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Streets Of Fire [Collector's Edition] [Blu-ray]
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Amid a brooding rock & roll landscape, the Bombers motorcycle gang, led by the vicious Raven Shaddock (Willem Dafoe, John Wick), kidnap diva Ellen Aim (Diane Lane, Man of Steel). Her hope for rescue lies with unlikely heroes: soldier of fortune Tom Cody (Michael Pare, Bad Moon) and his sidekick, the two-fisted beer-guzzling McCoy (Amy Madigan, The Dark Half). Joined by Ellens manager, Billy Fish (Rick Moranis, Ghostbusters), the trio plunges headfirst into a world of rain-splattered streets, hot cars, and deadly assassins.
This cult favorite features a razor-sharp cast and original songs written by Jim Steinman, Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty and Ry Cooder and performed by The Blasters and The Fixx. Directed by cult filmmaker Walter Hill (The Warriors, Southern Comfort, 48 Hrs.), Streets of Fire is a rock & roll shotgun blast to the senses.
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Top Customer Reviews
It has been said that this is the '50's movie set in the '80's Walter Hill always wanted to make, and he succeeds in catching that feeling. The people are clad in '50's garb, the cars are glorious pieces of Detroit steel or Studebakers, the biker gang lives the dream of Link Wray's music and the threat of Brando's "Wild Ones," the music is at times fast and urgent, like youth racing to an exciting finish, or moody and atmospheric, catching tension, sorrow, and romance. The production value is first-rate, every rain puddle in place, glorious neon colors, and a literally "ripping" scene disolve.
Hill has created a complete world here. The story takes place in a city that is so huge a wanderer (such as Amy Madigan's or Michael Pare's characters) can pass through a "district" the way an old west drifter would pass through a town (not the only similarity to westerns this movie has). One can drive all night, passing through several of these districts, each with their own distinctive character, without finding the end of it. There is a run-down residential area, a nightlife strip, a spooky industrial area, even a southern style district with racist cops! The character of these districts is expressed everywhere, from the production design to the music to the costumes, so you can really catch the flavor of it. I felt that the costumes especially should be commended (hello, academy), not only because they were well produced and looked good, but also each costume expressed the character of the people wearing them and the district they resided in.
The main action of the movie follows the pattern of a less serious version of "The Warriors": our heroes must find their way home against great odds. They must take trains, steal cars, fight cops, and hide from their pursuers. Instead of the run-down griminess of a city on the edge of collapse, however, there is the sense of urgent vibrancy of a thriving culture.
Loving this movie so much, I have accumulated way too much trivia about it. The name of the biker bar, "Torchies" is used in "48 hrs" "The Driver," and "Brewster's Millions." The stripper in the bar is played by Jennifer Beales' double from "Flashdance." She was also in a rock video in the early '80's. The racist cop from the Ardmore is the Action News reporter from "Brewster's..." The train conductor was the DJ in "The Warriors." Robert Townsend can be seen as one of the doo-wop combo, but does not have a single line, unless you count him lip-psynching the songs. They used such light-sensitive film in making the movie that some of the neon was too bright and they had to paint it in.
The music, as has been said before, is great. Ry Cooder (a frequent Hill colaborator) does all the incidental music covering such works as "Get out of Denver" and "Rumble," as well as creating some original pieces. It's a shame none of it wound up on the soundtrack album. The Blasters hit their high-water mark of mainstream popularity with their performance at Torchies (this was my first exposure to them and they have been my favorite band ever since). The Jim Steinman anthems, though not his best, are very appropriate for the theme of misspent youth that the movie has. I don't understand what The Fixx was doing on the closing credits, but it's a good song.
About the acting: it seems acting skills are in inverse proportion to matinee-idol attractiveness, but that's OK, because the beautifully attractive leads don't have to do much (and Diane Lane is more beautiful here than in any other movie before or since). The less attractive secondaries get the good banter , and the stoic cop and the evil villain play their roles to the hilt.
Sure the plot is predictable, corny, even. So is the dialogue. That's part of what makes it so cool! Corniness comes from tradition and universality, so what makes it distinctive is the style, and what style! And its worth noting that the final showdown is one of the most exciting fights in cinema, and has a unique and thrilling esthetic.
So pop a brew, pour that tequila, get some chips & salsa, cuddle with your honey, and crank up your stereo big-screen TV (hopefully you've got a widescreen version too). This is fun, thrilling, and great, and if you're not smooching by the end, get another honey!
Just a thought about the DVD version vs. the VHS version...
In most instances, a DVD version of a movie is superior to the VHS version. The picture is sharper, the colors more bright, clear, and subtle, the sound better, and it is available in widescreen. All these things are true about the Streets of Fire DVD, however...
This movie is not a subtle film. It's aesthetic choices are bold and strong, not subtle or deep. In the VHS version, where the main color on the screen is red, it totally bleeds RED. Where it is blue, and is a bold and dominant BLUE, etc. On DVD these effects are lost as the sharpness of the medium brings out the subtleties of the colors. A shot that was dominantly blue is now a suble mix of greens and blues, and is weaker for it.
Also, that old VHS had a trailer for "Conan the Destroyer," one of the least subtle movies of all time.Seeing that before hearing that Ry Cooder riff really put me in that mid-'80's action movie mood!
Even after watching Streets of Fire more than a dozen times, I am still brought to bouncing excitement by the story and dialogue. I've gotten my wife hooked on the Fire Inc/ Ellen Aim songs. I've bought copies for friends. I might even buy copies for my enemies. Just go watch this movie. If you're not utterly dead inside, you will at least have fun with it.