Streets Of Fire (UK - BD RB)
Marcus visits the Streets of Fire for the first time and isn't sure what it is really...
Another time. Another place. Streets of Fire is set in a world of rock and roll and warring gangs. When rock star Ellen Aim (Diane Lane) is kidnapped during her latest sell out concert by punk Raven (Willem Dafoe) it falls on the shoulders of ex-boyfriend and soldier of fortune Tom Cody (Michael Paré) to rescue her.
Simply put Streets of Fire is nuts. From it’s opening in your face musical number to its Rock n Roll rival gangs, there’s really very little like this alternative reality/western/fantasy/musical/cluster of madness. The first twenty minutes seem like a mish mash of music, fighting, odd edits and even odder rock and roll inspired gangs from different eras. All this comes together within the noir looking seemingly permanent night time city and while it's actually quite exciting and fun, it's hard to feel comfortable around.
Throughout, the over cooked dramatic dialogue is iffy in an old 50s TV serial sort of way and the attitudes being thrown around 100% of the time makes you wonder why anyone could find friends in this cruel film world.
Michael Paré is a typical lead bad boy with the classic floppy hair good looks and it's really only that that carries him through the hokey acting. A really young Willam Dafoe is creepy as hell here and it’s not just the weird rubber/leather costumes and pale powder make up he carries effortlessly throughout. There’s some out of sorts performances from Bill Paxton and Rick Moranis and while she has very little to make use of beyond her rockin’ musical performances, Diane Lane is an 80s cutie of the highest order here.
I’d never heard of Streets of Fire and watching it now began well. It gave me the sort of buzz I get when re-watching Purple Rain or even Howard the Duck. I think I have a soft spot for an 80s rock and roll fantasy. However despite it’s consistently moving pace, this odd movie reality ended up feeling more like the Mario Bros. movie or any number of grimy futures with mad elements the 90s threw out at us, even though Streets of Fire arrived a decade earlier (ahead of its a time maybe?).
I didn't hate this odd flick, in fact the first act made me think I may have missed out on an 80s offbeat treat for too long but it just didn’t hold on to me throughout. Streets of Fire is very much its own thing and while I can understand why it’s pretty much a forgotten movie that happens to have a good cast, I would imagine the film has its own fair share of fanboys as it's got that likeable so-bad-it's-good charm that these unique out of sorts features usually hold on to.
The image is grainy and very much a representation of the era but there are obvious improvements here. Colours are great, detail is much better than you’d expect, especially in costumes and elements of the sets which make all the big events look alive and full of little HD upgrade goodness.
Colours are all pretty natural. The neon lighting never runs away with itself and the black and white flashback is more grey and off white. Blacks are nice and dark but can be quite grubby in darker scenes when edges lose their sharpness and details disappear into shadows. Also there’s some super fuzzy musical numbers, especially one particular Diane Lane one that’s edited together like music video (which does actually turn out to be a music videos within the film).
I found the presentation here to be quite changeable. The well lit scenes tend to leave the film’s age behind (for the most part) but being a pretty dark flick the exterior scenes (that are all set based) don’t always look that great really. This isn’t really a presentation to impress but even me, a first timer to Streets of Fire can see this is obviously better looking than the VHS era the film's audience would probably be used to.
The 80s electro pop rock fills every speaker from the moment the film begins. It’s loud, kinetic and full of energy. With that said it’s not all great and elements such as the crowd roaring or the tinny beats from the instruments sound like they are struggling to hold up against the pretty strong bass driving the momentum. Just when it sounds great a hollow element will pop up and you really feel the track’s limitations.
Sometimes the 5.1 track feels spread a little too thinly. The rear based score can feel too separate from the rest of the track but generally it’s a good attempt at modernising the films sound design... when all the elements gel together anyway. Sound effects fair with more consistent results. Motorbike engines and general city ambience live in the rears and it widens the film’s mood and delivers a generally good audio attack quite well.
The film never really stops moving forward with easy to enjoy songs and the lively score from Ry Cooder. There’s always some element of score ticking away whether its chimes or upbeat guitar numbers and it keeps the film from ever slipping into a slump, even with its super attitude characters are giving each other hassle (like all the time).
‘Rumble on the Lot’ (79 mins) is a long old documentary with Walter Hill covering his film in a great deal of detail with many of his cast talking up the film as well (though none of the bigger names I should be said) They big up.the classic nature of the film, the western elements, the musical vibes and the romance. This is another great in depth making of, from script to screen and beyond and fans of the film should love this sort of treatment.
The ‘Original EPK’ (23:56 SD) is split into mini sections and mentions facts like the soundtrack features songs from Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty and covers cast, crew and general fluffy making of stuff. It has that classic 'everything in this film is amazing' approach like those old 80s EPKs did so well and feels like one long advert.
Last up is two music videos that look just awful in classic 80s ways.
I was new to Streets of Fire and I wasn't’t expecting its fantasy ‘Rock n Roll' madness. I actually had a fair bit of fun with it, thanks to young famous faces turning up but it really does outstay its welcome even in it’s short 90 minute runtime.
The presentation here will not amaze anyone but fans I’d imagine because stood up against more “classic” or “cult” Blu-ray releases, this one comes in at around what I’d consider average as opposed to impressive in AV even though it did have some highlights. That said, the long documentary is a great addition for the package and it's well worth a look if you fancy an in depth look at a bit of 80s insanity.
* Note: The images below are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 18th October 2013
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: Stereo PCM 2.0 English, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English
Extras: Documentary, Original EPK, Music Videos
Easter Egg: No
Director: Walter Hill
Cast: Diane Lane, Michael Pare, Willem Dafoe, Rick Moranis, Amy Madigan
Genre: Action, Drama, Film-Noir, Musical and Romance
Length: 93 minutes
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