surround mix, and in French and Spanish in a mono mix. To be honest, there isn’t much use of the surround channels or the subwoofer in this mix, other than for music. The dialogue and most of the sound comes from the front channels. The only thing to hear from the rear is the music, along with the occasional sound effect. The higher clarity of the transfer also makes clear where some dialogue doesn’t completely match the timing of the actor speaking onscreen. (One late discussion between Michael Beck and David Patrick Kelly is a good example of this.)

    Posted ImageSPECIAL FEATURES: 4/5 Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

    The Blu-Ray presentation of The Warriors presents all of the special features from the 2005 “Ultimate Director’s Cut” release in standard definition, with the theatrical trailer getting an HD transfer.

  • Introduction by Director Walter Hill (1:18) (480p full frame) – Walter Hill’s brief introduction to this cut from the 2005 release is included here in standard definition full frame. Hill doesn’t have much to say, other than his appreciation for being able to come back and do some re-editing.

  • The Beginning (14:07) (480p full frame) – All four parts of Laurent Bouzereau’s look at the making of the film are included here. The first part details Walter Hill and Lawrence Gordon’s initial work in adapting the Sol Yurick book and casting the group of young unknowns featured in the movie. (It is interesting that Yurick himself does not participate here – his perspective on the adaptation would have been useful.)

  • Battleground (15:24) (480p full frame) – The second part of Bouzereau’s featurette collection discusses several production stories from the set. First Assistant Director David Sosna discusses his being hired after the original 1st AD had been removed from the project. An interesting story gets related about the filmmakers’ attempt to cast a real gang member to play Riffs leader Cyrus – something that backfired when the gang member disappeared before he could be filmed.

  • The Way Home (18:07) (480p full frame) – More production stories are told here, including the staging of the fights with the Baseball Furies and the Lizzies. Andrew Laszlo discusses his cinematography methods, including the placing of lights in the trees during the Furies chase (something he would never do under normal circumstances as they can be seen on camera, but which works here in the world of stylized fantasy). Frank Marshall provides a reminder of the reality around the film shoot – he discusses the fact that the cast members could not wear their “Warriors” colors around Coney Island due to the risk of angering the real gang members who claimed the area.

  • The Phenomenon (15:23) (480p full frame) – The final part of Bouzereau’s featurette collection takes some time to discuss the editing and scoring of the film. A little footage is shown of the original opening to the film, which would have introduced the cast in broad daylight. (This may have been the deleted scene promised for the 2005 DVD release but never seen in that package or this one.) There is some discussion of the violence which broke out in theatres during and after showings of the film – Walter Hill opines that this was likely due to gang members being drawn to the film and inevitably mixing it up with their rivals.

  • Original Theatrical Trailer (2:02) (1080p MPEG-2) – A high definition transfer of the film’s original trailer has been included, but this print has not been restored and the quality is clearly lower than the feature. There is also a lot of grain visible here, where the feature is mostly free of it.

    Subtitles are available in English, English SDH, French and Spanish for the film itself as well as for the special features. The usual Blu-Ray pop-up menu is accessible during the film.

    IN THE END...

    The Warriors continues to be an enjoyable action fantasy, almost 30 years after its production. The changes made by Walter Hill in 2005 are, in my opinion, unnecessary and distracting, but they tend to reinforce the stylistic choices he has made rather than come completely from left field. Fans of this film will want to see the new transfer, even though it is of the 2005 print, as the colors and the action have never been so vibrant or alive.

    Kevin Koster
    June 23, 2007.

    #2 of 19 OFFLINE   Dave Mack

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    Posted June 23 2007 - 07:18 PM

    Nice review. I too like the vibe of The original version but aside from the comic graphics and intros, there are several instances where there are new (done digitally) slow zoom-ins on previously static shots. Subtle but effective. Too bad Paramount shafted the BD audio yet again compared to the HDdvd. Hey Paramount? How about a 1.5 mps DTS track...?


    #3 of 19 OFFLINE   norrisMc


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    Posted June 23 2007 - 11:33 PM

    I love "THE WARRIORS". It always holds a nostalgic place in my heart. I love the "WARRIORS" vest as well. Someone on HTF had one and posted a pic once. So cool! I'm also looking forward to Walter Hill's other gang epic "STREETS OF FIRE" on HD in July. That should look and sound awesome!

    #4 of 19 OFFLINE   Lou Sytsma

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    Posted June 24 2007 - 12:01 AM

    Great review! Thanks for not shouting!
    Every man is my superior, in that I may learn from him.

    #5 of 19 OFFLINE   MattFini


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    Posted June 24 2007 - 03:11 AM

    I really wish they'd gone ahead and given us the original theatrical cut. I, too, found the changes far too distracting.
    Universal, please release Streets of Fire on Blu-ray.

    #6 of 19 OFFLINE   Jim_K


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    Posted June 24 2007 - 04:38 AM

    Thanks for the review. Nice to hear Paramount did well with this one and hopefully with The Untouchables.

    I actually passed on this because it wasn't the original cut.

    On a side note - out of the "bonus" features that I enjoy most (Well made Docs, deleted scenes, informative commentaries, etc) for me nothing comes close to having multiple versions of the film as a complete set. It's been done so few times over the years with DVD releases yet it's this feature that I cherish the most.

    I really wish these studios would go this route more often than they do, especially with these HD formats.
    Death before Streaming!

    #7 of 19 OFFLINE   Dave Mack

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    Posted June 24 2007 - 05:22 AM

    That was me, Norris!

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    Cool Warriors fan site with a forum...


    When Swan, Ajax and Snow are running from the Furies and stop on the street when Ajax says, "Did we lose these f*cking clowns..." that's my apartment window! That's 100th street between West End ave. and Riverside Drive and one of my windows is in the shot, (has black iron bars in front of it) When I moved there 9 yrs. ago I was psyched, "Dudes! My window's in "The Warriors" Bars on far left are one of my windows. Although we are currently in Cali. I still have the place, being sublet to someone.

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    Walter Hill has pretty much gone on record saying that this new version is his preferred one and kinda what he wanted all along. I just start it after the new intro at the wonder wheel. I got used to the new segues now and don't mind them too much anymore.

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    #8 of 19 OFFLINE   Paul Arnette

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    Posted June 24 2007 - 06:22 AM

    Dave, I don't know if you noticed, but the forthcoming The Untouchables HD release features DTS-HD on both BD and HD DVD. Hopefully, a sign of audio equality to come...
    Universal Blu-ray Discs I will not be buying while they're offered only as Blu-ray + DVD 'flipper' discs:

    The Jackal
    , Out of Africa, and Traffic.

    #9 of 19 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott


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    Posted June 24 2007 - 06:31 AM

    as did I for the same reason.
    It's a shame Paramount only lives in the now. not all of us appreciate these digital re-mixes. Some of us just want the real thing.

    I really wish the technology existed to give us both Posted Image

    #10 of 19 OFFLINE   MatthewA


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    Posted June 24 2007 - 07:36 AM

    The technology does exist, it's called seamless branching, and I assume HD and BD have it. It's just seldom used. Heck, I can do it with stuff taped off of TV in the 1980s to watch it with or without the original commercials.

    Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I am going to boycott The Walt Disney Company until then. And while you're at it, PLEASE stop dropping DVD/laserdisc extras from Blu-ray releases of other films.

    #11 of 19 OFFLINE   norrisMc


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    Posted June 24 2007 - 10:41 AM

    That is soooo cool. I love that vest. Thanks for the link to the website too!

    #12 of 19 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott


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    Posted June 24 2007 - 12:54 PM

    I was being facetious (hence the roll eyes). I have a feeling this sad subject will get another workout when Paramount puts out the Star Trek series later this year. Somehow I'm not expecting Paramount to catch a clue between now and then, and the only verison we are likely to see will again be the 200x era digital re-mix. yipee.

    #13 of 19 OFFLINE   Jordan_E



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    Posted June 24 2007 - 01:21 PM

    I tried watching the newer version when it was released on DVD, and I stress tried, as I finally had to give up, not liking the changes. But the idea of a better looking edition makes me want to try again. Thanks for the review.
    And you believe, at heart, everyone's a killer...

    #14 of 19 OFFLINE   Dave Mack

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    Posted June 24 2007 - 03:49 PM

    Jordan, it's not that bad. There are really only a few times where it happens actually.

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    #15 of 19 OFFLINE   Eric F

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    Posted June 24 2007 - 05:07 PM


    #16 of 19 OFFLINE   AlexCosmo


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    Posted June 29 2007 - 09:29 AM

    No original cut, no dice!

    #17 of 19 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott


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    Posted July 06 2007 - 11:02 AM

    "Can you dig it?" no, actually I can't. I watched the Bd via netflix last night. Impressive PQ for (what I assume) was a lower budget 1979 picture...but I thought the new transitions were ass and the written and v.o'd prolouge was pretentious and unneccessary. But the transitions were the bigger problem- not only were they cheaply and unartfully done*, but they made at least a couple of scene breaks confusing- primarily the one that introduces the Furies. Thanks, but no thanks Walter. No one , after the initial release, has taken the film seriously on a literal level, so the impetus behind adding this stuff in now is completely baffling. afterwards I pulled out my first edition, non molested dvd version and was surprised to see how well the image held up to the HD. there was a slight loss of res, and some attendent but slight ringing- but on the whole, it was a fine, highly watchable image. And to see the the scenes play out and flow into one another naturally, and the see the characters walk off under the Joe Walsh cut, instead of that cheesy paintbox image...I'll happily just stick with this lower res version for the foreseeable future. *While I don't think there was anyway these comicbook transitions would have helped the film compared to the original editing, they should have at least hired an honest to God illustrator to render the panels. Some Wally Wood style inking, added to some slightly off register process color on a slightly textured cream colored background, along with hand lettered dialouge and captions, would have looked a hell of a lot better than what they came up with. What Hill did, imo, just cheapens the film, rather than extending its shelf life. Horrible creative decision(I realize none of these opinions are new since the DC is a couple years old now, but still felt a need to vent)

    #18 of 19 OFFLINE   Edwin-S



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    Posted July 08 2007 - 07:41 PM

    I've never seen this flick before watching it last night. A lot of people on this board seemed to have a high opinion of the film, so I picked it up as a blind buy. It was entertaining, but it was also kind of corny. I also think the comic book transitions were not well thought out. Every time they occurred the flow of the film was broken. It was a decent enough, but rather ridiculous, flick. I actually found the supplements regarding the making of the film to be more interesting than the actual film.
    "You bring a horse for me?" "Looks like......looks like we're shy of one horse." "No.......You brought two too many."

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    Posted August 28 2009 - 08:34 PM

    Originally Posted by Edwin-S 

    ...I actually found the supplements regarding the making of the film to be more interesting than the actual film.
    I've experienced this before, and I always feel its a bad sign for the film.

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