Book Review

Discuss the novel by Sol Yurick upon which the movie is based.

Book Review

Postby Marlboroprojects » Mon May 22, 2006 12:35 am

A little over a year ago we were having a big discussion on the boards about the book vs. the movie. At the time I had just picked up a copy of the book and was giving a little "running review" as I read it. Well, now that the book has it's own forum, I hunted down that thread & edited all my posts together into a sort of "mini review". It should answer any questions for anyone who is thinking about buying the book:

I just picked up a copy (the only one in stock  :D) at Barnes & Noble on West 4th Street. Believe it or not I actually missed it while I was looking for it on the shelves and when I went to the desk to find out how long it would take to order a copy, the saleslady saw that they had one & we found it.

Anyways......... I started to read it on the train on the way home, so here's what I can gather for you so far:

Yes, there is a very long winded prologue where Sol Yurick basically gives you his life history and everything that went into the writing of the book. He finishes up with typical writer's disdain for the movie saying it wasn't very much like his book. (Ironically, he states he backed out of a deal with a producer who promised to make the movie exactly like the book to take more money from Paramount.)

The book doesn't start at a youth board as someone mentioned. It starts at the cemetary where the Dominators (The Warriors) have just escaped the fallout from the gang meeting. Pappa Arnold (Cleon) is missing. Hector (Swan) takes over and is challenged by Junior (I'm guessing Fox at this point). Hinton (Rembrandt) is tired and just wants to go to sleep.

Then the book goes back to earlier in the day, to the clubhouse of the Delancey Thrones (Riffs) and their leader Ismail Rivera (Cyrus). It is the 4th of July & fireworks are going off all around the hood. the guys are bored and playing cards while their girlfriends watch when a youth worker pays them a visit. He suspects something is wrong & that there might be a rumble because everyone is tense & Ishmail doesn't even talk to him. The gang abruptly leaves & tells the social worker they are gonna go to the movies to cool off cause it's real hot out.
Well then, from there it describes the Dominators heading off to the meeting. The whole gang walks them to the edge of their turf and then the 7 delegates have to travel a few blocks through a rival gang's turf to get to the train. It's cool though cause they know where the Dominators are heading and let them through. (although the women ask if they're" just gonna let anyone march through" - shades of Mercy)
And one of the rival members starts mouthing off and Lunkface (Ajax) is getting angry, but Hector calms him down.

Then the book describes a couple of other gangs on their way to the meeting. One on the bus, one in a car , & one on foot. All are described as being very careful not to start any trouble and have the cops come down on them. We also hear about Ismail & his Luitenants driving around the whole city making sure what gangs are coming.

Now we get to the big meeting and this is where all similarity to the movie stops. the meeting is in an open field in a very remote area of Van Courtland Park. The gangs are litteraly snuck in under cover of darkness one group at a time by Ismail's people so no one will see them. when it comes time for Ismails speech, he doesn't address the whole group like in the movie, but speaks low so only those close up can hear him and then pass what he says on to everyone else.

Basically the message is the same as in the movie........100,000 soldiers, take over the city, yada yada yada. The difference is that instead of being completely with him and chearing every word like in the movie, not everyone likes what they hear. Then the fun starts. Fights break out, the cops show up, and many of the gangs think Ismail called the meeting to set them up...........now the strange part.......... all of the gangs brought guns gift wrapped to give to Ismail as "tokens of allegiance".
Now they're all ripping the paper off the guns and opening up on him. Even though like a hundred people are shooting at him he only gets hit twice...in the chest and head, and falls dead against some bushes. Now all hell is breaking loose as no one really knows how to get out of there except Ismail's people.
Well, I finished the book and will give my impressions.

First, from where I left off......Ranchgal is right. Not only aren't the Dominators blamed for killing Ishmail, no one is. After the Gang escaped the meeting I don't think Ishmail is ever mentioned again. So, the Dominators are not being hunted by every gang like the Warriors were. They're not being hunted at all.

Now for those that are wondering if they should buy the book or not...........if you are only a fan of the movie itself and otherwise have no interest in gang related fiction, or if you are expecting the book to follow line for line with the movie, I say save your money.

If however you are interested in gangs in general and like movies such as West side Story and The Wanderers in addition to the warriors I say give it a try. Just DON'T expect it to be a novelization of the movie. If that is what you are after I say you should try to get a copy of the script online.

Some loose observations:

For a book about gangs, there is hardly any gang warfare. Except for the riot that breaks out at the meeting, you never see two gangs get it on.

It seems after reading the whole book that contrary to initial thoughts on who is based on who in the movie, I've come to the conclusion that some characters in the book were combined to make 1 character in the movie.
For example, Hinton's introduction in the book as being the artist who is told to "hit everything in site", and his early attitudes made be initially believe he became Rembrandt in the movie. However as the book progresses, you can clearly see by his actions (he's the one who travels through the subway tunnel alone) and changing attitude that Swan is based very heavily on his character. (along with Hector)

What Sol Yurick lacks in writing about gang warfare, he certainly makes up for in graphic sex sequences. We are "treated" to the gang rape of the Mercy character, the attempted gang rape of a drunk nurse in central park, Hinton's sex romp with a teen prostitute in the bathroom stall at the Times Square Subway Station, Hinton having a conversation with his mother while she's getting nailed by her boyfriend, and the implied incest between Hinton's brother & sister (sleeping naked in the same bed).

The Dominator's "colors" are a pin that looks like a mercedes emblem that they wear on their hats. No vests here, sorry.

The one scene in the book closest to anything in the movie is when the Dominators get off the train (due to construction not a fire like the movie) and meet up with the low class gang. Other than the name of the gangs, this scene is almost exactly the same as the movie, even some of the dialogue is identical. Unfortunately, the gang never comes after them like the Orphans do after being told to go screw themselves when the Mercy character demands a pin.
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Re: Book Review

Postby MiddleMan07 » Mon May 22, 2006 9:41 pm

Very good review! Karma+
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Re: Book Review

Postby Marlboroprojects » Mon May 22, 2006 11:28 pm

Thanks Middleman. As you can see it really is apples to oranges when comparing the book to the movie. You can definitely see the influences, but they really are quite different.

This is the feeling that I get about the remake. The remake will be to the Original what the Original was to the book.
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Re: Book Review

Postby MiddleMan07 » Mon May 22, 2006 11:40 pm

Good point, i wonder if the remake will focus on the book more than the movie. I heard the book will be a bigger influence, but we'll just have to see.
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Re: Book Review

Postby Furies4life » Mon May 22, 2006 11:51 pm

Wow amazing my friend. Now i would really like to read this book. After your review i now want to ge this book. Karma +
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Re: Book Review

Postby Kujo_87 » Tue May 23, 2006 12:06 am

Great review =D>!! I think if people remember that the movie is based on the book and not the other way around then its much easier to have an open mind about it. I feel sorry for any Baseball Furies fan who's reading the book and hasn't got to the Riverside part yet.
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Re: Book Review

Postby Reggie Stylez » Sat Aug 02, 2008 9:59 pm

Great review mate. You know, I realllly hope that one day, they make a movie called the Coney Island Dominators, and make it just like the book.
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