Streets of Fire Reviews
Co-written (with Larry Gross) and directed by Walter Hill, one of the most undervalued filmmakers of the 1970s and '80s, "Streets of Fire" stars Michael Paré as Tom Cody, an ex-soldier hired to rescue his former girlfriend, Ellen (Diane Lane), a rock singer whom has been kidnapped by a gaggle of vicious bikers. Aided by McCoy (Amy Madigan), a tough-as-nails street tough, and Billy Fish (Rick Moranis), Ellen's current lover, salvation seems eminent, considering the hardened scrappiness that backs the trio. But because the bikers, known to most as The Bombers (led by a young Willem Dafoe), are wired with inherent brutality that turns patience into an unheard-of virtue, one can only hope that our heroes can find victory in this race against time.
And while "Streets of Fire's" race against time isn't quite the pulse-pounding adventure we'd like it to be - it's too in love with its attitude and its characters to put all its attention onto concocting tense thrills - the film, nonetheless, is a memorable one because its images are so stunning, because its swagger is so tangible. Hill's impertinence is something to behold: just look at the way he captures characteristics of the 1950s, the 1980s, and a dystopian future, and how he integrates the greatest components of the film noir, the musical, and the ballsy action movie with shameless enthusiasm. Look and tone is what he's after, and Hill, fortunately, has the lusty envisioning necessary to pull off such daring.
I do wish its elite imagery were matched by a suspenseful story - its performers, especially the campily rough Paré and the tough-talking Madigan, are deserving of material more indebted to them than to their surroundings - but when a movie is as splendidly shot as "Streets of Fire" is, it's difficult to nitpick through faults when it all was never meant to be classified as high entertainment. The movie wants to be optically stimulating and appealing to youthful fantasy, and its proficiency is something to behold.
It would have been 1984 Oscar pick for six awards at least : picture, directing, original screenplay, cinematography, art direction, original song (I can deam about you), and I would have considered it for editing too.
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 derail the plot a bit). 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. )