Friday, 1 November 2013

Blu-ray Review: Streets Of Fire

Released in 1984, Streets Of Fire cost $14 million to make and took a disappointing $8 million at the US box office.Since then, Walter Hill's 'Rock & Roll Fable' has gained in popularity to become a genuine cult attraction for viewers old and new. The film takes place in an unnamed city as homecoming queen Ellen Aim (Diane Lane) brings her band The Attackers to play a gig in her hometown. During the performance, a biker gang named The Bombers rush onto the stage and kidnap Ellen. Her manager Billy Fish (Rick Moranis) is outraged at seeing his girl snatched and offers $10,000 to her ex-boyfriend Tom Cody (Michael Pare) to get her back. The Bombers - led by the villainous Raven (Willem Dafoe) represent a formidable obstacle but Cody, joined by ex-soldier McCoy (Amy Madigan) is well up to the task. After a thrilling shoot-out, Cody is successful in his mission, but finds his troubles are only just beginning. With affairs of the heart bubbling away in the pot, Cody must reckon with the collective might of The Bombers artillery, which lives up to Raven's boast that he can bring "a lot more guns" to the table. Overall, it's a rather thin storyline and hardly original,yet the whole production works beautifully. Performance wise, Hill's cast tick a lot of boxes: Pare, brooding and resourceful as the ex soldier of fortune, with Madigan equally impressive with her hard-talking, no nonsense character and Moranis gives a more than decent turn as the loud mouthed agent who possesses the balls to challenge The Bombers, but no muscle to back it up with.Diane Lane, already well experienced in the acting profession despite her youth, also impresses as the diva in distress and watch out for The Sorels; a delightful doo-wop band-that-never-was who bring some great music to the party.
The visuals also hit the spot, with some excellent choreography during the concert footage which was lit by Marc Brickman who worked on lighting gigs for Pink Floyd and Bruce Springsteen. Streets Of Fire is the closest Walter Hill has come to directing a musical, and the score is a constant winner with Ry Cooder imposing his considerable style on proceedings while Jim Steinman adds his talent to the mix with "Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young" and "Nowhere Fast". The film also inspired a hit single with Dan Hartman's "I Can Dream About You". All in all, it's a satisfying mixture that seals the deal on this films' cult status, and now we have a Blu-ray release to celebrate.

Second Sight's HD presentation really does lift Hill's film to even greater heights. Here, the late Andrew Laszlo's photography benefits hugely from the increased resolution,and the concert footage looks simply gorgeous. Fans will also be delighted with 'Rumble On The Lot' - and 80 minute documentary which features anecdotes and memories from key personnel, including Hill, Pare and Madigan who explains how she persuaded Hill that the part of McCoy should go to a woman. Madigan has excellent recall of the shoot as does Pare who states he can remember every day of what turned out to be an enjoyable filmmaking experience. Both actors clearly relished their time with Hill who goes into various production details, showing pride at the way things turned out, though he does express his regret that Lane's voice simply wasn't strong enough to carry the songs, instead using the combined voices of 2 vocalists. Second Sight have also included the original Electronic Press Kit which gives a nice nostalgic slant on the excitement surrounding Streets Of Fire's road to release, and music videos for "Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young", and "I Can Dream About You".
Streets Of Fire is released on Blu-ray from Second Sight on 18th November. It's a great package that will increase this film's cult following and its never looked so good.

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