The original Warriors standing on the boardwalk in Coney Island, Brooklyn.
Tony Scott (True Romance, Domino) is helming a remake of the 1979 cult classic The Warriors for MTV and Paramount Studios. Scott confirmed that none of the original characters will be featured in his updated version, with the exception of Cyrus, who is murdered in the first 10 minutes of the movie. The flamboyant look of the gangs will also be nixed for a more realistic Bloods and Crips feel and, unlike the original, which was set in a vaguely futuristic New York City, it will take place very much in the present, on the streets of Long Beach, California.
“I see it as ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ meets ‘The Warriors’ because with these gangs, instead of having twenty or thirty guys, I’m going to have three thousand, five thousand guys in the L.A. river beds and it’s going to look like L.A. during the riots,” Tony Scott has said. “I love the original movie; that’s why I’m in doing this, but I’m not going to copy the original.”
Fans of the original film have expressed both support and outrage on message boards and Warriors fan sites. I am a huge fan of the original film, so much so that my initial reaction to this announcement employed many an outward expletive. Admittedly, there is no getting around how flawed the original movie was, but it cannot be argued that the look of the film, as well as some of its more colorful dialogue, will be forever lingering within the great ghost of pop culture’s collective unconscious.
Some die-hard fans of the 1979 release fear that what Tony Scott is actually filming is just another hip hop gangsta film that will do well on the sole merit that he’s calling it The Warriors. Still, there are fans that are more optimistic about the remake, like Erik Jansen, who started his own Warriors online community on MySpace.com. Erik believes the original film was memorable because of its quirky flaws, but he also notes that Tony Scott’s version may not be so much of a remake after all.
“It actually might be good, but for a different reason,” Erik says. “It’s a totally different script. Face it, the original script was pretty bad. The reason ‘The Warriors’ is so great, was because it was a last-minute effort and they practically threw out the script. They filmed it relatively quickly and with a small budget. Also, they really didn’t pay that much attention to detail. It was half assed. If they would’ve put more time, money and effort into it, it probably would’ve been just a decent film that no one would remember. The new film, from what I gather from reading about it, sounds kind of good. The only thing it has in common with the original is the name, and they’re only using that to sell it. Ironically, I believe [the remake] will kill it. They really shouldn’t use the Warriors name for that reason and because it really is a different movie.”
From a marketing point of view, Scott’s version of The Warriors couldn’t come at a better time. Since the fall of 2005, The Warriors has enjoyed a resurgence due to a trifecta of cross promotion celebrating the releases of the excellent Rock Star video game adaption as well as the director’s cut DVD. Currently, screenings of the original theatrical release are being enjoyed by soldout audiences in selected art houses all over the country. Still, one can’t help but wonder if the new Warriors is really just a Colors / Judgment Night rehash shrouded in a familiar candy wrapper.