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Streets of Fire

tn_streetsoffireYou guys ever heard of this one?

Okay, you were right, STREETS OF FIRE is pretty cool. I was a little skeptical because the poster calls it “A Rock & Roll Fable,” which is not really one of my top kinds of fables. I’m more of a free jazz fable type of guy, I like SPACE IS THE PLACE. Also I got some prejudices against the ’80s rock and the retro ’50s style fetishes. Luckily the singer gets kidnapped for most of the movie, so the long onstage performances are only at the beginning and end. It’s not a rock musical or anything.

mp_streetsoffireThe movie is by Mr. Walter Hill, and I’m pretty sure nobody else would be able to make a movie like this, or would think of it, or would want to. (except our friend Albert Pyun, who I guess is doing some kind of an unofficial sequel). Willem Dafoe plays Raven, who seems like his character from THE LOVELESS sucked into another dimension where he gets power mad because can lead a huge biker club that gets away with running around taking shit like a bunch of vikings. I think somebody said this movie takes place in the same world as THE WARRIORS but three decades earlier. Or wait, maybe it was this is what’s going on on earth during ALIEN. No, I think it was the WARRIORS thing. Leather-jacket-wearing-gangs, corrupt cops and rock-n-roll groups seem to rule the city. Ellen Aim (Diane Lane) and the Attackers (some guy dressed like David Bowie, others) are performing when Raven’s boys storm in and kidnap Ellen.

So Ellen’s ex-boyfriend Tom Cody (Michael Paré), freshly returned from “The War,” comes into town and offers his asskicking services to her new boyfriend, record mogul Billy Fish (Rick Moranis). You know this is a hard boiled world when even Rick Moranis tries to talk tough all the time. But he agrees to pay Cody and goes along on the mission, as does McCoy (Amy Madigan), a female war vet Cody met at a bar. She says he’s not her type, if you know what she means. If you don’t know what she means let’s just say that if she had to be in a gang from THE WARRIORS I bet she’d choose The Lizzies. Or if she was in space she’d hang out with Vasquez.

So it starts to seem a little bit like THE WIZARD OF OZ, they keep picking up new friends along the road. When they need new wheels they hijack a bus from The Sorels, a struggling vocal group made up of Stoney Jackson, Grand L. Bush, Robert Townsend and Mykelti Williamson. In probly the best scene of the movie the Sorels sing a doo wop song for everybody in a break from battling. I think it’s the only time McCoy laughs.

The Sorels are really understanding about the hijacking, so I don’t think it’s cool what position they get put in. When they get stopped at a roadblock and have to pay off the cops to get through McCoy pretends to be the driver for the Sorels, mentioning the name of the group a couple times. Then Cody pulls guns on the cops, they make them lay down in the street and they blow up their patrol cars. Do you remember how much trouble Ice-T got in just for singing “Cop Killer”? I don’t think it’s fair for the poor Sorels, especially in this ’50s-ish era, to get mixed up in that.

Then, as if that’s not bad enough, Cody immediately announces that they gotta ditch the bus. I was relieved at the end when the Sorels seemed to benefit from their connection to Ellen (commercially if not artistically – they end up supposedly singing the recognizable ’80s pop song “I Can Dream About You” [not a cover, I guess it comes from this movie].) But it was still shitty to do all that to random doo-woppers.

Like THE WARRIORS it’s the atmosphere and the tone that really make the movie. Without being futuristic this city almost reminds me of BLADE RUNNER, it’s so moody and oppressive. The streets really do got alot of fire on them, not just the patrol cars but also he takes pot-shots at motorcycles causing them to explode, and there seems to just be random burning debris on the sides of various roads, the aftermath of some earlier mayhem our protagonists had nothing to do with. And there are great shots of big neon signs reflecting on wet concrete.

Maybe the movie is best summed up by what happens between Tom Cody and Ellen Aim. It’s obvious that he still has a thing for her, but they act like they hate each other. In fact, she tells him she hates him for taking money to rescue her. If he really loved her it would be pro bono mercenary work, obviously. But he actually doesn’t take the money, only collects McCoy’s share. So they approach each other in the rain and without saying anything to each other they kiss passionately like the cover of a romance novel and the next thing you know they’re in a bed somewhere fucking Rock & Roll Fable style. It’s so pulpy and macho and I like how everybody’s always running their mouths off but these two never talk openly about their animal magnetism or whatever it is. It doesn’t really need to be said that she’s gonna leave Rick Moranis for this tough guy who left her behind before. Or at least she’s gonna try.

I’m sure in this post-war period there were alot of guys like Tom Cody coming back kind of messed up, not able to talk about their feelings, and not able to work things out with their soulmates. So what you get is you end up with somebody like Ellen Aim probly marrying somebody like Billy Fish and dreaming of somebody like Tom Cody and they’re in this empty marriage and then they have kids and the family breaks apart because they’re not really in love and they’re addicted to rock ‘n roll so the kids are neglected and grow up running around in the streets playing in the fiery debris. And when those kids get older do you think they’re gonna go out and get an education and get a respectable job, or do you think they’re gonna join the Baseball Furies?

Wait a minute, wasn’t Billy Fish that serial killer that put pins in his balls? If so there is more going on in this thing than I realized while watching it. Also, if this is a fable then where are the talking animals and the moral at the end? And why didn’t somebody try to go up into space to help Ripley? I guess I still got a few questions about this one, hopefully Pyun will clear some of these up in his movie.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010 at 1:11 am and is filed under Action, Music, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

68 Responses to “Streets of Fire”

  1. Gotta love that “animal magnetism or whatever it is.” It’s hard to achieve between a dude & a chick without a struggle framing the outset of the relationship, or without a guitar. The urgency of the could-be lovers, that’s what’s great about pre-internet hooking up. You had to go for it, on the spot, surrounded by rogues and oil drum fires in this case, and not just pussy out and settle for a phone number or something.

  2. I can dream about you / if I can’t hold you tonight!

    Yeah, I believe I was the guy who previously made the WARRIORS connection: I heard once that it’s the same universe as THE WARRIORS, except that was the 70s of that world and this is WarriorWorld’s 1950s. I wish somebody would greenlight another Walter Hill film so he could make the WarriorWorld trilogy.

    Anyway, I’ve also said this before, but RUMBLE FISH + STREETS OF FIRE = SIN CITY.

    And I love STREETS OF FIRE. Always have. I remember my father coming home and saying, “I was down at the video store and they were showing this movie on the store monitors–two guys were fighting with SLEDGEHAMMERS! It was wild!”

    It kind’ve slows to a crawl for a while during the second act, but that’s the only real problem–otherwise, as far as style, concept, adherence to a real distinct vision, it’s just great. There was a lot of talk in the 80s about bringing “MTV style” to cinema, which was amusing as all the music video techniques they were referring to had come from movies in the first place. Along with PURPLE RAIN, STREETS OF FIRE is one of the few films that succesfully brought those techniques back.

  3. I loved this film the first time I saw it (loved the way the opening scenes were edited together with the shredding effect).
    But after seeing Ghostbusters, I found it impossible to go back and take Rick Moranis seriously as a
    tough-talking promoter/agent.

  4. When i see that movie, i always feel bad for those cool bikes being destroyed.

  5. I always thought that it was cool that the Tom Cody character and the cops used Winchester rifles in the movie.

  6. C’mon friendo, how do you not mention the climactic (waaait fooor iiit) SLEDGE HAMMER FIGHT??!!!

  7. Vasquez was gay?

  8. This is such a great movie, shamefully overlooked at the time and even now (except in Japan, where it’s huge, apparently.)

    The look and tone is just pitch-perfect, and I can totally see how it could be set in the same neon, comic-book world as THE WARRIORS.

    The semi-sequel to STREETS, ROAD TO HELL, is out soon on DVD – there was a brief review of it a year or so ago, saying it stank.

    But then, it’s by Albert Pyun, so they really shouldn’t have been surprised.

    I’ll still check it out, though.

    BTW, The reason McCoy’s sexuality is oblique is because the part was written as a male and they didn’t bother changing some of her lines.

  9. I like that story how the movie was named after a Bruce Springsteen song, but then the Boss REFUSED to give Hill and Joel Silver and Lawrence Gordon the rights to play it in the movie.

  10. Yeah, gotta love those awesome opening credits. (Kind of like a precursor to the Alien 3-quick cut opening credits, but edited randomly. And I mean that in a good way). And someone’s gotta mention the final song “Tonight is What it Means to be Young”. It’s overblown and amazing and catchy as hell. The best Meatloaf song that Meatloaf never did.

  11. I’m one of the few people unfortunate enough to have seen Albert Pyun’s sub-fan fiction wannabe sequel “Road to Hell.”

    I even sent in a review to Ain’t It Cool two years ago:

    I hope the fact that it still hasn’t yet seen the light of day means it never will because no amount of time can fix it. And this is coming from someone who has enjoyed a handful of Pyun’s films.

    “Road to Hell” is close to the worst thing I’ve ever seen theatrically, and I hate to think of Streets of Fire fans seeking it out or paying for it in any way.

    As far as the person who can’t take a tough talking Rick Moranis seriously… I don’t think you’re supposed to. No one else likable in this movie really does, not even Ellen. He talks tough because he has to, and people listen because he’s got money and/or power.

  12. oh by the way – it’s been a while since i’ve seen it – does anyone die in this movie? I remember being a kid and thinking the sledgehammers at the end were axes and being scared because i could have sworn the main villain got hacked to death, but then I saw it again a few years ago and was pleasantly surprised that it was of the GI Joe /A-Team “punch them out” variety.

  13. You’re right, I blew it by not mentioning the sledge hammers or the somewhat outrageous (but restrained by today’s standards) editing tricks. And no, Vasquez is not necessarily gay, but I think McCoy would like her.

  14. Man, so much great, weird stuff in this movie. Bill Paxton’s dickhead bartender, Ed Begley Jr as the magic hobo who appears out of steam to provide important information, Willem Dafoe’s S+M vinyl mario bros overalls, the world’s scariest stripper, Lee Ving as himself, Michael Pare seeming cool somehow.

    Hadn’t really thought about it, but I guess no one does die in this movie. Even when Tom Cody is blasting those guys on motorcycles into great balls of fire he seems pretty sure that they’ll be fine. In Warriorworld that’s the kind of thing you can walk off.

    Love that moment at the end when Cody leaves the concert. Ellen sees him go and you can see her heart break for exactly half a second, but she keeps singing without missing a beat. Always gets me.

  15. Vern – personally I’m more surprised you didn’t mention Madigan KNOCKING THE FUCK OUT of Bill Paxton than about the railroad spike duel.

  16. I really do love this movie, a look that suggests what Cleveland looks like to Meatloaf after he’s been sniffing glue all night. Willem Dafoe in Rubber Overalls (My favorite moment is when he walks out of a burning building, talks to Tom Cody, then turns around and walks right the fuck back in. For the record the moment that I’M surprised Vern didn’t mention) and an actual street of fire.

    And say what you will about the music (I like most of it, in that Jim Steinmantastic way), but I still think those are some of the best concert scenes caught on film.

    I must confess I’ve always had a thing for Madigan because of this movie. Despite the fact that I’m not her type either (I like capable women, sue) and because Ed Harris would beat me up if I made a move. I was always thought that she never got the chance she deserved and she can still bring it, she was great in Gone Baby Gone.

  17. Am I right in thinking Dan Hartman wrote I CAN DREAM ABOUT YOU for Hall and Oates, but they turned it down so it ended up in this film performed by the man himself? Not the coolest question to ask, but for some reason I think I’ll post it anyway.

  18. Sorry Vern, I couldn’t find an email address for you, so I’ll just spam into the newest post that David Bordwell did a nice piece about the art of staging fight scenes:

  19. Beat you to it in the The Expendables thread, Patrick! 2nd-hand glory stealer!

    It’s a great article, though, for serious.

  20. For years I’ve read that this is supposed to be the past to The Warriors future , and I can see that clearly.There’s a clear similarity between the two movies with colors and sets . But I’m not so sure I want to see a third one with today standards . Both movies are cartoonish but realistic , and part of the magic is the setting himself and the sets they’ve made for the movie . Physical sets . I don’t see them recapturing the same magic vibe with today’s heavy use of greenscreen and post production special effects . And it’s the same problem , in my opinion , with the new Alien by Scott. The sets in the original are fantastic , huge and dead on from a design point of view .I don’t see him pulling it off again.

    Speaking of Michael Parè , I’m about to see Bad Moon. I’ve seen a couple of pictures and the special effects got my attention. Fingers crossed.

  21. I’m also sorry to read that Road to Hell is not good , but I will give it a try when I can find it . That and “Infection” are highly rated ( for Pyun movies ) on IMDB , so I will wait and see for myself. Hell , Road to Hell has a rating of 8.2 ! How’s that possible ?

    And I know Vern’s joking about Alien being connected to SOF , but Dan O’Bannon made it clear in an interview that Hill’s major contribution to Alien was the android subplot , and not much more . Yes , he changed the names and made the dialogue more realistic , but he wasn’t really one of the driving creative forces behind that movie .

  22. Oh , and , Vern , I really don’t think it’s legit , but someone made a Hit! DVD :


  23. CallMeKermiT – Yeah I read the Hill-rewritten script, and basically instead of being a polished respectable A-level slasher, it would have been even more slasher roots if that makes any sense. Especially that unnecessary fuck scene.

    I have to say, Ridley made the right call in going back to the O’Bannon script (plus slight revisions/additions).

  24. One of the great questions of modern cinema: Is Vasquez A Lesbian?

    You can make a pretty good case either way. She COULD be Drake’s lover (i.e. the way she freaks out when he dies). Then again, she is a muscular female Marine with a crewcut.

  25. And no: Walter Hill and David Giler were a MAJOR creative force behind ALIEN. The characters and dialouge are all them; and they greatly smoothed out and improved O’Bannion and Shusett’s awkward, somewhat episodic narrative. That really feels much more like a Walter Hill movie even then a Ridley Scott film.

  26. CC – Why the fuck is it that any tough chick automatically is a lesbian? She could just be a ball-buster you know?

    I mean that’s like assuming any dude who likes opera or classical music is some sort of flake.

  27. Well , to each his own . I didn’t say that I don’t like what Hill and Giler ( the “Brandywine Revision”) added to the story : their cyborgs now are in every Alien movie , an integral part of that universe , and I like them because they’re so different from every other cyborg or “artificial man”. But before considering them major driving forces behind the project , I will consider O’Bannon and Shusett , Scott , Giger and Ron Cobb . And , as RRA pointed out , I’m glad Scott made a few steps back .

  28. There was even a controversy , I don’t remember who said it , O’Bannon or Shusett , but basically one of them was almost sure that they ( Hill + Giler ) changed around some things just to take away from them the writing credits . I don’t think that’s the case , because I like Hill , but , you never know , that’s movie business we’re talking about here.

  29. In the opening scene when Dafoe’s gang is kidnapping Ellen Aim and shit goes BANANANANANAS you may notice that there’s a electronic drum roll every time someone gets hit or thrown.

    There’s also a version of Meatloaf singing Nowhere Fast but it’s really bad. If I remember correctly it’s a slower version than the one in the movie. But I could swear that Meatloaf is singing backup for those song in the movie, especially Tonight is What It Means to Be Young.

  30. I was under the impression that McCoy was straight. She mentioned that she’d had a fellow at some point.

  31. been meaning to see this for years, I wish there was a blu ray

  32. Say, does anybody else pitch a tent when that androgynous dancer is on screen?

  33. caruso_stalker217 – Yes.

  34. First time I saw the movie I was like, “Is that a woman?” But it didn’t matter because I already had an erection.

  35. There is also a highly underrated Amy Madigan movie from 1987 where she fights (with Michael Ironside on her side as a tight-lipped vietnam vet) some evil military guys FIRST BLOOD-style in the woods called NOWHERE TO HIDE. Very tight and no-nonsense. Worth seeking out.

  36. RRA–Why the fuck have you gotta totally distort what I said in order to score points and try and look clever?

    I never said or implied that every “tough chick” is automatically a lesbian. I was pointing out the ambiguity around the Vasquez character and how clever I think Cameron was in deliberately allowing that too exist. A lesser filmmaker would have either made her this overt dyke in a very cheesy, exploitive b-movie way, OR would have frantically established she was straight in the first five seconds (“Boy, when this is all over I can’t wait to get back and see my boyfriend!”) Cameron gives us a figure who fits a lot of the stereotypes of gay women but leaves it up to the audience to decide whether she is or she isn’t–it’s a minor element of the film, but in a movie so concerned with images of femininity it’s a powerful one. And it was probably inspired by something that was cut from the original ALIEN, when Ripley and Lambert ask if either one has ever slept with Ash; you later realize it’s pointing to something else, but it seems to be raising some question of Ash’s sexuality.

    And the “artificial persons” like Ash and Bishop aren’t cyborgs, they’re androids.

    And Ridley didn’t go back to O’Bannion’s draft. C’mon, guys take a look at the DVD or almost any history of the production of ALIEN. Hill, Giler and Scott all thought O’Bannion’s draft was terrible. Ridley Scott said it had, qoute, a “Yea gadzooks quality about it”. (I’m not sure exactly what that means but it can’t be good.) They knew it had good ideas and real potential but that O’Bannion and Shusett were just really pulpy, limited writers who were never going to fully realize that potential. Don’t beleive O’Bannion’s own accounts of what happened: that guy always portrayed himself as this great genius undercut and assaulted by jealous lesser artists. John Carpenter said that after Dark Star he realized Dan O’Bannion was an egomaniac who couldn’t be trusted and would always take credit for everything, and Carpenter wouldn’t work with him anymore.

  37. Maybe because i was eight when Aliens came out, but I never gave any thought to Vasquez’s sexuality, or anyone else’s in an 80s action movie for that matter. In fact it kinda bugs the shit out of me when on IMDB, etc…, everyone has to talk about “were Mac and Blaine lovers?” or were “Axel Foley and Mikey Tandino lovers?” Or Action Jackson and whoever Robert Davi was? Because you know, you can’t show affection and/or get mad when someone close dies without being gay these days apparently.

    But that being said, CC does bring up some interesting points about Vasquez and the way Cameron chooses to portray her. Think of the way Paul W.S. Anderson has a tough, lesbian-style chick in AVP1, and as CC says, IMMEDIATELY has a gratuitous line about using condoms to assure us she’s straight. I’m pretty sure Cameron didn’t give Michelle Rodriguez’s Vasquez-lite in Avatar any of those gratuitous flourishes, but I can’t remember.

    And hamslime – I think I read the male voice in the Streets of Fire songs isn’t Meatloaf, but the dude who sings backup on those other Jim Steinman songs (the guy who sings “turn around bright eyes” in Total Eclipse of the Heart). I do really really hope Meatloaf will put out a version of “Tonight is What it Means to be Young” before I die though. I can’t stress how incredible that song is.

  38. Love, love, love STREETS OF FIRE.

    Saw it opening weekend on the 2nd largest screen in Montreal – where I would catch BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA a year later, then FULL METAL JACKET the year after that . . . Man, I feel bad for teenagers nowadays, especially those considering a career in film, when I compare what was on screens when I was their age.

    There is a 1 minute+ scene where Willem Dafoe speaks at the camera and the guy doesn’t blink once. Another favourite is a moment when he seems to walk right out of a pit of fire at the end of the first act: “I can get guns, smart guy, lots of ’em. Now why don’t you tell me your name?”

    The film was a disastrous bomb at the box office (grossing 5.5 Mil from a budget of 15, not including marketing) but as a 70mm, 6 track Spectal Recording presentation, it blew my frakking mind. I stayed and watched a second showing.

    Here is a look at the original poster artwork:


    I still get chills, man. I still get chills . . .

  39. “This is such a great movie, shamefully overlooked at the time and even now (except in Japan, where it’s huge, apparently.)”

    Yeah, supposedly we can thank this movie for all those beat ’em up video games the Japanese made in the 80s and early 90s – Double Dragon, Final Fight, Streets of Rage, etc.

    I need to see this movie again because it’s been too long. I think the first time I saw it I basically liked it but was having trouble buying all the self-consciously hard-boiled dialogue. But then I didn’t mind it in Sin City so maybe I’ll like it better this time.

  40. neal2zod – You’re probably right but it does sound a lot like him and you’re also right about him singing Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young. (as long as it isn’t ruined like his version of Nowhere Fast. It exists, I’ve heard it.)

  41. Nowhere Fast exists, not the other one.

  42. “The movie is by Mr. Walter Hill, and I’m pretty sure nobody else would be able to make a movie like this, or would think of it, or would want to. ”

    I would. love rock and roll, love The Warriors. waited months to see this… thought it needed even more Jim Steinman and over the top passion, but it was still awesome

  43. On the topic of nearly-forgotten-but-awesome Walter Hill movies I just finished watching Extreme Prejudice. Holy shit that movie is great. Best Peckinpah movie Walter Hill ever made. And he made quite a few.

  44. I love the legit definition of fable that creeps in at the end. Also love Nowhere Fast!

  45. Aw, sorry I missed this thread. LOVE Steinman music, although I’m happy to hear other artists sing him. I’d rather have more Steinman music out there. Anyone hear his German musical Dance of the Vampire? Title track is Tonight is What it Means to be Young, reworded and in German, though an English language workshop piece exists somewhere out there.

  46. I don’t remember Meatloaf’s version sounding like this. Somehow I thought there was a worse, slower version. This one isn’t bad, but it’s not as good as the Fire Inc. one in my opinion.


    I do like this song though. *Turns in man card*


  47. hamslime – I never leave a man behind, so I’ll come out too and say that I also love “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now”. Shit, I’ll go even further and say I even liked the Celine Dion version when I was a kid and it took me several years to figure out why the video seemed to recycle everything from Meat Loaf’s “Anything for Love” video (it all comes back to Michael Bay!)

    Ftopel – I had no idea! But it makes sense that “Tonight is What it Means to be Young” was for something else entirely, lyrically it doesn’t really fit with an action movie at all.

  48. Finally saw this one after putting it in my queue after the review. Great movie! It’s a shame it was a bomb, because imdb says there were supposed to be sequels.

    I wonder if the reason this seems so good now but not a lot of people liked it back then was because of its hokeyness. “A Rock and Roll Fable?” Well, that’s a hard sell to any audience that’s exposed to it contemporaneously, but now that it’s thirty years later you can just chalk that up to “times were different back then” and it doesn’t seem so corny.

    Loved all the actors, who did a lot without a lot of dialogue, but could’ve done without Rick Moranis being such a pain in the ass in the second act.

    Fun, fun movie. I don’t like the way the sledgehammer fight scene was cut but can’t complain about the direction otherwise. Very energetic little movie, and it wears its heart on its sleeve.

  49. Agreed completely, M. Casey.  It had been, like, a decade+ since my last Streets of Fire viewing, and then in September 2010 I realized how awesome it is, especially the bookend music scenes.  I must have been distracted the first time I saw it; this time I was able to be in a dark room with a big tv and good speakers, distraction-free, and it was badass.  

    Unlike some BADASS CINEMA scholars, I love musicals, from the works of Busby Berkeley (especially “By the Waterfall” – – Youtube it if you want a good smile.) to Oliver! to Enchanted, and especially rock musicals, from Privilege to Tommy to Purple Rain to Hedwig & the Angry Inch to Greendale.  Hell, I wish there had been even *more* of a musical focus in SoF.  

    Maybe 1984/5 American movie audiences were idiots.  

    Maybe Willem Dafoe & Walter Hill & even 1984/5 Michael Pare & 1984/5 Diane Lane all possess more genius than that for which we’ve previously given them credit.  Only the filmmaking crew and a few perceptive, imaginative folk grasped the badassness of SoF at the time, and everyone else is a dullard and a square.  

    On the, uh, androgynous stripper who caught the attention of Caruso & hamslime, my thinking was something like this: 
    ~Oh so this is a gay bar well that makes sense that a petite man is shaking his ass here while these village people types eat it up I guess I mean we all saw Raven in that ridick black leather latex thing and he is surrounded by all guys so okay then we’re in the gay district WHOA HE JUST RAISED HIS SHIRT AND THOSE LOOKED LIKE TITS MAYBE JUST ‘a’ CUPS BUT NOW I’M STARING AT THE CROTCH TO CHECK FOR A BULGE OR A TUCK WHAT THE HELL IS THAT THING WHERE AM I and now the lead singer is singing “I’m a 1-man stud, a 1 man stud, 1, 1, 1, 1!” I am not aroused I am not aroused I am not aroused I wonder how much money he/she’s gonna make tonight~

  50. And how about that montage of Cody arriving on the train intercut with the typerwiter typing that becomes an awesome Ry Cooder blues inspired music beat? The most badass opening montage ever or what?

    The beginning music sequence of Last Man Standing comes close second, though.

  51. Well said, Mouth. Your blow-by-blow analysis of the androgynous stripper sequence is the gold standard by which all future discussions of that scene will be compared. Nailed it.

  52. Reader,

    Yes, that is excellent. Let’s not think too hard about it though, as Reva telexes Tom and he packs his shit, gets on the train, and shows up that very same night. Just in time for the Road Masters to get hungry.

  53. {high-5s Harker}

  54. Had the good fortune of seeing this on the big screen in Raleigh last night. And Holy Shit – it’s simply stunning in the theatre. I’ve seen it on HBO and DVD plenty of times, but something about the big screen brought out the textures and the compositions – it’s really an incredible looking film, even though the print was definitely old and grainy and almost Grindhouse-worthy at times. But I don’t know if even a crisp Blu Ray of this movie would compare. It was that good.

    The bookend musical numbers were simply jaw-dropping with the surround sound, it’s like you’re suddenly in the middle of a concert. And yes, I’m now convinced I could listen to “Tonight is what it means to be Young” on an infinite loop and never get tired of it.

    Oh – but one other thing -watching this with a crowd really did enhance the (hopefully intentional) “school play” acting-style in this movie. Cody and Aim exhibit zero chemistry together (I’m actually convinced they’re not supposed to) and the entire audience busted out laughing when they kiss out of nowhere in the rain. I’ve never been more happy that he “ends up with” McCoy at the end.

  55. Oh and one more thing – Rick Moranis is kind of badass in this movie. He’s an asshole, sure, but he’s not cowardly or sniveling at all – he’s fearless and he literally doesn’t hesitate during any confrontations – be it talking shit to Cody, standing off with the bikers, or trying to bribe the cops – I’d say he actually exudes more machismo and confidence than Cody, even though he gets his ass handed to him. And the little detail of him growing up from the rough side of town where the bikers are from, and pulling himself out of there by his bootstraps is a great touch, it’s convenient to the plot but also adds character development.

  56. Most of us don’t give a fuck about mainstream press acceptance of movies we know are awesome, but some of y’all might be pleased to know that STREETS OF FIRE received a very nice brief write-up in a very reputable forum, last week’s The New Yorker:

    **The director Walter Hill set this sizzling rock-and-roll fable in a mythical Everymetropolis. He filled it with hot wheels, homey coffee shops, and macho saloons; split it into districts that suggest high-school cliques of greasers, preppies, and jocks; and studded it with fantastical details—the cops wear square-cut comic-book uniforms and drive stubby old Studebaker police cars. The result is a fast, tough, deadpan-funny pop epic about the Queen of the Hop getting kidnapped by the Leader of the Pack and rescued by the Soldier Boy—as well as a postmodern riff on the abduction of Helen of Troy. The heroine is a singer (Diane Lane), the villain is a biker-gang boss (Willem Dafoe), and the hero is a lone urban cowboy and Army veteran (Michael Paré). What makes this movie rock is its brooding visual textures and its hard-driving elastic beat. The cinematographer, Andrew Laszlo, bathes the dilapidated city in a magical half-light that’s both vivid and unadorned. And, like the best rock musicians, the nimble-fingered editor Freeman Davies orchestrates tense, staccato effects into an overwhelming surge of imagery. Beneath the baroque surface, there’s an authentic emotional core; Hill depicts a heroic yet ironic relationship with the fleeting, feral glamor and pure-blooded energy of youth. Released in 1984.—Michael Sragow (Anthology Film Archives; Aug. 1.) **

    I boldly predict that this movie’s reputation will continue to improve.

  57. man, I really wish this flick was on blu ray

  58. I wish it was on Blu Ray too – but, (and this is the next best thing) – it’s on Netflix Instant in HD. Reason #50 why I can’t stand the outrage by everyone over the price hike.

  59. well, I finally got around to watching this

    I liked it, maybe didn’t love it, I’m not sure how I feel about the mixing of the 50’s with 80’s music, it’s just weird, I guess it sort of works, but at the same time it dates it more than it would be if it was just a straight up 1950’s setting with no weird almost Fallout esque touches

    and there’s no denying the movie’s pretty cheesy, but in a respectable way

    overall though it’s a cool movie, I liked the part where The Sorels moonwalked and the really hot stripper in the Bomber’s bar

  60. of course I should mention that I too thought that stripper was a man at first

  61. I swear this is on topic – I just saw Flashdance for the first time – it’s incredibly popular and iconic yet also weirdly forgotten and under-rated. Sure, it’s all style over substance – Adrian Lyne truly out-Scotted Tony Scott and out-Bayed Bay. The sets, lighting, cinematography, etc.. are absolutely incredible, if non-sensical. No, I’ve never been to a bar like that and never went to a gym like that and never met a poor person who had a giant studio apartment that big, but who cares. The movie is short and simple and has one of the best feel-good endings of all time. It’s obvious critics hated it and its style back in the day but they’d be floored if something this good-looking came out today. It seriously belongs in a film class with something like Alien.

    Anyway, the one thing that could really have been improved is that it’s ridiculously obvious Jennifer Beals isn’t doing any dancing. Like at all. Scenes not just dancing, but doing very simple things like POINTING to people are doubled by someone who looks like Tim Curry in Rocky Horror, and the magic of the internet informs me that Beals’ scenes were all doubled by a Marine Jahan, who….is the mysterious androgynous stripper from Streets of Fire! It’s not a Zoe Bell story or anything, but I’m happy to see a double get a memorable role in something else.

    Btw, I wonder why Flashdance isn’t on Blu Ray (like Streets of Fire) It was apparently the 3rd biggest movie of ’83. I’m sure the increased clarity would make the dance double even more obvious, but some of those scenes would be amazing on blu-ray.

  62. Holy shit, you guys, I watched STREETS OF FIRE for the first time last night. And more importantly I heard Tonight Is What It Means to Be Young for the first time! Been cranking that all day while I work. What a fucking tune!

    This is just a great movie. I was grinning ear to ear the entire time. The only real complaint I have is that the sledgehammer fight sucked. I was extremely excited when they brought those out but then it was shot so poorly and had like 5 thousand cuts. I guess Walter Hill was really ahead of his time there. I don’t need a MJW/Adkins fight or anything, but at least make some kinda effort for your climactic brawl!

    At least they ended on one hell of a high note. I would guess that has to be the 3rd best musical performance I’ve ever seen in a movie. It actually made me completely forget about the sledgehammer fight until I read the comments here and got annoyed again.

    Oh, and the stripper – I still thinks it’s a dude. Either way, it gave me the opposite of a boner. Diane Lane on the other hand…then I found out she was only 18 when she made this and felt gross.

  63. I sometimes times confuse NOWHERE FAST and TONIGHT IS WHAT IT MEANS TO BE YOUNG.

  64. This brings up an important point: Isaac Florentine should make STREETS OF FIRE II with Adkins starring as the Willem Dafoe character seeking redemption.

  65. Felix, just remember that Tonight starts out slow while Nowhere Fast does not.

    Scott Adkins is entirely too handsome to play Willem Dafoe.

  66. Don’t know if this has been covered above (can’t be bothered to read all the comments), but the stripper/dancer’s name is Marine Jahan, and she was Jennifer Beals’ double in FLASHDANCE.

  67. I watched this one over the weekend since it came up and, yeah, I just can’t with this one. I tried to sit with it a couple of days and see if I softened in my mind and I haven’t. The weirdness can’t get to the point of being cool because I can’t get past my hatred of the main character. Let me make sure I’ve got this right. He left town after having a temper tantrum because his girlfriend had ambition and wanted to follow her dreams. Then when he comes back he’s pissed because she actually followed through on those dreams and ambition rather than sitting around pining for him. Then after he berates her to the point where she gives in and sleeps with him, apparently all he needed was to be the one to make those decisions for her and now he’s good with leaving town and not just giving her permission to get on with her career, but literally handing her off to another guy. I don’t care if he had a lame sledge hammer fight with a rubber overalls suited, duck-ass coifed Willem Defoe while he’s dressed like a farmer from 1904, he can fuck off. Great Jim Steinman songs, though.

  68. His sister likes him, though.

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