on 5 August 2004
I saw this film originally at the cinema following a review on Film 84 with Barry Norman. Surprisingly Barry loved the film. Not for its script and plot but for it's imagery and soundtrack. Score by Ry Cooder plus some songs by Jim Steinman - heaven as far as I am concerned. So I went to see it. Barry was right. The plot is simple. Bads guys take girl. Good guy goes to get girl back - you can guess the rest. The acting is excellent, despite some of the corny dialogue, with early roles for Diane Lane, Rick Morianis and the wonderful Willem Defoe plus Michael Pare (don't know what happened to him). I have been listening to the soundtrack for years, I wore out my cassette and now have the CD. I have been waiting for a UK DVD release since I got my DVD player in 2000. Now it's here and I can continue to get nowhere fast. Buy it, borrow it but watch it and enjoy it. It's fun.
on 11 June 2011
The movie in itself has been praised here by others already, so I don't have to go into details. I really like the flow of the film, the unreal setting with it's mixture of fifties and eighties youth culture and the DOPs ability to paint with light. But this DVD release is not recommended. How can you choose the 4:3 TV master for a DVD release, cropping a substantial amount of the picture? And these people, who don't know anything about artistic values, complain about copyright infringements as an act of disrepect toward the artist? Really?
Go and buy the American release from Universal, it has the right aspect ratio to fully enjoy the camera work. Make it a good day for Walter Hill.
on 10 March 2004
Having picked this film up from my brother's shelf one day I thought it looked like the typical nonsense he owned. However, when I actually was bored enough to watch it I enjoyed it immensely! I have watched it three or four times now and every time I loved it. Okay, so it's not the best film ever made and wouldn't win awards for good film-making but it is very entertaining. Sometimes it is good to have a film that can just sweep youu along, make you root for the characters and make you laugh.
There are quite a few moments of (unintentional) quite juvenile humour, mainly because of the costumes worn by the villians but if you can viiew the film without taking it too seriously then this only adds to it. The violence levels are quite high but it is very much comic-book violence and compared to modern films is a lot less graituitous.
The characters are pretty much a bunch of stereotypes but there isn't much room for their development so knowing about them from the stereotypes helps you know who to support - and the male lead is a bit of alright too. It contains an early role for Rick Moranis (Ghostbusters, Honey I Shrunk The Kids) and it's good to see him in a less-than wholesome part.
Overall this film has an energy than can carry you all the way through it and an easy, fairy-tale like story that you can give yourself to without much thought. Approach it wanting to be entertained by some perfect 80's B-movie and you will love it, I promise!
on 14 January 2013
Some hero tough nut gets the call to return back to his old stomping ground, after a battalion of bikers kidnap his rockstar, ex~girlfriend. Inevitabley he takes the job on and goes up against all the girders and flaming barrels they can throw at him..!
I first saw this on tele in the 80s and became an instant fan. .
What a great rock and roll action movie with tremendous 1950's overtones! The duck arsed fun flows thick and fast, with the daddy cool dialogue hitting the mark every time. The acting works just fine and as usual, Hill chalks up another classic of the genre, similar in ways to The Warriors. Some of the rock tracks start to out stay their welcome by the end and the hero plays it a bit too Stallonesian for my liking, but overall its a sure fire winner with its nonstop fisticuffs and sillyness! Moranis, Madigan and Defoe (amongst others!) are all excellent..
The dvd is bare bones but never the less worth watching for the movie alone.
Once a year I think "Yes, it's time" and watch "Streets of Fire", never get tired of it.
Fast moving, absolutely brilliant music (courtesy of Jim Steinman and Ry Cooder) and a cast who play it tongue in cheek, think of a 1950s biker movie speeded up with very loud music. It just works, simple as that, and if I could be in the film, I'd go for the Amy Madigan role of "McCoy", the tough female sidekick. Apparently the film was a box office flop when it appeared in the 80s (but I did see it at the cinema then - those were the days when you could afford to go!) but I wonder now if it's become a bit of a cult classic, hope so as it definitely merits attention - Barry Norman liked it a lot too!
The film never lets up - you get an avalanche of action, silliness and music - and it is worth seeing just to see a young Willem Dafoe in an outfit that simply boggles the mind or, at the very least, you think "Ooh, I bet they were uncomfortable to wear"!!! And I love the music - oh yes, "I can dream about you"!!!
on 5 February 2004
Typical Walter Hill mixture of action, romance and adventure, set in a fantasy location, with great imagery and pace. Good fun, exciting blends of music and atmosphere with some memorable moments. If you don’t take it seriously a most enjoyable movie.
on 11 December 2006
An extremely original concept for a film,which showcases exactly why the 80's need to be remembered.Definately Michael Pare best film,and there is great chemistry between him and the gorgeous Diane Lane which makes the film.The fight between Pare and William DeFoe is one of the greatest fights commited to celluoid.The soundtrack is next to none in terms of energy and passion,showing why jim steinman is one of the best song writers of a generation.
The film is just one constant rush of action and music,and even the tender 'love moments'are fitting,unlike many films in which the love interests slow down the film.
You would be mad to miss this film,as it shows how much energy the 80's really had
You and me, we're goin' nowhere slowly
And we gotta get away from the past
There's nothin' wrong with goin' nowhere, baby
But we should be goin' nowhere fast
It's so much better goin' nowhere fast
Jim Steinman bookends "Streets of Fire" with a couple of his operatic rock epics that make it clear he does not need Meatloaf or even Bonnie Tyler to make his songs sound great (Laurie Sargent and Holly Sherwood get the honors respectively) and director William Hill tries to get us from the big opening to the grand finale by telling a story about a guy trying to get his girl back with a little help from his friends. Ry Cooder provides the rock pulse in the middle aided and abetted by the Beaters and their raucous "One Bad Stud." There is no doubt that the soundtrack fuels this 1984 rock & roll fable that has achieved cult status with its fans, of whom I would clearly be one.
This is a biker movie where Fifties sensibilities are dressed up with a touch of haute couture, Studebakers are the king of the road, the elevated train tracks dominate the city streets, and do-wop groups do the Moonwalk. Ellen Aim (Diane Lane) and the Attackers are doing a big concert back home when the Bombers show up and kidnap the singer at the order of their leader, Raven Shaddock (Willem Dafoe). So Reva (Deborah Van Valkenburgh) who runs the local diner wires her kid brother, Tom Cody (Michael Paré), an ex-solider and Ellen's ex-flame to come home and put things to rights. He walks into the diner and the arrival of a gang of young punks gives him an immediate opportunity to demonstrate that even though he has skinny arms Tom can take care of business (plus he is way cool, as demonstrated by his giving the first punk a second opportunity to try and get his switchblade act together). He also gets a nice fire engine red convertible in return.
Of course, not even Tom Cody can take the Bombers on all by himself, so along for the fun is McCoy (Amy Madigan), another ex-soldier who gets to do the driving and Billy Fish (Rick Moranis), who is not only Ellen's manager but her (for lack of a better word) current boyfriend. Billy has a mouth on him and while Tom never slaps him down McCoy has some fun egging him on about Tom being Ellen's old flame. But getting Ellen out of the Battery is only part of the job, because Tom has to get her back home and you know there is going to be a show down between Raven and Tom (but you probably be surprised by Raven's choice of weapons).
The movie is something of a let down after the credits end, especially since the film editors do some nice wipes and freeze frames that make for a memorable title credits. That comes back for the bit set to Steve Nick's "Sorcerer" (also sung by Sargent), but the opening number "Goin' Nowhere Fast" gets you hooked and it is not until "Tonight Is What It Means to Be Young" at the end that there is that much energy on the screen. I suppose it would have been exhausting to have twice as many Steinman numbers in this film, but this is a musical where the performer needs to be on stage to sing, which is underscored by the music video on the television sets in the bar that allows Ellen to sing a third song.
There is also a problem because the chemistry between Tom and Ellen is pretty sedate. I know what I see in Ellen Aim because I had a crush on Diane Lane when she was in "A Little Romance" and in this film she is grown up enough from being on the cover of "Time" that such thoughts are no longer bad things (By the time she was nominated for an Oscar for "Unfaithful" she could not be more grown up as far as I am concerned, although her Stella in the Baldwin-Lange version of "Streetcar" was pretty good too). But whatever Tom say in Ellen is pretty much buried in the past. Her emotional high point is when she runs to him in the pouring rain, while his is the long last look he gives her at the end. As Ellen sings in "Sorcerer," they are just a "man and woman on a star street in the middle of a snow dream" (go ahead, try and prove something that metaphorical does not hold true).
Still it proves impossible for me not to just go along for the ride. After all, a boy can be the next best thing to an angel and Ellen might not be an angle but at least she's a girl and I've got a dream that when the darkness is over they'll be lyin' in the rings of the sun, but these lovers are star crossed not star kissed. But, hey, it's all we've really got tonight and when I start treating Steinman's overblown lyrics like a Shakespearean sonnet you know I have no choice in the end but to round up on this one even though the DVD does not include the memorable music videos that were released separately on video way back when.
Let the revels begins
Let the fire be started
We're dancing for the desparate and the brokenhearted
Tonight is what it means to be young
Before you know it, it's gone
Say a prayer in the darkness for the magic of love
No matter what it seems
Tonight is what it means to be young
on 5 January 2015
Brilliant soundtrack and actors. Many will criticise the dialogue between the characters but what they don't realise is that it's based in a world where music controls culture. It's not set in our world.
Unfortunatley they never made a sequel so we will never know more about their adventures.
on 5 November 2007
Set in a surreal world where fashion is a mixture of 50s rock & biker gangs, with 80s skinny ties & leggings.
It's not particularly intelligent, but it does have a certain visual flair, a good rock soundtrack & a few witty one liners.
In short, this is an entertaining and fairly original action movie. That's achieved something of a cult hit status.
The soundtrack is a Dolby Prologic mix. Better than standard stereo, with some rear channel effects, but it lacks the ooomph of a 5.1 mix.
This is a slight shame as the rock tracks would have benefitted from a decent DTS remaster, similar to the one given to Flash Gordon.
Picture quality is sub-standard and looks like a good quality VHS tape.
There's very little dirt & only the odd sparkle, but the picture is soft and slightly grainy. In one or two scenes the grain is really bad.
The black levels are also a little off, which is a problem as most of the film is set at night & many characters wear black.
Overall I'd give the film itself 4 stars, but the DVD 2 stars, so I'm going to average this to 3 stars.