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Fun Mix of Action, Comedy and Rock
Michael_Elliott11 February 2018
Streets of Fire (1984) *** (out of 4)

Pop Queen Ellen Aim (Diane Lane) returns to her crap hometown to perform a benefit concert even though her manager Billy Fish (Rick Moranis) didn't want her to. Before long she is kidnapped by Raven Shaddock (Willem Dafoe), the leader of a motorcycle gang. The police can't do anything so Ellen's ex-boyfriend Tom Cody (Michael Pare) agrees to try and save her.

Walter Hill's string of hits came to a crashing halt with STREETS OF FIRE but thankfully home video was right around the corner and the film eventually found it audiences and turned into a cult favorite. The film starts off with a title card call this a rock and roll fable set sometime during the future. What you've basically got here are elements of THE WARRIORS with a pinch of THE SEARCHERS thrown in but of course it's surrounded by a 50's rock and roll vibe.

STREETS OF FIRE might not be the director's best film but it's certainly a good one and one with many fun elements to it. I think a lot of credit has to go to Hill and his eye as he certainly knows how to build up an atmosphere and make you feel the locations that you're in. As with THE WARRIORS, both films were set in an unknown future but the films don't look like science fiction movies or the type of futures that they offer. Instead the director creates his own little world and he does a wonderful job at it. The costume design and set design are wonderful and add to the entertainment as well.

Another major plus are the performances including some future stars. Pare is wonderful in the lead role of the mercenary who agrees to take on this gang to get his former woman back. I really loved the laid back approach that Pare brought to the film and his comic timing, when needed, was also quite good. Lane is good in her role and Moranis adds some nice comic touches as well. Amy Madigan, Dafoe, Richard Lawson, Bill Paxton, Robert Townsend and Mykeltii Williamson are also good in their supporting parts.

The film also benefits from a good rock and roll soundtrack that once again helps add to the film's look and style. There are certainly some flaws with the picture but for the most part Hill has created a very fun and entertaining mix of action, music and comedy.
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The Matrix
Dusan Petrovic19 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This was the first version of Matrix. I just love this movie. Motocyle gang and their leader The Raven. Diane Lane is great in role. Everything in this title is like a dream. We can really say that, now in 2017, the year of dreams come true. Whenever I see this movie it remindes me on my childhood and a place I come from. Sincerelly, yours Dushan Petrovic from Belgrade, Serbia.
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Pure 80s.
Blueghost5 December 2017
I'm sorry, but films in the 1980s were pure entertainment. And by and large they were better than some of the offerings in the 70s, and certainly better than the films of the late 90s up to this day.

"Streets of Fire" is one of those "serious" films that you don't take too seriously. Like the copy says, it's a rock and roll fantasy. You'll go into this film and wonder where civilization went, and why the story and things in general unfold the way they do.

And that's your first mistake. You're just supposed to go along with it for the pure adventure. And that's what this film is, an adventure.

The cast is actually quite perfect for this, and it was cool seeing a YouTube clip and spotting Robert Townsend as one of the backup singers before he became a director in his own right.

The music is a kind of 80s take on traditional 1950s rock and roll, but with some modern and electronic flares.

The characters are from central casting, but work. The scenes are right out of Hollywood screen writing 101, but I think I remember my friend quoting director Walter Hill who said he wanted to put every movie cliché into this film. In an era of commercial film making when everyone was trying to top the other guy, when films like "The Right Stuff", "The Empire Strikes Back", and in particular for the year this film came out, "The Terminator", "Sixteen Candles" and "Ghostbusters" and others as the decade rolled on, it became harder and harder for film makers to top one another. But top they did, and Walter Hill really made a fine effort in showing what else could be done with commercial feature film making.

And it works. One scene rolls into another, and we're taken on an adventure that's familiar in terms of general theme, but has an added twist of a place far away and unknown in spite of being tragically familiar all at once. When you make a movie, you have to have fun doing it so the audience can have fun. It's grueling work, but you do it because you want to please the people who are counting on you to tell a rocking tale.

And that's what "Streets of Fire" does in spades. It's the kind of film that many a 1950's director, were they alive, would have liked to have made. It's that kind of movie. It's pure 80s.

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Great movie, it's a must see
chemie-824067 November 2017
A classic love story in the 50s style. Great cars,great music and everyone's cool. The soundtrack is the best of any movie. Numerous stars before they were. Classic if you like blues brothers, or any of the movies that take you somewhere this it. Getting harder to find but well worth the time when you find it. Tell em chemie-82406 sent you
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Don't know how, but it works.
katrinwolf28 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This is probably going to be the least useful review ever, but I'm still going to try. I saw this film about a year ago, during one of the "watch random unknown things" marathon, expecting nothing from it. And when it was over, my reaction could be summed up in "okay, not bad but nothing special, next one". I moved on, being 100% sure that I'll forget about this film in a few days. Yet, after some time, bits of it started returning to me. Again and again and again. Things I didn't think I would care to remember just dropped by my thoughts by themselves without any effort. Then I would start listening to the soundtrack. Then I would look up the names of the characters I couldn't recall. Then I would look at the poster and add it to the list of ones I'd like to put on my wall some day. Then I would look up some scenes. Then... then. Now it's been a year, and I'm re-watching this film, as I rarely do. This little film I was sure I wouldn't remember the day after. I should probably blame the ending. Yeah, I probably should. Beginning with the soundtrack. Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young, written at the very last moment. The song my mind tried to connect with Steinman the first time I heard it and failed to do so. Leading to the moment when, upon watching Dance of the Vampires the musical, I was the only person in the crowd nearly falling out of my seat upon recognition of the song, once again used as the most suitable closing theme. This alone could elevate even the most clichéd ending in existence. Which wasn't the case here. While I'm almost sure there have been similar ones in (probably better) films I've never seen, even aside from Casablanca, an ending in a campy action flick where the guy voluntarily DOESN'T get a girl? Now that's something you don't see every day. And that's the type of thing that gets me, too. That line, "Yeah, she needs me, but she loves you...?" One can feel how much it is placed here as a part of the machine, you see how it's supposed to affect you, you see how it's supposed to work. Usually this lack of subtlety, of "movie magic" covering the mechanisms behind it, leads to the whole thing not working. I thought it wouldn't work. Yet it worked. And that's the case with many things in this film. Blunt and simple. The guy's cool? Well, give him a badass car and a long coat. That guy wants a girl? He'll kidnap her. The bad guy? Let's make him Willem Dafoe in black leather dungarees (haha, oh man, I'm still not over that. I really didn't need to see Willem Dafoe in leather dungarees) They're having a badass fight? Well, guns or fists are for pussies, let's use sledgehammers! Basically a collection of tropes and symbols, if you retell it, it really starts sounding like a modern-day myth or legend. Or a fable, if you please. And if you look at it like that, it works. Do I recommend seeing it? I don't know. I mean, I still cannot fully explain why these little parts of this film keep casually slipping into my head, as there're films that I love that don't do that at all. All I can say is, I don't mind them doing that. And watching it again, I can honestly say I enjoy Streets of Fire. And you might enjoy it, too.
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one hell of a tight and fast moving tale
christopher-underwood25 October 2017
It's a very simple little story, I don't particularly like Michael Pare, Diane Lane & Rick Moranis in the lead roles or the 80's music BUT this is one hell of a tight and fast moving tale, catching its own reflection in the neon drenched puddles as it goes. Fantastic set design and a sure camera draw one into this near apocalyptic vision as the streets burn and that music roars away like some death rattle. Amy Madigan is very good as potential sidekick to Pare (the part was written for a guy and apparently the film was the first of a proposed trilogy - abandoned when this visionary, ahead of its time movie flopped) and Willem Dafoe as good as ever despite a rotten costume. Influential and highly underrated.
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No dance numbers. But at least Bill Paxton.
idontneedyourjunk29 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Set in 50's Chicago, it's a story of a singer who is kidnapped by a biker gang off a stage in the middle of her concert in front of a thousand people. They almost break into a tap-dancing scene, but don't.

Naturally, the police are hopeless, so the current boyfriend (her manager) hires the ex-boyfriend to go rescue her for $10,000, because of course you do. Note, he only gets hired after her sister gets him back in town, which she does by WRITING HIM A LETTER. HOW LONG WAS THIS GIRL IN CAPTIVITY FOR?

Armed with a shotgun that's accurate as a sniper rifle, he takes out the gang and rescues her, and naturally they all head back to the exact same place where she got kidnapped, because the gang, who are hunting them, will never suspect that. They almost break out in song, but don't.

But the ex doesn't want her in harms way when the bikers come for revenge, so he punches her in the face knocking her out, because of course that's what you do, and tells the sidekick to get her out of town.

The biker gang turn up for revenge, so it's a one-on-one fight between the ex and the biker leader. 3 minutes later the girl turns up, so what was the point in punching her in the face? The perfect time for the big dance number, but it got cut.

She wants to get back with the ex but he thinks the emotionally abusive band manager is better for her, so he leaves. The end.

Paxton plays the part of bartender, who gets knocked out twice (once by the bad guys when he tries to save the girl, once by the sidekick who then steals a bottle of tequila from his bar), but rallies the town at the end to arm up and defend themselves from the biker gang. He's the real hero.

Starring Kathy Griffin, as uncredited person in the crowd

Olivia Brown, her 2 lines "Can I help you? {Coffee.} "Cream or sugar?", then gets on Miami Vice for 111 episodes

Marine Jahan, a dancer in a bar, the dancing body double for Jennifer Beals in Flashdance

Elixabeth Daily, as random on the street who sort of just tags along because why not when you're being hunted by a biker gang, you know her voice as Buttercup (Powerpuff Girls) and Tommy Pickles (Rugrats)

Mykelti Williamson as a harmony singer (needs his insulin in Con Air and "You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey's uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo...")

Rick Rossovich (previously in The Lords of Discipline with Paxton) Deborah Van Valkenburgh, I mention her only because she's been in The Warriors, one of the best movies ever

Willem Dafoe, who plays the leader of the biker gang wearing shiny latex overalls. All. The. Time. If you thought his Green Goblin was over the top, you haven't seen nothing yet.

Rick Moranis, the unfunny version

Diane Lane aka Martha Kent from the Batman movies

Michael Pare, this was going to be his big break, this was supposed to be a trilogy, but it bombed. Oh well, he's still got The Greatest American Hero
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Murky Flash
dougdoepke15 September 2017
Story-wise the movie's a mess; visually it's sometimes striking. Couching the events as a "fable" was a wise move since that can rationalize the general lack of coherence. Seems cool tough guy Cody is hired by promoter Billy to rescue his former flame and popular singer Ellen from motorcycle gang who's kidnapped her. Along the way, he enlists tough gal McCoy who proves a big help.

So why do the producers background events with styles and autos from the 1950's. I guess that's just part of the fable. For me the ducktail hair style and old Studebakers are nostalgic, but may do nothing for younger viewers. Too bad lead actor Pare appears to walk through the part, lending his Cody character nothing apart from the script. Instead, it's Madigan's butchy ex-soldier who manages to rivet some interest. And, of course, Dafoe gets to contort his features into a comic book like villain. In fact, the movie's flash and machine-gun pacing come across more like a comic book effect than anything else. Put a Spiderman's costume on Pare and the movie would morph easily into one of today's comic book epics.

I'm not surprised the movie didn't do well at the box office (IMDB). There's some pizazz and flash, but the effects failed as a whole catch on with the teenage crowd, its natural constituency. Needless to say, the goulash is not a movie for all tastes, but for those fans of mainly visual effects, it may fit the bill.
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The Vidiot Reviews...
capone6664 June 2017
Streets of Fire

The best thing about being judge, jury and executioner is the three paychecks.

Mind you, the merc in this action-musical is getting revenge pro bono.

The head of a local gang (Willem Dafoe) kidnaps the singer (Diane Lane) of a new wave band at the exact time her solider-of-fortune ex-boyfriend (Michael Paré) returns home.

To retrieve her, he must team with her new boyfriend (Rick Moranis) and another mercenary (Amy Madigan). But freeing the songstress is only half of the battle as a hammer fight is the only conclusion.

A stylish blend of 1950s aesthetic and 1980s music, this cult hit from the ladder time period is in a class of its own. But a notable soundtrack and an indistinct era isn't enough to save the dull lead or the script's comic-bookish narrative.

Furthermore, if you did blend the '50s with the '80s you would get McCarthyists with feathered bangs.

Yellow Light
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Good 80s film with a brilliant soundtrack!
Irishmoviereviewer18 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I honestly did enjoy the film and its soundtrack. I loved the songs "TONIGHT IS WHAT IT MEANS TO BE YOUNG" and "ONE BAD STUD" because they both were just powerful, danceable and just marvelous to hear. The soundtrack reminds me a mix of "Blues Brothers" and "Rock of Ages".

Now I have to say, Michael Paré and Willem Dafoe didn't have good wardrobe.I thought the brown shirt Pare had was just disgusting on him, hes not playing a farmer for god sake! As well with Defoe having no shirt on and a black thing around him, he also looked like a farmer guy rather than a greaser. Also the clothes he wore as being the bad guy, looked really too small for him!

Good movie, you can't get the songs out of your head because they are just so brilliant! Watch it if you haven't seen it, its really good and has amazing stars in it!
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A Culty Cult Movie
gavin69429 May 2017
A mercenary (Michael Pare) is hired to rescue his ex-girlfriend (Diane Lane), a singer who has been kidnapped by a motorcycle gang.

This film has the word "cult" stamped all over it. Set in "another time, another place"... which is basically the 1980s mixed with the 1950s, with stranger outfits and hair. I mean, really, what is going on with Willem Dafoe's wardrobe -- he looks like a fisherman who got a makeover at a gay bar.

The film excels in many ways, with good music and many stars at the beginning of their career, including Dafoe and Bill Paxton. Michael Pare was probably peaking around this time, with all due respect to him. And then Rick Moranis... he probably gets more screen time here than anywhere outside of the "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" franchise.
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Still highly enjoyable 33 years after it's release
Morten_515 April 2017
Walter Hill's seventh feature as a director stars a very young Diane Lane and Willem Dafoe in one of his first roles. The dialogue is quick and funny. Amy Madigan makes an early version of the tough girl choosing to literally take the fight rather than be a passive bystander. The soundtrack is great, reminding of Bonnie Tyler and Meat Loaf. Hill was one of the directors who set the standards for many action movies to come. 33 years after it's release, the intensity of Streets of Fire is still felt.
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Sensational Little Shoot'em Up!!!
zardoz-1324 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
"Extreme Prejudice" director Walter Hill's "Streets of Fire," with Michael Paré, Diane Lane, and Willem Dafoe, ranks as one of those obscure urban adventure epics that nobody appreciated when it was released in 1984. Most critics hated it, and the film coined only about half of its reported $14.5 million budget. Admittedly, it seems like a goulash of genres, ranging from musicals to actioneers to neo-noir thrillers, and comedy, that flies all over the place like buckshot without wearing out its welcome. Happily, Will and co-scenarist Larry Gross swirl these elements so that they all come together beautifully in a neat little actioneer. The bloodless action takes place in what appears to be the 1950s in an anonymous city that resembles Chicago considering that the skyline is dominated by elevated railways. The characters dress as if they are from the 1950s, and the cars look like they hail from the same era. Composer Ry Cooder's soundtrack and the various top-40 songs used in it are ideal for the action. The concert scenes are incredibly charismatic, and Diane Lane behaves like a genuine rock star. The beautifully lensed action follows the formula of a myth about heroes who embark on a journey of hardship to a faraway destination to save an imprisoned damsel-in-distress from a slimy, pugnacious villain. What sets this movie apart from most is its reluctance to wallow in bloodshed and death. If you watch closely nobody bites the dust, and there isn't a lot of gritty action. The climactic, close-quarters combat scene between Mind you, the settings and the heroes and villains all look rugged and dirty, but "Streets of Fire" doesn't turn into a high-octane opus.

Raven Shaddock (Willem Dafoe of "Platoon") and his gang of obnoxious motorcycle maniacs nick-named 'the Bombers' kidnap popular singer Ellen Aim (Diane Lane of "Unfaithful") during a concert and haul her off to a remote location where Shaddock wants to play house with her. Reva Cody (Deborah Van Valkenburgh of "The Warriors") watches the gang drag Ellen off stage during a concert, and she contacts her brother Tom Cody (Michael Paré of "Eddie and the Cruisers") who used to date her and asks him to rescue her. "Look, Tom, you were always real close with Ellen," Reva reminds him. "She wasn't like all those tramps you used to run around with." Meantime, Aim's manager/boyfriend Billy Fish (Rick Moranis of "Ghostbusters") reluctantly agrees to hire Tom for $10-thousand. As it happens, Tom decides to bring along a gruff Army mechanic McCoy (Amy Madigan of "Field of Dreams") to act as his back-up. He met her during a brief bar fight when she slugged the barkeep from trying to run her off. McCoy is a tough looking gal who knows how to handle firearms. "I need the job. I'm plenty good enough and I ain't gonna let you down," she assures Tom. No sooner do all three meet than brusque Billy Fish looks with utter contempt at her, and she whittles him down to size with sarcasm. "You know, it's hard to figure out what's more pathetic, the way you talk or the way you dress." Neither of them back off throughout this tightly forged rock'n roll fable.

Cody, Fish, and McCoy enter a murky place called 'The Battery' where low-lifers and perverts hang out, guzzle liquor, and raise hell. They learn from a shadowy denizen of the area, Ben Gunn (Ed Begley Jr. of "Cat People"), where Raven has holed up with Ellen. Cody starts blasting away at bikers as they careen around the Battery while McCoy keeps several of them distracted long enough for Cody to snatch Ellen. Raven confronts Cody as Ellen and he are about to depart. "Looks like I finally ran into someone that likes to play as rough as I do," Raven observes and then vows to come after Cody. "I'll be coming for her, and I'll be coming for you too." Tom is terribly impressed with Raven's threat. Says Tom, "Sure, you will, and I'll be waiting." Unable to use the convertible that Cody had commandeered earlier from a bunch of snotty-nosed kids at Reva's dinner, they appropriate a bus belonging to an African-American singing group the Sorels. Eventually, Raven and Cody square off in a daylight brawl wielding fireman axes. Predictably, Tom defeat Raven. Ellen is pleased that Tom rescued her, but these two—no matter how much they loved each other before—cannot walk off hand-in-hand. Tom explains, "Look, I know you're gonna be going places with your singing and stuff, but then I'm not the kind of guy to be carrying your guitars around for you. But if you ever need me for something, I'll be there." They walk away from each in a bittersweet finale.

Reportedly, Hill had planned to develop a franchise from "Streets of Fire," but the box office failure of the film sealed its doom. Nevertheless, I love this film, have seen it many times, and think the soundtrack is fabulous. The dialogue is very hop, too. Nobody gives a bad performance. Michael Paré is ideal as the wandering soldier, and Diane Lane looks like a real heartbreaker. Amy Madigan is superb as the gun-toting mechanic. Of course, Willem Dafoe makes a terrific villain. "Streets of Fire" is an incendiary actioneer with loads of atmosphere and catchy dialogue.
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An Underrated Goodie from Walter Hill
Alyssa Black (Aly200)3 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
While Walter Hill is mostly known for his 1979 cult classic "The Warriors", the director does deliver an entertaining follow-up and more rock and roll- inspired tale of a former Army vet who goes to rescue his former lover from a biker gang with the help of an oddball cast of characters.

The film's acting is not the greatest, but is not horrendously unwatchable.

Michael Pare is the film's hero, Tom Cody, a bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks who is called back to New York by his sister when his ex- girlfriend is kidnapped by a local gang. Pare is not too convincing as the good guy as his line delivery falls flat and seems to want to be the bad boy by trying too hard to sound tough. His chemistry with fellow actors, Amy Madigan, Diane Lane and Rick Moranis range from relatively interesting with Madigan's McCoy to lackluster romance with Lane's Ellen Aim and downright dislike through the whole film with Moranis (it was publicly acknowledged by the other actors and crew that Rick Moranis was not a pleasure to work with on the film).

Actress Diane Lane is sadly reduced to a minor role as singer Ellen Aim, the damsel in need of rescue. The actress is not terrible, but she is uninteresting and given little exposition as to where she is from and how she became famous, but luckily we know that Ellen and Tom's past history and why they are stand-offish with each other. Lane would be nominated for a Razzie, but didn't win and her career has given her better roles where Lane has played stronger females.

Playing Ellen's manager and current lover (which is gone by the time she is rescued by Tom, McCoy and her manager), Billy Fish, is a woefully miscast Rick Moranis. The comedian is out of his element as he is mostly frustrating and annoying displaying a bad attitude throughout the film. Moranis claimed he didn't enjoy filming since he was not allowed to improvise on-set, but to be make a point the film is not a comedy, it's an action-drama. If an actor who was better suited to playing this role in an action setting, maybe the Billy Fish character would've had more substance, but it doesn't mesh with Moranis's unenthusiastic performance.

Amy Madigan is a highlight of the film as the street-smart and gung-ho sidekick, McCoy. Originally written as a male character who would not been nearly as tough, when Madigan auditioned for the role of Reva Cody (losing out on the part) she did convince director Walter Hill to re-write McCoy as a female, which paid off. McCoy is a fun character that can hold her own and spouts sharp quips all with an attitude that sets her apart from the rest of the group.

A special mention of a good acting debut goes out to Willem Dafoe who plays the film's villain, Raven Shaddock. While the Wisconsin-born native had minor roles in other films prior to "Streets of Fire" the future A-lister made his significant leading man debut in this action-drama. While we never get to know much about Raven or his background, Dafoe immediately makes an impression as he oozes a sinister yet charmingly vicious biker's persona. The actor is equal parts charismatic and dangerous as he calculates each move to take down the ragtag heroes and reclaim his prize after Ellen is rescued from Raven's clutches.

The script is trademark for a Walter Hill film with original characters, a fun though at times silly story and a fable-like quality. While rife with clichés a plenty such as the pretty girl needs rescuing by her former boyfriend and a climactic showdown before the hero and villain, the narrative does a sense of fun and maintains a popcorn action-drama vibe that will hold interest. The cinematography of New York is not nearly as expansive as Hill shot "The Warriors" which went all over the city, but the limited locales the director uses keeps the city as a character just like his cult classic.

Overall a fun action romp that will appeal to anyone.
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a dynamic rush of rock & roll, pulp comic book filmmaking, but...
MisterWhiplash27 May 2016
How do I describe this movie? It's kind of like Walter Hill made his own Sin City in the early/mid 80's, but also as a rock and roll (semi) musical with throwbacks to the 1950's while at the same time still being very, very 80's. Those throwbacks are in the music somewhat too via a score by Ry Cooder (and keep in mind this was the same year he also scored Paris, Texas, just think about the versatility for that), and of course with the biker imagery and rockabilly aesthetic. And the movie has quite the cast - Diane Lane as a Pat Benatar-ish singer in one of her early roles; Rick Moranis as the jerkish manager (and Lane's character's boyfriend, for reasons); Willem Dafoe as... hell, it's Williem Dafoe as a villain in the 80's, isn't it a full price ticket already?

I think the strongest thing about this is Hill's vision as a director. This is clearly a personal movie for him, though it also acts as like the B-side to the A-side of The Warriors: that movie was better put together and more cohesive (the mission at the core was something to follow easier as it was over a night), but they both come from the same wild comic book look and feel. The locations this is set in (somewhat in Chicago and somewhat in Los Angeles) are designed to be in the past and the future, but it's to the point where you can't distinguish one from the other. That's good, and it makes it into this wonderful alternate reality where pop culture tropes, from the diner to the rock club to the down and dirty biker bar with the Zoot-Suit-Riot type of dance to the way everyone dresses, it makes for a visually unique spectacle. Oh, and Hill is solid here at directing action and violence, which you'd expect coming from the 79 movie and others he's done.

Even the star, Michael Pare as Tom Cody(and don't worry you won't forget that name the number of times its said, first and last name), feels like he's ripped from the pages not from comics of the 80's (though maybe there's some Frank Miller scraped off on him unintentionally) but from a pulp comic from the *50's*. So when he has Pare act the way he does here - often with stoic looks and without really doing much in the way of, you know, anything but declarative statements and orders - I kind of like it because it fits the feel of the whole place. Is it the *best* actor that could've been in the role? No, but he does the best with it that he can.

Where it falters is in portions of the script. The first half has a clear trajectory because it involves Tom Cody getting a message from his sister to come back to save his ex-girlfriend (Lane's Ellen Aim) from the clutches of the biker Dafoe and his gang to his hometown (he's been away at the army following, I suppose in this world, juvenile delinquency). This part is fun and engaging, albeit with Moranis committing to a role that's obnoxious, and I'm not sure if it's his performance or the character. But once this mission is done the movie kind of flounders on what we can expect to happen: the Dafoe biker will come back to get the girl (and Dafoe is maybe the best part of the movie to be fair so any screen time he gets is welcome), and that Pare and Lane will bicker back and forth with Moranis in the middle. Indeed a lot of the dialog the characters get to say, even Amy Madigan in a well acted tough guy role given to a woman (a nice decision on Hill's part), is rather nasty and just full of mean spirit.

Does that make the movie bad? Not all of it, but Streets of Fire is an experience that ends up waxing and waning for me, to the point where in the second half I wondered if it was a *good* movie or more of a guilty pleasure trip into a Hollywood director's headspace where he practically had carte-blanche (post 48 Hours). And along with the flaws in the story there's a reliance on ridiculously fast editing to the point where you realize this is what critics meant at the time when they went after movies with "MTV style editing". And Hill and his editor have a lot of good decisions here, but the montages make it dated in such a way that I was reminded of Purple Rain from the same year, only FASTER!

With all this said, I did have fun with Streets of Fire, from Cooder's fantastic score to the performances that worked to the emotional finale that just reaches out and doesn't give a flying f*** about what you think of it going into camp. The logical part of my brain can pick it apart till the cows come home, but as far as it being an experience to soak in all of the full on CINEMATIC tropes it works.
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A solid gold classic. There's never been anything like it, and likely never will. Too good to be true.
Walter Hill's Streets Of Fire is just too good to be true, and yet it exists. It's like the type of dream concept for a movie that you and your coolest friend think up after a bunch of beers and wish you had the time, money and resources to make yourself. It's just cool right down to the bone, a beautiful little opus of 1950's style gang trouble set to a so-good-it-hurts rock n' roll soundtrack devised by the legendary Ry Cooper, Hill's go to music maestro. It's so 80's it's bursting at the seams with the stylistic notes of that decade, and both Hill and the actors stitch up those seams with all the soda jerk, greaser yowls and musical mania of the 50's. Anyone reading up to this point who isn't salivating right now and logging onto amazon to order a copy, well there's just no hope for you. I only say that because for sooommeee reason upon release this one was a financial and critical dud, floundering at the box office and erasing any hope for the sequels which Hill had planned to do. I guess some people just aren't cool enough to get it (can you tell I'm bitter? Lol). Anywho, there's nothing quite like it and it deserves a dig up, Blu Ray transfer and many a revisit. In a nocturnal, neon flared part of a nameless town that looks a little like New York, the streets are humming with excitement as everyone prepares for the nightly musical extravaganza. Darling songstress Ellen Aim (young Diane Lane♡♡) is about to belt out an epic rock ballad in a warehouse dance hall for droves of screaming fans. There's one fan who has plans to do more than just watch, though. Evil biker gang leader Raven Shaddock (Willem Dafoe, looking like Satan crossed with Richard Ramirez) kidnaps her as the last notes of her song drift away, his gang terrorizes the streets and disappears off into the night with poor Ellen as their prisoner. The locals need a hero to go up against Raven and rescue Ellen, and so estranged badass Tom Cody (Michael Paré) is called back to town after leaving years before. He's a strong and silent hotshot who takes no guff from no one, and is soon on the rampage to Raven's part of town. He's got two buddies as well: two fisted, beer guzzling brawler chick McCoy (Amy Madigan), and sniveling event planner Billy Fish (Rick Moranis). That's as much plot as you get and it's all you need, a delightful dime store yarn with shades of The Outsiders and a soundtrack that will have your jaw drop two floors down. The two songs which Ellen sings are heart thumping legends. 'Nowhere Fast' gives us a huge glam-rock welcome into the story, and 'Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young' ushers us out with a monumental bang before the credits roll, and damn if Hill doesn't know how to stage the two songs with rousing and much welcomed auditory excess that'll have you humming for days. Paré is great as the brooding hero, and you won't find too many solid roles like this in his career. He's a guy who somewhat strayed off the path into questionable waters (he's in like every Uwe Boll movie) but he pops up now and again I'm some cool stuff, like his scene stealing cameo in The Lincoln Lawyer. Dafoe clocks in right on time for his shift at the creepshow factory, giving Raven a glowering, makeup frosted grimace that's purely vampiric and altogether unnerving. Him and Paré are great in their street side sledgehammer smackdown in the last act. Bottom line, this is one for the books and it still saddens me how unfavorably it was received... like what were they thinking? A gem in Hill's career, and a solid pulse punding rock opera fable. Oh, and watch for both an obnoxious turn from Bill Paxton and a bizarre cameo from a homeless looking Ed Begley Jr.
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Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young!!!
Predrag8 May 2016
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.

The music was phenomenal! It's one of my favorite soundtracks of all time due to it's great range of different styles and time periods of various genres that work incredibly well together (musical cohesiveness?). You have the Broadway-esque Steinem production of Nowhere Fast and Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young. The country pop-rock flavored ballad tune It'll Never Be You. The late Dan Hartman's sadly enough only huge pop/R&B/Motown-like hit I Can Dream About You. The lyrics are astoundingly evocative and hyperbolic...yet identifiable. If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend that you pick up this album. If the two Fire, Inc. songs had been written for a stronger movie or even a play, I guarantee they would have taken off.

Overall rating: 8 out of 10.
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West Hollywood Story
thesar-211 February 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Wait, was that the future? Or the past? Or the Café 50s even Elijah Wood wouldn't play baby games in?

Admittedly, in this terrible movie, I loved the music! I know, sooo 80s, but sometimes didn't sound like it. Or maybe I'm just an old-timer. Eh, it was good music in a bad film.

At the four-way intersection of Streets of Fire are the four worst aspects of this "movie:" bad acting, horrifying script, shoddy editing and laughable scene transitions. In the middle of the intersection are the WTF moments, like the male/female go-go dancer, the "Oh, I guess they blew a tire" missing scene or the sucker punch to safety. The only pedestrian is the one that creepily stares at his ex on stage for an incredibly long time.

Actually, though I just ruined a part of the "climax," that's a common theme during this: so many very long segments that either made zero sense or should've been cut all together. One of the funniest was the over long rescue of the princess chapter that ends with the "good" guys getting away…for-evah…always worrying about being followed. In normal movies, or I guess in life, yeah they would be easily followed. Nope.

Some rogue ex-military dude is hired to save his thankless ex from unmotivated non-gay, gay kidnappers in leather chaps. When he does save the soulless singer ex-girlfriend, the Queen B(iker) merely threatens to come get him, but I guess in a civilized way? He/she needn't worry about the round-the-clock, 2-person police force that wouldn't know the law if it were written on the cue cards they obviously used.

There's barely a character to cling to, or anyone with an ounce of charisma sans the non-lesbian, lesbian McCoy. She's pretty badass. Everyone else was there for a paycheck. Lucky for them, most of their careers weren't affected by this rubbish.

I am divided if I should recommend this. On the positive, (again) the music's great and there are so many outrageous scenes that it almost qualifies this as a So-Bad-It's-Good flick. But, flipping the coin, it's a lazy "action" movie that has no clue what decade it's in and feels like a 2-hour film with a half-hour of crucial plot points cut out.

I know! Just YouTube (or buy, you cheap bastard) the soundtrack. You'll hear all the good songs without the crap these filmmakers put in-between the music.


Final thoughts: I only watched this for that great How Did This Get Made? podcast where they talk about bad movies usually for about as long as the movie itself. I don't think I ever even heard of this movie and spent most of the movie staring at the singer of the story, Ellen Aim(less) and trying to picture the Diane Lane I know of from more modern and better films, like Under the Tuscan Sun and Man of Steel. Weird to see her not at all looking like her.
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A Rock and Roll Fable
SnoopyStyle23 January 2016
Ellen Aim (Diane Lane) is the lead singer of Ellen Aim and the Attackers. While performing a concert, she's kidnapped right off the stage by Raven (Willem Dafoe) and his motorcycle gang which has been harassing the neighborhood. Reva asks her brother Tom Cody (Michael Paré) to come home and rescue his ex-girlfriend. He befriends tomboy mechanic McCoy (Amy Madigan). They are hired by Ellen's manager and boyfriend Billy Fish (Rick Moranis).

I like the neon-colored Rock-and-Roll alternate-universe 50s era. It's weirdly energetic and compelling. Sexy Diane Lane starts it off with a rock performance. This reminds me of Walter Hill's other fable The Warriors except I like this more. Michael Paré used to be leading man material for about two seconds around this time. His masculine ruggedness fits this material. This doesn't work if one takes this too seriously. It's fun like a comic book movie.
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Wonderful adventure in comic-book style with attractive images and pulsating rock soundtrack
ma-cortes5 September 2015
Enjoyable urban/modern Western combined with rock 'n roll , displaying a satisfying and impressive directorial by Walter Hill . It is an entertaining compendium of noisy action , rock music , a love story , sadistic as well as violent bikers , fights , state-of-the-art frames and many other surprising things . A famous female rock singer called Ellen Aim (Diane Lane) is captured by a motorcycle gang led by Raven (Willem Dafoe) . As an embittered mercenary named Tom Cody (Michael Pare) goes after his ex-Sweetheart who has been kidnapped by the cruel band .

It's a diverting action/thriller/musical with adventures , non-stop action , shootouts , breathtaking scenarios ; but also melancholy , friendship , unlovable camaraderie , emotionalism and including marvelous songs . Gorgeous scenarios set to rocking backbeat , mostly in sumptuous interiors , reflecting wonderfully the luminous spaces filled with neon lights , they are splendidly photographed by excellent cameraman Andrew Laszlo , and mainly on a soundstage . It is an enjoyable storytelling set in a mythic world that combines a futuristic feel with 1950s styles and attitudes . Impressive and evocative musical score by Ry Cooder , Hill's ordinary musician , adding catching songs . Nice acting by Michael Pare as two-fisted hero , a former boyfriend who sets out to save his ex-girlfriend , an enticing female rock star well played by Diane Lane . Stunning support cast , plenty of familiar faces such as Rick Moranis , Deborah Van Valkenburgh , Richard Lawson , Rick Rossovich , Bill Paxton , Robert Townsend , Mykelti Williamson , Elizabeth Daily , John Dennis Johnston , Stoney Jackson , Lee Ving , Peter Jason , Ed Begley Jr , among others . And special mention for Amy Madigan , a tomboy playing a tough warrior woman who helps starring to take on the nasty biker finely performed by Williem Dafoe .

This stylized retelling was very well directed by Walter Hill , a Western expert , such as he proved in ¨Will Bill¨ and ¨Long riders¨ . Hill's skillful direction is assured and firm and occasionally quite inspired . Director Walter Hill gets too much experience on western genre , thus : ¨The long riders¨ , ¨Will Bill¨ , ¨Geronimo¨, and "Broken Trail". Besides , he has directed modern westerns such as ¨Streets of fire¨ , ¨Extreme prejudice¨ and ¨Last man standing¨. His best Western called ¨Geronimo¨ was followed , by his biggest hit to date, ¨ 48 hours¨ and with a sequel¨ Another 48 hours¨ . Since then, his movies have not made huge amounts at the box-office, though the best of them ¨ Streets of fire¨ retains a certain primitive drive strangely to be found elsewhere . Rating : Better than average and well worth watching for the proficient film-making . It's a magnificent movie , and an unforgettable , unchallenged classic modern flick.
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Great forgotten 80's romp...
Byrnstar4 August 2015
This's as if the 50's and the 80's had a love child, and it that child was William Defoe, channeling Kiefer Sutherland's David from the Lost Boys plus Edward Cullen...and then they gave him crack. If you thought the man was creepy before, there's a particular scene with latex overalls and fire that just cranks it up to 11.

Great movie if you love the 80's. The visuals are awesome, a combination of 50's scenery and cars mixed with tons of neon and 80's punk dress/music. Plot is so-so – the concept is straightforward but halfway through the movie it turns into a live action series of TV Tropes (which are fun, don't get me wrong, but send the plot all over the place). There are numerous scenes where the actors are clearly reading rather than performing their lines, and there's no chemistry between the male lead and his damsel in distress. But seeing Rick Moranis hamming it up as a sniveling business manager, Bill Paxton in a bit part as a wimpy barkey, Amy Madigan as a surprisingly interesting Action Girl and a young William Defoe being a creepy creeper of all creeps is more than worth it.

If you want a movie that will trigger 80's nostalgia and is a good romp to watch with a beer, this is it. If you're looking for art, you probably want something else. But this movie is what gave us the 80's hit song 'I Can Dream About You', and for that alone I give it top marks.
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An extraordinary film
jazerbini25 July 2015
It is the largest urban Westerns. An extraordinary film, wonderful. Everything about it worked. A plot very well prepared and a fully adherent to the music theme of the film. The direction of Walter Hill is safe and can master the actors in a clearly violent environment and constant action. Join this lush photography that gives great strength to the film. Michael Paré has a great interpretation. Regret is that it was a star who promised a lot and did not have the career that was expected. The gorgeous Diane Lane is at the peak of its beauty, no doubt. Amy Madigan and Willem Dafoe, as always, in great moments. I think Amy Madigan created an unforgettable character. And Rick Moranis was surprisingly perfect for the role. It's a film that sort among the best I've seen. A single moment of cinema.
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Lots of fun
TheUniquePerception6 July 2015
Driven by a uniquely pleasing soundtrack and a story telling style that has been rarely matched this film is one of a kind. Each actor is utilized in such a manner as to showcase their strengths. There are lots of early glimpses of superstars yet to blossom. The mood shifts are well executed to keep up the momentum. All in all, it is a lot of fun. Turn up the volume!

The use of timeless 50s based atmosphere and creative costuming will delight viewers as will several of the action scenes. The dialog between Moranis and Pare has several remarkable moments as does the slow building tension between Pare and Dafoe.

There is a artistic use of a comic like story board feeling throughout that really works. At first glance this work may appear simple, but after several viewings it becomes apparent that it took some real imagination and teamwork to pull this together. It is an impressive accomplishment that deserved more recognition than it got. It would be challenging to improve on this film but a remake would be welcome from the proper team.
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