Action, Crime, Thriller

Escape from the Bronx (1983)

Comments Off on Escape from the Bronx (1983) 19 June 2016

escape form the bronx blu

Studio: Blue Underground

Theatrical Release: September 2, 1983 

Blu Ray Release: June 30, 2015

Director: Enzo G. Castellari

R

Review by James Klein

While 1990: The Bronx Warriors was a rip-off on The Warriors, the sequel Escape From the Bronx is a complete rip-off of Escape From New York right down to the casting of Ennio Girolami who looks a lot like Lee Van Cleef from Escape From New York. This quickly thrown together sequel is very, very low on plot and high on action and explosions (and Castellari’s love of slow motion).

Escape 2000Set ten years after the first film, the Bronx is now going to be torn down by the government. The military has taken over and is running the last few citizens out of the city. The ones who refuse to leave are killed (and killed via flame thrower, a favorite weapon in Castellari films apparently). The gangs now live underground and have become scavengers, none are rival as they have now joined forces to work together. Trash (Mark Gregory) is no longer the leader and more or less a loner. When Trash’s parents are killed, Trash enacts revenge with the help of a bomb expert and female activist reporter who plan to kidnap the president of the corporation that wants to tear down the Bronx.

Escape from the BronxLike in 1990: The Bronx Warriors, the villain this time is Henry Silva who pretty much is playing the same character Vic Morrow played in the first film. Silva plays Floyd Wrangler, a psychopathic ex-prison warden who now is in charge of the militant army that is killing all of the Bronx citizens who are refusing to leave. As always, Silva is a joy to watch as his introduction in the film is him drilling an F bomb. Maybe my favorite moment in the film is his spazz out when he doesn’t get his coffee the way he likes it.

Henry SilvaI’m not exaggerating when I say this but maybe the last 45 minutes or so is just non stop shooting and explosions. It’s just mayhem. Hand guns are used to blow up helicopters. Shotguns blow up cars and vans. Each explosion also has a dummy flying through the air which provided some great laughs while I watched this. According to Castellari on the audio commentary, there are 174 deaths in this 89 minute movie. While most of the deaths are bloodless, there are a few good gruesome deaths, my favorite is a shotgun used as a baseball bat against one guys face that literally encaves upon impact. Completely ridiculous and yet a lot of fun. Stuck up film snobs would hate this movie as they just wouldn’t get it. We all enjoy a nice prime rib dinner but we also once in awhile get a craving for Taco Bell or White Castle when the time is right. Escape from the Bronx is fast food at its finest.

enzoBlue Underground does another great job with the transfer however 1990: The Bronx Warriors looked so much better. The problem is that this sequel was made on such a low budget that many shots look as if the lenses were dirty resulting in the film looking soft or at times out of focus. The transfer looks grainy too, which I am unsure why it’s more noticeable this time around. Medium shots and close ups look better than longer shots. The color levels are great though and the film looks the best its ever looked and probably ever will. Maybe I am being too harsh given that I had just watched the first film recently. The 2.0 mono soundtrack is decent and gets the job done. I wish the film was given a 5.1 remix as well but it’s a minor complaint. With the amount of explosions in this film, I would have loved to hear them come out of my rear speakers. The special features are also pretty good and worth a look. Once again there is another interview with Castellari and producer Fabrizio De Angelis as well as a strange featurette on the search for supposed missing actor Mark Gregory. There are several trailers (the international trailer shows everything) and an audio commentary with Castellari and his son who helped out on the film when he was a young boy. Like their commentary on 1990: The Bronx Warriors, it’s worth a listen and provides some great stories on the making of the film (my favorite being that Castellari’s son cannot believe Silva is wearing a hair piece).

explosionWhile I prefer the first film a little more, Escape From the Bronx is a decent follow up with a shitload of action. It’s ludicrous, silly and non sensical but aren’t most sequels like that? I’ll watch this movie over any CGI, Hollywood-inflated Transformers or Fast & the Furious sequels any day of the week.

Mark GregoryMovie Rating: ★★★☆☆

Blu Ray Rating: ★★★½☆

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