Walter Hill has had a few of his classics released to Blu Ray in the UK recently including Southern Comfort and The Long Riders but the one I was most looking forward too was his classic rock and roll fable, Streets Of Fire.
When a concert by Ellen Aim (Diane Lane) and the Attackers is interrupted and the lead singer is kidnapped, her ex-boyfriend Tom Cody (Michael Pare) agrees to try and rescue her. He’s accompanied by a tough-talking veteran soldier McCoy (Amy Madigan) and Billy Fish (Rick Moranis), Ellen’s manager and current boyfriend. The rescue attempt brings him into a confrontation with Ellen’s kidnapper, Raven (Willem Dafoe), the leader of the Bombers motorcycle gang and the stage is set for a violent showdown.
Streets of Fire is deliberately set in an unknown time and place, a bit 1950’s, a bit 1930’s, this gives the film a fantasy look that blends well with the overall story and tone. The cast of then-unknowns do well in the roles, Defoe makes for a striking villain, Pare is ultra cool as the soldier who comes back to save his girl and Diane Lane is totally gorgeous as singer Ellen Aim.
There is plenty of action, very well choreographed but the violence was deliberately and rightly toned down from the original script to fit in with the overall tone of the film. The plot is deliberately simple, the set pieces very well done and the 80’s soundtrack will have your sound system pumping.
The film has always been served badly on home formats, it was also dumped on its initial cinema release by Universal after a change of top management. The previous DVD was dark and grainy and not even anamorphic so this new Blu ray although flawed, is a 100% upgrade.
It retains the grain, a bit too much at times, but overall the 1080p picture is solid, colours are bright and bold but it still lacks the spark that you would expect from a HD release. The sound mix, especially the DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 is superb, the music and effects are spread effectively across the soundstage, this is one of the best musical soundtracks I have heard in a long time.
Extra’s start off with an amusing and informative 75 minute documentary Rumble On The Lot in which features Michael Pare and Amy Madigan as well as director Walter Hill and art director James Allen. It goes into great depths on the making of the film, the casting and the problems of filming on the huge covered soundstage.
Michael Pare obviously had a great time making the movie and I am still puzzled as to why he did not become a bigger star. Other extras are the original electronic press kits, which show some great behind the scenes shooting of the film and two music video’s Tonight is What it Means to be Young and I Can Dream About You which while great to have are of poor quality.
Streets of Fire is one of my guilty pleasures, taken as a fantasy rock and roll fable it works perfectly and gets my thumbs up on all counts. LOCKED TO REGION B.
FILM: 9 PICTURE: 6 SOUND: 9 EXTRAS: 8