“In the year 1990 the Bronx is officially declared No Man’s Land. The authorities give up all attempts to restore law and order. From then on the area is ruled by the Riders”.
This 1982 release, directed by Enzo G. Castellari, is one of numerous Italian rip-offs of popular films. The New Barbarians and Escape the Bronx are two others filmed with the same goal as this one — to cash in on the craze over Escape from New York, Mad Max 2, and The Warriors. This film shares some of the themes and first-glance, superficial trappings of these other, more popular productions; but it is, overall, pretty bad. However, pretty bad is what we love here at MoonLaser, so let’s stop whining and get into it!
Anne is the heir to The Manhattan Corporation, a morally bankrupt business entity. Unwilling to take the helm of such a diabolical enterprise, she runs away to the Bronx, where hoods have separated into vicious gangs and fight every day for survival. She is immediately attacked by a roller skating gang called the Zombies, rescued by Trash, the leader of the Riders, and taken under the protection of the Riders when she refuses to return home. The Manhattan Corporation hires a mercenary to infiltrate the Bronx and turn the various gangs against each other, hoping to force her out.
The run of the film is a series of road stunts and long shots of men riding motorcycles. Like many 80s Italian films, it looks and feels like it was produced in the 70s. That said, the action sequences are decent, and the plot is simple and clear enough that the movie can focus mostly on keeping the pace up, as one battle scene unfolds after another. Unlike some schlocky films in a similar vein to this one, nothing about the story is really held back until later. The stakes are laid out up front, so you aren’t left questioning characters’ motivations. In other words, there’s not much head scratching going on with this one.
If you want to see a movie set in this sort of world, but done well, you’d be better off re-watching Mad Max or Escape from New York (Or even Escape from LA, which we love here at MoonLaser!). But if you were one to refrain from watching cheesy rip-offs and general exploitative dumpster puke, you wouldn’t be here, now would you? Oh hell, give credit where it’s due. After all, the three films in this theme-related series did take a combined six months to write, prepare, and film…
She Who Wears the Flesh of Her Enemies has made her decree: