director Enzo G. Castellari
1990: The Bronx Warriors (1982) was good camp fun, mashing up The Warriors (1979) and Escape from New York (1981) in a apocalyptic Bronxian landscape through an Italian trash cinema lens. But its sequel, reuniting star Mark Gregory as Trash and director Enzo G. Castellari transcends even the charms (and shortcomings) and shortcomings of that movie into total junk glee.
Escape from the Bronx is less about the rivalries of the cartoonish gangs and more about a venal land grab by a greedy Manhattan corporation that wants to relocate all Bronxites to New Mexico and raze the blighted neighborhood to build a modern metropolis for the gentry. And their methods include death squads and hired killers, most notably Henry Silva a real cool killer/mercenary.
The movie is nearly all action, explosions, bloodlettings, powered by flamethrowers and a little kid who is a bomb expert. Trash teams up with other underground rebels and a television journalist in a plot to abduct the CEO of the corporation to end these killings, only to find that the corporation is more than just one man.
There is something still relevant in the social commentary. A Manhattan developer with evil schemes against the poor? A scorched earth policy in troubled neighborhoods featuring death squads? Am I the only one to watch this film at this point in time and not think of Trump and Duterte? Has 2016 blurred all of my movie-viewing?
This is another movie that it’s hard to attach a star rating to. Aspects of it are indeed cheaply produced comic action and the characters are hilarious cartoons. And yet it’s sublimely entertaining throughout. A trash classic starring Trash. Great stuff.