Streets of Fire (1984)

Tonight is what it means to be young.

Raven Shaddock and his gang of merciless biker friends kidnap rock singer Ellen Aim. Ellen's former lover, soldier-for-hire Tom Cody, happens to be passing through town on a visit. In an attempt to save his star act, Ellen's manager hires Tom to rescue her. Along with a former soldier, they battle through dangerous cityscapes, determined to get Ellen back.

Bombers, Blasters, Attackers and Streets of Fire.
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

Universal Pictures by Walter Hill, Larry Gross.
Stars: Michael Paré, Diane Lane, Rick Moranis, Amy Madigan.

Genres: Action, Crime, Drama, Music, Romance, Thriller

Keywords: kidnapping mercenary fan rescue singer motorcycle motorcycle gang neo-noir biker gangs

06/01/1984

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