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Streets of Fire (1984)
Ah the 80s. Neon lights. Silly haircuts. Meatloaf-esque power ballads everywhere. Greasers fought in the streets and everybody drove cars from the 50’s. Wait. That’s not right. Welcome to the odd
Published on June 14, 2011 | Filed under Review

Ah the 80s. Neon lights. Silly haircuts. Meatloaf-esque power ballads everywhere. Greasers fought in the streets and everybody drove cars from the 50’s. Wait. That’s not right. Welcome to the odd world of Streets of Fire.

Directed by Walter Hill of 48 hours and Last Man Standing fame, Streets of Fire is a unique vision that tanked horribly upon it’s release. Forgotten and shelved, I’ve recently re-discovered this hidden gem thanks to some cool lists on the intro-net, and bring it to you in it’s cheap glory. The film is about a pop singer, played by a very young Diane Lane who gets herself kidnapped by a band of thug greasers lead by an also young Willem Dafoe. It’s up to our hero Cody, whom comes from the Sylvester Stallone school of acting, to kick some ass and shoot some motorcycles. Oh and Rick Moranis is in it playing a dweeby rich dude who is now dating said pop star even though she’s clearly under age. Ew. Hell even Bill Paxton has a bit part it so you know it’s gotta be good.

Ok so there’s 80’s opera ballads strewn all over the film but it’s not a musical. There’s 50’s cars and wardrobe but the film doesn’t feel like a period piece. It’s a film that takes place in an alternate timeline where 80s pop and neon had sex with the 50s and it ruled. Filled with beautiful cinematography and wet streets reflecting the ubiquitous garish lights, turning the film’s look into a stained glass of a seedy urban sprawl. Interestingly, the night shots were filmed during the day with a tarp over the set because most of the actors were under age and had to adhere to child labor laws. There’s plenty of action with the film starting with a bang and finishing with a punch and lots of explosions and macho action in between.

So yeah, I liked it. A lot. After the film was over with though I wasn’t left with much. There’s little character development and the film has nothing to say that hasn’t been said somewhere else better. But that’s ok because it’s not trying to be anything but unique and fun and it accomplishes that just fine. Streets of Fire is a satisfying little action flick and an exercise in how to light a scene beautifully.

Author:
Uncouth enjoys all manner of exploitation cinema. He is a video editor by trade and a cinephile by obsession. He runs Toxic-Graveyard.com and contributes to Lunchmeat Magazine. He is also a specialist at finding creepy crawly things under rocks for his kids.

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FROM AROUND THE WEB:
  • I get the charm of this one and I really SHOULD love it, but it kind of fell flat for me. Love me some Moranis, loved Amy Madigan’s spunkiness and adore the idea of a sort of alternate timeline, but I was kind of bored for most of the film. That’s just me though, I would recommend it to most film fans.

  • Yeah its a funky flick that never figured out what it was. It was supposed to be a trilogy but it tanked. I’ll all about the oddities that slip through the cracks.

  • Whatever happened to Michael Pare? He seemed like a charismatic guy that had a lot going for him in terms of an acting career. I haven’t seen this one for a while, but would love a revisit. I have always carried fond memories of “Streets” especially seeing two guys dueling with sledgehammers. A cult classic.

  • I really liked Streets of Fire after the first time I watched it, but it’s the type of film that has a strong staying power and I have grown immensely found of it over the years. I LOVE the music, specifically the bookend Fire Inc. songs that Diane Lane pretends to perform.