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ESCAPE FROM THE BRONX (BLU RAY) (1983)
Published by David Carter on 2015/8/2 (725 reads)
Directed by Enzo G Castellari
Review by David Carter
Released by Blue Underground
Running Time: 89 minutes
Rating: Rated R
Color format: Color
Audio/Subtitles: 1.0 DTS-HD Mono English/English, French, and Spanish Subtitles
Region Code: 1, NTSC
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
16:9 Enhanced: Yes
Special Features: Director’s commentary, Final part of Castellari interview, “The Hunt for Trash” featurette, poster & still gallery
Trailer Online: Yes
ESCAPE FROM THE BRONX was the concluding episode of Enzo Castellari’s post-apocalyptic trilogy. He returns to the “no man’s land” of the Bronx first seen in 1990: THE BRONX WARRIORS and to its stoic hero, Trash. In the intervening years, the post-apocalyptic genre had gotten a shot in the arm through the success of John Carpenter’s ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, which would serve as the primary influence for Castellari’s ESCAPE. Carpenter’s urban apocalypse would be right up Castellari’s alley and, while he borrows liberally, ESCAPE FROM THE BRONX contains the unique charm that can only be found in Italian exploitation cinema. The film is now available on a Blu Ray/DVD combo pack from Blue Underground.
The Bronx has continued to decay in the years since 1990, and former Riders leader Trash roams the city alone, scavenging to survive. The remaining gangs have united under the leadership of Dablone, whose offer of an alliance with Trash falls on deaf ears. They share a common enemy in the form of the Disinfestors, kill teams tasked with eliminating the few remaining inhabitants of the Bronx by the brutal Floyd Wrangler (Henry Silva). Dablone, Trash, and the others have found a safe haven underneath the crumbling buildings in a series of tunnels where they can hide from the guns and flame-throwers of the Disinfestors.
Trash’s insistence on independence is tested when Wrangler’s men kill his parents. He forms an alliance with weapon-smith Strike and reporter Moon Gray to strike back at the source of the trouble: the General Construction Corporation. They kidnap the company President and plan to ransom him to stop the siege on the Bronx. Their plan backfires, however, and Wrangler’s Disinfestors invade the underground, forcing a final standoff with Trash and the united gangs.
ESCAPE departs from the more character driven style of 1990 and THE NEW BARBARIANS for an all-out action format. This is in many ways the post-apocalyptic equivalent to a war film as Trash and Dablone dispatch with countless faceless Disinfestors in impressively graphic style. Explosions, decapitations, and burnings are the rule of the day, and Castellari keeps the audience satisfied by having each sequence top the previous one. Henry Silva does most of the dramatic heavy lifting, and his over-the-top performance is a good compliment to the stoicism of Mark Gregory as Trash. ESCAPE FROM THE BRONX epitomizes the grindhouse aesthetic of giving audiences what they want to the point of overkill, and is thoroughly enjoyable because of it.
Blue Underground’s restoration of these films has been top notch. The Blu Ray version of the film was used for this review, but the picture quality is excellent on both the Blu Ray and Standard definitions of the film. The bonus features include the conclusion of the Castellari/De Angelis conversation as well the engrossing short “The Hunt for Trash” about one superfan’s mission to find Mark Gregory. ESCAPE FROM THE BRONX is a great concluding chapter to this trilogy of releases; one that is begging to be watched as a mini-marathon of all three films.
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