The Warriors appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Superficially, the Blu-ray looked good - too good given the film’s circumstances.
As I went into Warriors, I expected an image with prominent grain and a gritty appearance. Due to the movie’s age and budget and narrative goals, that would make sense.
Instead, the Blu-ray looked surprisingly clean and shiny. Though the entire movie took place at night, grain seemed mild at best, and a lot of low-light shots felt scrubbed.
This didn’t leave the end result entirely devoid of grain, but I couldn’t help but believe that a film from 1979 shot under these conditions would come with a lot more grain than I saw. As it stood, light grain appeared, and barely any of that materialized in some of the darkest shots.
Overall sharpness seemed positive, though some light edge haloes betrayed the use of artificial sharpening. The movie could take on a less than organic feel, but still, it generally offered good definition.
No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects materialized. Print flaws failed to become a concern.
Colors usually stayed muted to match the tone and settings, though some brighter hues manifested at times. The Blu-ray reproduced these colors well.
Blacks looked dark and deep, while shadows seemed smooth and clear. The movie offered visuals that seemed positive in the abstract but just didn’t feel right for a gritty action flick from 1979.
Remixed from the original monaural, the film’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack immediately lost points due to the absence of a lossless option. Granted, this disc came out in 2007, back before lossless Blu-rays became nearly automatic, but I still feel compelled to lower my grade when a release only provides lossy material.
The soundfield opened up to a decent degree but it didn’t always – or often – show smooth spread to the other channels. Music and effects broadened in a general manner and occasionally displayed positive localization, but more often, they moved to the various speakers in a loose, non-specific way.
This left the soundscape as “broad mono” much of the time. Though we got enough material placed in the correct spot, too much of it seemed tentative to make this an effective soundfield.
Audio quality showed its age and low budget origins but seemed acceptable. Speech could seem a bit thin and tinny at times but the lines always remained intelligible and they lacked notable issues.
Effects could come across as a bit rough at times, but they showed decent range. Music worked the same, with songs and score that offered decent life, if not great power. I wish the disc came with the original monaural, but this remix seemed adequate.
In terms of extras, the main attraction comes from a four-part documentary. Actually, the disc presents these as separate featurettes, but they seem to exist as parts of a whole.
These take up a total of one hour, three minutes, one second as we find “The Beginning” (14:07), “Battleground” (15:24), “The Way Home” (18:07) and “The Phenomenon” (15:23). Across these, we hear from writer/director Walter Hill, producer Lawrence Gordon, editor David Holden, executive producer Frank Marshall, costume designer Bobbie Maddix, assistant director David O. Sosna, editors Freeman Davies, David Holden and Billy Weber, stunt coordinator Craig Baxley, director of photography Andrew Laszlo, director’s assistant Neil Canton, composer Barry De Vorzon, and actors Michael Beck, James Remar, David Harris, David Patrick Kelly and Deborah Van Valkenburgh.
In these programs, we hear about the source novel, its adaptation and path to the screen as well as cast and performances, costumes, sets and locations, stunts and action, photography, editing, music, the film’s release and legacy.
All four of these segments combine to give us a pretty solid look at the movie. We receive a broad look at a nice mix of topics in this useful collection of featurettes.
In addition to the film’s trailer, the disc provides an Introduction By Walter Hill. During this one-minute, 18-second piece, Hill discusses his intentions for this “Ultimate Director’s Cut” of the film. Don’t expect a lot of insights.
Back in 1979, The Warriors created a massive wave of controversy. It seems tough to believe that this goofy, campy piece of fluff inspired real-life violence, as the film seems too toothless to inspire much passion. The Blu-ray comes with erratic picture and audio as well as a good documentary. I guess Warriors has its audience, but I can’t find much to like here.