I first saw Bronx Warriors (in the UK we lost the '1990') when I was 13 at the local Youth Club. My home town of Kenilworth was/is a monotonous dump with virtually nothing to do and in the early 80s, when a VCR was an expensive luxury, we packed the club in our sweaty hordes on a Monday for "Film Night". Usually crap like Flashdance, Splash or Two of a Kind (i.e. "safe") one day someone picked up this by mistake.
From the opening theme, over a montage of nasty looking weapons and exotic outfits our curiosity was peaked and by the time Trash and The Riders had despatched The Zombies, everybody was hooked (two lads even gasped "f***ing cool!" as the fight stick was slowly withdrawn from behind the bike saddle with a grating "chiiiiing!").
Why this film has stood the test of time for me I really cannot put my finger on. It has numerous bad points (atrocious dubbing, questionable plotting and risible choreography) but the sheer joy Enzo Castellari and co. vividly had making this movie is clear from the pure passion that pours from the screen. And who couldn't love a picture that has ruthless bikers being floored by the cast of Cabaret? Or motoribikes with Ben Hur axle blades? (that we tried unsuccessfully to copy with stuff from mum's cutlery drawer and our BMXs) Or a hero called Trash? Or a random drummer heralding the council of two vicious street gangs?
The sequel is pure adrenaline. With a body count of more than 170, Escape From The Bronx rocks. How many films have the hero shoot down a helicopter with a handgun? Or have a ruthless gang leader cry over the immolation of his parents? Or feature a psychopathic mercenary who brings his equally loopy 8 year old son on missions?
I have loved these two films for over 30 years and in 2003 sold 2 German language version DVDs on Ebay. The winning bidder was none other than Enzo Castellari himself and he proved to be a very friendly and helpful bloke, giving me permission to use photos from his official site, information on the movies and filling me in on the mysterious disappearance of Mark Gregory post 1989.
In June 2004 I visited Enzo at his office in Rome and spent a very pleasant 2 hours with him and his son Andrea getting armfuls of stuff autographed, snapping pics and hearing whisperings of a possible 3rd Bronx movie (he even paid for a cappuccino and brioche).
In 2005 I went back to see him again and began the sporadicHUNT FOR TRASH which continues to this day.
In 2015 I was interviewed as a special feature for the Blu-ray release of ESCAPE FROM THE BRONX. A 13 minute documentary that fleshes out what you've just read, plus footage of my search for Mark Gregory.
Like the original Beastmaster, these two films are pure, unadulterated, guilty pleasure (although unlike that movie, the sequel is just as good) and I salute Enzo for his efforts in creating two of the biggest joys of my adolescent, movie-viewing life.
Below is the holiday video I made in 2010, inspired by Bronx Warriors (music courtesy of Caesar's Palace).
And I really did try to get knife blades to flip down off my BMX forks....never quite worked.