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Streets of Fire(1984)
Rock and Roll singer is taken captive by a motorcycle gang in a strange world that seems to be a cross of the 1950's and the present or future. Her ex-boyfriend returns to town and to find her missing and goes to her rescue.
For more about Streets of Fire and the Streets of Fire Blu-ray release, see Streets of Fire Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on December 8, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Director: Walter Hill
Writers: Walter Hill, Larry Gross
Starring: Michael Paré, Diane Lane, Willem Dafoe, Rick Moranis, Amy Madigan, Richard Lawson
» See full cast & crew
Streets of Fire Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, December 8, 2013
Walter Hill's "Streets of Fire" (1984) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Second Sight Films. The supplemental features on the disc include Robert Fischer's new documentary film "Rumble on the Lot: Walter Hill's Streets of Fire Revisited"; collection of archival interviews with director Walter Hill, music producer Jimmy Iovine, cinematographer Andrew Laszlo, production designer John Vallone, Michael Pare, Amy Madigan, and Diane Lane, original teaser trailer, and on-air promos; and two original music videos. In English, without optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
Michael Pare is Tom Cody, a tough ex-soldier who returns home and discovers that his former girlfriend, Ellen Aim (Diane Lane, The Outsiders, Rumble Fish), now a popular rock singer, has been kidnapped by Raven (Willem Dafoe, The Last Temptation of Christ, White Sands, the cocky leader of the area's biggest and baddest biker gang, The Bombers. Tom also learns that Ellen is now dating her manager, Billy Fish, a fast-talking hotshot with deep pockets.
Shortly after he meets his sister, Reva (Deborah Van Valkenburgh, The Warriors, Mean Guns), Tom befriends feisty tomboy McCoy (Amy Madigan, Nowhere to Hide, Field of Dreams), who loves to drink and play with guns. McCoy looks desperate for a one-night stand, but tells Tom that he isn't her type. The two still end up spending the night under the same roof, but in different beds. On the following morning Tom meets Billy, who agrees to pay him $10,000 if he brings back his girl.
Part period action film with an attitude part romantic musical, Walter Hill's Streets of Fire is a colorful time capsule that is so unapologetically naive and its stars so enthusiastic that one can't help but like its desire to be cool. It was released in 1984 and it was intended to be the first in a trilogy, but after mixed reviews in America Hill the plan was abandoned.
Large parts of Streets of Fire look unusually dark and gloomy, almost as if they were extracted from an apocalyptic sci-fi film. Some of the most atmospheric sequences, however, were shot on location in downtown Chicago (different pockets in and around Lower Wacker Drive), where during the '50s the harsh economic conditions had made entire areas look like decaying industrial parks.
The dark and gloomy footage is countered with bright and very colorful footage from the clubs where Ellen performs and The Bombers entertain themselves. Here there are elaborate, very well choreographed stage performances that effectively keep Streets of Fire from evolving into a straightforward action film in which good and bad guys clash for trivial reasons. In other words, this is a film that takes its music and dancing just as seriously as it does its action.
The main protagonists utter a massive amount of cliched lines, but because of the enthusiasm mentioned earlier they rarely become annoying. There is also a good dose of machoism to compliment them which gives the film its exotic flavor. (In the excellent new documentary included on this release, director Hill points out that the film's showy style was later on copied in many videos that appeared on MTV).
Though the acting could be a bit rough at times, the great chemistry between the actors more than makes up for the sporadic shortcomings. Pare and Lane, in particular, look truly fantastic together. Dafoe, however, looks hilarious. While the edgy hairstyle is somewhat tolerable, his black leather overalls definitely look odd. Moranis and the Madigan look right in this film.
The film's soundtrack was created by the legendary guitarist Ry Cooder (Wim Wenders' Paris, Texas, Wong Kar-wai's My Blueberry Nights). Lane's singing was dubbed by Laurie Sargent and Holly Sherwood, with back-up vocals by the members of the now defunct Face to Face. All of the music material and the staging of the live performances in the film were supervised by acclaimed music producer Jimmy Iovine (Phil Joanou's U2: Rattle and Hum, Rowdy Herrington's Road House).
Streets of Fire Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Walter Hill's Streets of Fire arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Second Sight Films.
The high-definition transfer is problematic. It has been struck from a dated source with a number of serious issues and it clearly shows. Close-ups never impress. Moderate to heavy noise consistently affects definition and in select areas even collapses the image (see screencapture #6). Contrast levels also fluctuate. Some of the brighter indoor footage, for instance, can look unbearably harsh. Additionally, light to moderate halo effects are very easy to spot throughout the entire film. Color reproduction is also disappointing. During the stage performances one can be fooled to believe that colors are lush and stable, but saturation is indeed problematic. Also, the presence of the noise mentioned earlier further affects color stability. The only relatively good news is that there are no large cuts, damage marks, or debris. All in all, it is disappointing to see that this very colorful and really quite beautiful film isn't transitioning to Blu-ray with a stronger high-definition transfer. As far as I am concerned, it can and should look substantially better in high-definition. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray release. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Streets of Fire Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two standard audio tracks on this Blu-ray release: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and English LPCM 2.0. For the record, Second Sight Films have not provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.
I viewed the film with the 5.1 track and have to say that I was quite impressed with its dynamic intensity. The majority of the action sequences, in particular, boast very good depth. Ry Cooder's soundtrack as well as the long stage performances have also benefited from the lossless treatment - there is a nice range of nuanced dynamics and balance is very good. The dialog is crisp, stable, free of problematic background hiss, and easy to follow. There are no audio dropouts or distortions to report in this review.
Streets of Fire Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Streets of Fire Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I have mixed feelings about this new Blu-ray release of Walter Hill's Streets of Fire. It comes with an excellent new documentary film by Robert Fischer which has some great interviews with the American director, art director James Allen, and actors Amy Madigan and Michael Pare; there is additional archival material on the disc as well. However, the release uses a problematic transfer, which most likely is the only one Universal Studios currently has available for licensing. In other words, I doubt Second Sight Films could have produced a better release. So, if you are a fan of the film I think that the new documentary is a good enough reason to consider adding the Blu-ray to your collection. If you are not a fan of the film, my advice to you is to find a way to RENT it.
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Streets of Fire Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Second Sight Details Walter Hill's Streets of Fire - September 6, 2013
British distributors Second Sight Films have dated and detailed their upcoming Blu-ray release of director Walter Hill's Streets of Fire (1984), starring Michael Paré, Diane Lane, Willem Dafoe, and Rick Moranis. The release is set to arrive on the UK market on ...
• Second Sight to Release Walter Hill's Streets of Fire - April 26, 2013
British distributors Second Sight Films have revealed that they are preparing a Blu-ray release of director Walter Hill's Streets of Fire (1984), starring Michael Paré, Diane Lane, Willem Dafoe, and Rick Moranis. However, the distributors are yet to reveal a preliminary ...
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