Escape from the Bronx (1983)

When we last left headband-clad biker tough Trash at the end of 1990: The Bronx Warriors, he was wandering the wreckage of his beloved Bronx after firing a grappling hook into Vic Morrow and briefly lamenting the death of the girl who had first caused him to rip off the plot of Escape From New York.

By the time of Enzo G. Castellari’s Escape from the Bronx, a plan is afoot to raze the entire Bronx and build a gleaming new metropolis over top of it. In an effort to make this come to pass the president and vice president of the company in charge of the project aim to rid the area of its residents no matter the cost.

The public line is that generous financial incentives are being offered as well as relocating residents to lovely solar powered homes in New Mexico. The cruel reality is that guys in silver suits and motorcycle helmets are going around armed with flamethrowers and roasting every Bronxian they can find. I’ll bet that whole dang borough was smelling like a Kentucky Fried Chicken after awhile!

After a failed attempt to kill Trash, the bad guys decide that if they can’t get Trash, then they’ll get his parents. Well, I guess that’s a good plan, if you’re looking to give Trash all kinds of incentive to unify the remaining gang members in an all out rebellion that will leave the city a pile of smoldering ruins!

And just like we imagined, we meet Mr. and Mrs. Trash in the middle of an argument while Mr. Trash is sucking down a Budweiser.

A team of dirty, no good Disinfestors is standing outside the door listening in on their squabble though and once they’ve heard enough, they break in to get some flame throwing practice before going up against Trash himself.

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Trash comes home and discovers his parents are dead. This elicits something along the lines of a saddened sneer and he ends up underground with the remaining gang members eating soup while everyone else is discussing kidnapping the president of the company doing all these mean things.

But it’s not like he’s so wrapped up in his own grief that he can’t offer a suggestion when someone wonders how they would get around above ground to snatch the president with all the security present. “Uh, dat would be hard, but you could do it under da ground, right?”

I’m paraphrasing Trash here, but we know a good idea for a low budget movie when we hear it! I feel about forty minutes of run down sewer scenes coming on!

The plot involves kidnapping the president so that the corporation will have to negotiate with the residents of the Bronx. If this doesn’t sound exactly like the sort of plan that Trash or the gang leader Dablone (Antonio Sabato, Sr. in pirate clothes) would come up with, you’re even smarter than Trash! It’s the idea of nosy reporter, Moon!

She’s a Bronx resident who is outraged at what is happening and is determined to make a difference. Later on, during the actual kidnapping, she would be determined to get her ass shot off as a diversion so that Trash and Strike could kidnap the president.

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By now you’re wondering who the hell Strike is. Strike (Scorpion from The New Barbarians) would be the only man who can carry off the plan.

He’s the brains behind that big underground bank robbery job and the underground job that cleaned Tiffany’s out. He’s pretty much retired with his young son (Junior) to an underground lair and if you meet up with him, you better hope he’s in a good mood because if he isn’t then blah, blah, blah. We know he’s going to take the job, so why bother trying to establish his “psycho-rogue” credentials?

And does it make me a bad person that I laughed out loud when Junior first met Trash and called him a “fag?” Trash got a little payback later when he made a comment to Strike about whether Strike was going to help out or just sit there and “scratch your balls.” You just don’t get movies anymore that use such banal vulgarity as the primary form of communication. (Henry Silva’s first word in the movie is the f-word!)

Henry Silva? You better believe it! Taking over the spot of “embarrassed actor you’ve probably heard of picking up a paycheck in a movie they hope no one ever sees” from the late Vic Morrow, Henry plays the part of Wrangler, the expelled warden who is now in charge of the Disinfestors’ plot to kill Trash and then to rescue the president once he’s kidnapped, and then to kill the president once the vice president asks him to.

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Truth be told, Henry doesn’t do much more than hang around the silver command post van of the Disinfestors looking alternately bored and pained by being anywhere near a movie directed by a guy named Enzo and starring Enzo’s brother as the president.

You get a lot of running around sewers and guys shooting at each other as well as stuff blowing up (Junior is a demolitions expert) and there’s even a scene where Strike slides down a rope with one hand while shooting Disinfestors with the gun in his other hand. And we all know that guys sliding and/or swinging on ropes is never bad.

The only knock against Escape from the Bronx would have to be that it just isn’t quite 1990: The Bronx Warriors. While it easily outclasses most of its post-apocalyptic Italian brethren, it doesn’t have the crazy quilt of offbeat characters of the first one or the wide variety of weaponry used.

It also didn’t have much in the way of Trash. For some reason, he wasn’t doing much more than running around shooting his peashooter every now and again. He hardly had any dialogue (I think the ball scratching comment was the highlight) and Enzo seemed more than satisfied to treat this as an ensemble piece and play down actor Mark Gregory’s weaknesses (everything but his hair).

That suits the film just fine though because it all ends up smelling like extra sharp mid-eighties cheese however you slice it, so go on and take this Trash out. You know you want to.

© 2014 MonsterHunter

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