Saturday, June 26, 2010

Streets of Fire (1984, Walter Hill)

Streets of Fire is one of those movies that was on every video store shelf in the 80s.  Seeing that cover became second nature and I'll admit I never really thought twice about the video tape hidden under that classic slice of nostalgic artwork.  Honestly, I don't even remember why I decided to check the film out a couple years ago.  It may have been the Walter Hill association or one of the many fine actors in the film.  Regardless, it was long overdue.

Streets of Fire stars Michael Paré as Tom Cody, an ex army soldier who comes back to his hometown at the request of his sister Reva (Deborah Van Valkenburgh).  Local Pop Star Ellen Aim (Diane Lane) is kidnapped at a hometown gig, by gang leader Raven Shaddock (Willem Dafoe) and Tom, who used to be Ellen's boyfriend, is the only one who can get her back.  Along with Ellen's manager Billy Fish (Rick Moranis) and drifter McCoy (Amy Madigan), Cody has to infiltrate Shaddock's hideout and get Ellen back, while avoiding the local cops and Shaddock's goons.

Before re-watching Streets of Fire, I was ready to give it a 9/10 rating.  Apparently I had forgotten one minor flaw in the film...its dialogue.  Hill created a visually stunning "rock n' roll fable" with colorful characters, timeless scenery, rockin' music and a great cast.  Though not all bad, the dialogue however detracts from the otherwise spectacular film, as does the annoying character of McCoy (originally written as a male).  That being said, I would still consider this film a classic for its time and something I will definitely re-visit.  Just watching the concert scenes with the always lovely Diane Lane singing (actually it's not even her voice but whatever), which are an interesting mix of styles (most prevalent being 80s New Wave and 50s Rock), makes me want to watch the film over and over again.

RATING:  7/10

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