It is another time - Another Place - where the 1950s is mixed with the 1980s. In a city where it is always nighttime, during a concert performing live before a crowd of her fans, rock 'n' roll singer Ellen Aim is kidnapped by motorcyclist Raven Shaddock and his biker gang "The Bombers" on stage. Billy Fish, Ellen's manager, hires Ellen's ex-boyfriend and mercenary Tom Cody, who has arrived in town to visit his sister Reva, to rescue Ellen from the Bomber's nightclub, where they are holding her captive for their own amusement. Joined by ex-soldier and mechanic McCoy who is also in town looking for work, Cody and Fish set out across the rain infested streets inhabited by cops, street gangs and rock fans and into the criminal neighborhood 'The Battery', where Cody, Fish and McCoy prepare to rescue Ellen from the gang.Written by
Streets of Fire is directed by Walter Hill who also co-writes the screenplay with Larry Gross. It stars Michael Paré, Diane Lane, Rick Moranis, Amy Madigan and Willem Dafoe. Music is scored by Ry Cooder and cinematography is by Andrew Laszlo.
When the lead singer of Ellen Aim and the Attackers is kidnapped by biker gang The Bombers, her ex-soldier of fortune boyfriend is contacted and hired to go get her back...
There were a couple of movies released in 1984 by maverick directors that were frowned upon at the time, but are now significantly held in high regard and define the saying "cult movie". One was Alex Cox's Repo Man, the other was Walter Hill's Streets of Fire.
Streets of Fire is a bastard hybrid of ideas and influences. In part a rock opera set to the backdrop of blink blink blinkity blink neonvillle, an unnamed place that lives and breathes between 50s angst and 80s futurism, in others it's a straight forward road/mission movie headed up by an anti-hero taking notes from Snake Plissken whilst jostling for cool space with Kyle Reese. It's a film, that by Hill's own admission, is unashamedly a collage of things he finds cool in cinema. Yet this is not a detriment to the pic, the narrative is straightforward as can be and Hill throws everything he can into the mix, and it works.
In essence it's a live action comic book, it knows it's just a film and has no pretencions to seem remotely real life. The look is wonderfully flamboyant and campy, where the hero and villain wear braces and PVC overalls respectively. The girls are a mixture of a teenage diva babe and a beer swilling roughneck babe. The city itself is a vibrant mix of colours and carnage, beauty and beats, and where the streets literally are on fire. Hill weighs in with his adroit flair for action, always kinetic, while the soundtrack rocks and the dialogue bubbles with self aware glee. Cast are super, some sexy and tough, others weaselly and weak, but all pumping the pop culture blood through the veins of the movie.
With style and cool to burn, both only beaten out by the action quotient, Streets of Fire is an ode to live action fun. And watching it now you can see just how it has influenced many a film maker post its release. Streets of Fire, one bad ass bitch funky sex machine. 9/10
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