They’re the Armies of the Night. They could run New York City. Now it looks like sometime soon they could all be out to get The Warriors – again. Rumour has it that work has begun at Paramount for a remake of the 1979 cult hit The Warriors.
Set across the streets of a dank New York hunting ground, the original film from director Walter Hill sees the titular Warriors gang journey from the Bronx to Coney Island, all the while eluding other cruel and colourful street gangs. It’s no surprise that the movie has endured: revisiting the classic today, it is as if some of the gangs’ fantastic outfits were pulled straight from a comic or A Clockwork Orange, and the soundtrack is immediately iconic and recalls its time.
It is probably for these same reasons that previous attempts to remake The Warriors, from Avengers: Endgame’s Russo Brothers or Crank’s Mark Neveldine, have never seen the light of day. The style is key. The story in The Warriors is straightforward at face value and almost mythic; it was adapted from the novel of the same name written by Sol Yurick, which was in turn inspired by the Ancient Greek story of Anabasis. So much of the appeal of the film comes from its exuberant style, and this would have to be either recreated from the ground-up or rethought in a modern remake. The late Tony Scott perhaps came the closest to producing a new instalment of The Warriors and he seemed to recognise this reality. Scott explained his plans for his remake as follows:
‘The same story, but we’re reconstructing the family, reconstructing the characters, and I’m doing it in L.A. The original was in New York and everything went upwards; L.A. goes [length-wise]. And instead of 30 gang members, there’s going to be 3,000 or 5,000.’
Transposing the same story to Los Angeles is just one example of how the durable story of The Warriors can be revisited and revised to make something genuinely new. In light of Joker’s success this month, it may actually be all the sooner that a remake of The Warriors returns to 70s/80s New York. Only time will tell when and how the Warriors will rise again.