Set against a brooding rock & roll landscape, the Bombers motorcycle gang, led by the vicious Raven Shaddock (Willem Dafoe), kidnap diva Ellen Aim (Diane Lane). Her hope for rescue lies with unlikely heroes: soldier of fortune Tom Cody (Michael Pare) and his sidekick, the two-fisted beer-guzzling McCoy (Amy Madigan). Joined by Ellen's manager, Billy Fish (Rick Moranis), the trio plunge headfirst into a world of rain-splattered streets, hot cars and deadly assassins. This cult hit features a razor-sharp cast and original songs written by Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty and Ry Cooder and performed by such greats as The Blasters and The Fixx. Streets of Fire is a rock & roll shotgun blast to the senses.
Walter Hill's updated (1984), highly stylized take on biker movies still looks like a determinedly eccentric project that happens to work at times, but not at others. Michael Paré plays a biker who agrees to rescue his ex-girlfriend (a rocker played by Diane Lane) from kidnappers (led by Willem Dafoe). The ensuing battle against a nocturnal background of industrial blight, chrome, and loud music is like some fever dream of a Springsteen fan who listened to the song "Born to Run" far too often. The audacity of the film carries it a long way even after it becomes clear that Hill's experiment is crumbling under its own weight. Dafoe, who looked even spookier back then than he does now, is memorable, as are Amy Madigan and Rick Moranis. Music is by Ry Cooder, with an appearance by the Blasters. The DVD release has a widescreen presentation, optional French soundtrack, optional Spanish subtitles. --Tom Keogh