The year is 1990 and the Bronx has been declared a “No Man’s Land” where the only law is the law that the various gangs can enforce on their own. I wasn’t too sure why the people in charge just threw up their hands and said “we give up” on the Bronx, but I’m guessing that maybe if you lived there in 1982 when this movie was made, you would understand.
The action in this movie stems from the fact that Ann is about to turn of age and inherit her interest in the Manhattan Corporation, the world’s largest arms dealer. She doesn’t want to be someone’s puppet in business matters, so she does what any smart business person would do in such a situation and flees to the no man’s land that is the Bronx.
Ann first encounters the gang known as the Zombies. The Zombies are a bunch of sissies who dress up in white roller hockey gear complete with skates and hockey sticks. I’m sure those skates are pretty good for rolling over all the rubble in this no man’s land.
They threaten her until the Riders show up. The Riders are your good guys (at least some of them are) because they turn out to be the most normal gang in the Bronx. They ride motorcycles and dress up like bikers usually do. Except for their leader Trash that is.
Trash (Mark Gregory, who was supposedly discovered in real life in a shoe store) is one of these tall, smooth-chested guys with pouty lips and lots of permed heavy metal hair. I kept squinting to see if he was actually the bassist for Ratt, but never could quite make the call one way or the other.
He accents his kick ass hair with a leather headband, leather vest (no shirt, but that’s stating the obvious) and tight blue jeans that appeared to come with the crotch bulge sewn right in.
He mostly talked like he was learning English as he went along and spent entirely too much time taking lip from his fellow gang members, particularly the traitorous Ice, but I won’t lie and say that I wasn’t excited to learn that Trash returned for Escape from the Bronx!
Trash and the rest of Riders take Ann under their wing, but Ann’s dad isn’t about to let his little girl fly the coop so easily. He starts plotting to get her out of the Bronx and eventually comes up with his plan to use the one man capable of going up against everything the Bronx has to throw at a man: real-life Bronx native Vic Morrow as Hammer!
Hammer doesn’t care about anything so long as he can go into the Bronx and waste a bunch of dirtbags. He’s the kind of guy who, when one character whines that Hammer is just hoping that no one remembers he was from the Bronx, he snarls back something like, “no, I want to make sure they don’t forget it!”
Part of Hammer’s scheme to get Ann back and to satisfy his personal antipathy towards all the inhabitants of the Bronx is to start a big gang war. To this end, he recruits Ice, with the promise that with Trash out of the way he can assume his rightful role as leader of the Riders.
Ice gives him Trash’s spear because Hammer knows that Trash is going to Ogre (Fred Williamson) for help in locating Ann (she went and got herself captured by the Zombies after they were able to drop a cargo net on Trash). With the spear, Hammer figures he can make it look like Trash killed one of Ogre’s men, thus igniting an inferno of gang rage!
Getting to see Ogre isn’t as easy as just hopping on your hog and riding across town though. Trash will have cross the territories of several different gangs to get there. I think we all know what that means! Just as he did in his superlative 2019: After The Fall Of New York, director Enzo G. Castellari (also playing the Vice President in this movie) keeps things colorfully silly by having each gang dressed up in a different gimmick.
Hammer finally pulls his dirty trick on Trash and Ogre, but after some yelling and screaming, Ogre and Trash decide to work together to free Ann from the clutches of the Zombies.
After an apocalyptic battle with the Zombies, everyone goes back to Ogre’s place where Ogre brings out a New York City themed birthday cake for Ann. That’s when Hammer attacks will all his flame thrower-wielding policemen!
This is when Hammer really brings it home as he stands around cackling madly and using these hand movements straight out of the Handbook for Aspiring Megalomaniacs. Trash has the last laugh though when he shots Hammer in the chest with a grappling hook.
Well, he would have had the last laugh, if Ann hadn’t gone and gotten her ass shot off, but it’s like she reminds Trash during her extended death scene, “we…live…with…death” As trite as that is, Trash can’t complain since he gave her the same (though much longer and funnier) speech about death in the Bronx while they were experiencing a quiet moment on a beach somewhere.
Just like in his 2019: After The Fall Of New York, Enzo does it again. With little more to work with than a bad idea and incompetent cast, including Ann, who was played by his daughter, he manages to wring lots of low expectation entertainment from his stew of bad wardrobe, bad hair, bad dubbing, and bad dialogue. None of it gets in the way of copious amounts of action and swearing that keep the viewer fixated on the screen in moderate disbelief.
Obviously not as over the top as 2019: After The Fall Of New York since this was rooted closer to reality (trust me – that was hard to write), but those of you worried that the movie would just be some grimy biker flick with guys in rival gangs swinging chains at each other, can rest assured that there’s flame throwers, boot spikes, elbow spikes, hockey sticks, knives, guns, metal fingernails, a whip, and that grappling hook and they all get a good workout.
© 2014 MonsterHunter