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
Co-writer / director Walter Hill's "rock 'n' roll fable" is well realized, visually stunning stuff with stylistic and thematic ties to his earlier movie "The Warriors". If nothing else, he and his crew create the perfect look for this wild update of 1950's B movies. A rising rock star named Ellen Aim (Diane Lane) is kidnapped by a motorcycle gang led by creepy Raven Shaddock (Willem Dafoe). Local diner owner Reva (Deborah Van Valkenburgh) appeals to her long lost brother Tom (Michael Pare), who used to date Ellen, to rescue her (although it's not necessarily just the girl that needs to be saved, but the neighbourhood in general), and he agrees to do so - as long as he gets paid. He and his motley collection of sidekicks, Ellen's nerdy but aggressive manager, Billy Fish (Rick Moranis) and his spunky new acquaintance, McCoy (Amy Madigan) team up to track Ellen down and get her back. A few key personnel help to make this a pleasure to both look at and listen to, and those are production designer John Vallone, cinematographer Andrew Laszlo, and composer Ry Cooder. The ambiance of the various sets seriously smokes, creating the perfect backdrop for this engaging bit of pulp story telling, the story definitely hearkening back to "The Warriors" as our unlikely group have to embark on a bit of a journey to get back to where they need to be. And, as others have said, while the movie is not without its dramatic moments, it never pretends to be truly serious about what it's doing. It's all in fun. The soundtrack (including such irresistible material as "One Bad Stud") is absolutely incredible, and may have the viewers bopping along to it without realizing they're doing so. The cast is very well chosen, with Pare displaying low key bad ass charisma and Dafoe investing his villain with plenty of swagger. Lane is of course just lovely, Moranis very good as a basically annoying character, and Madigan quite appealing. Tons of familiar faces turn up in supporting parts and bits: Richard Lawson, Rick Rossovich, Bill Paxton, Lee Ving, Grand L. Bush, Mykelti Williamson, Robert Townsend, Elizabeth Daily, Lynne Thigpen, Ed Begley Jr., John Dennis Johnston, Olivia Brown, Peter Jason, and Matthew Laurance. "Streets of Fire" may be one of those cases where the style matters more than the substance, but when the style works this well - right down to the scene transitions - it's hard to really complain. Eight out of 10.
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