I saw this in the early 80s and have always remembered it. Good to see it again and see that it's still a bit special. The story is very simple: get home alive, but I see it now as almost elegaic; more concerned with aesthetic, atmosphere and dynamic tension than story telling.
A gang have to make it back to their home turf of Coney Island with every other gang in the city, AND the cops, out to bust their heads. Despite seriously strong competition from many of his other movies, this may well remain the best thing that Walter Hill ever did. A simple concept is nicely fleshed out, and each adversarial gang is given a unique style and look, making each one memorable.
One of the most interesting features of the film is its liaison with the visual language of graphic novel tableaus. It is used as means of stylization unterlining the artificiality of the whole story. From the beginning this style signals that the audience doesn't have to expect a normal or realistic narrative but (located in a near future) a modern metaphor for mythic events, a kind of mythical journey.
This film's cult just grows and grows and deservedly so. Walter Hill pretty much perfected the B movie in the 70's. He takes pulp and gives it style, speed and craft elevating to it the level of art. His movies are highly democratic, no stars, everyone plays a part, everyone contributes to the anxious vibe. I watch this and appreciate it more. No fat, just momentum and great character actors relishing their moment.
(...)Ein typischer Walter Hill, denn auch seine ersten Filme waren ein gutes Stück weit entrückt von der Realität. Hier ist alles Mythos, Legende, ja lebende Statue. So sehr stilisiert Hill, dass jedes Leben aus seinen Tableaux herausgehalten wird. Es gibt grossartig choreographierte Szenen und viel Energie, wenn die Warriors aber miteinander sprechen, meint man, ein Märchen vor sich zu haben.(...)