From the Salon review: "There [is] all kinds of pop culture iconography floating around in Walter Hill's "Streets of Fire": rock stars; outlaw biker gangs; neon marquees; Dick Tracy-style police cars; diners that serve up coffee in Syracuse china; silent, tough-guy heroes; bars that are rowdy dives and bars meant for quiet, solitary drinking; leather; a battered wallet photo of someone's sweetheart; lovers' reunions; lovers' breakups; dusters; convertibles; pompadours; guns. "Streets of Fire" is nothing but iconography, an attempt to boil down 30 years of pop to its familiar essence and then contain the whole thing in a comic-strip B movie... If chrome could bleed, it would look like the colors that run together in the streets of this movie."
1984's Streets of Fire
, directed by Walter Hill (48 HRS, The Warriors) (view trailer
): the storyline is pure kitsch (beautiful girl rescued from evil captor by old flame who still carries a torch), but it's set in a strange 1980's/1950's mashup world that's part graphic novel, part music video, and mostly over-the-top stylized melodrama.
The musical numbers are by far the strongest part of the film, featuring an incredibly hot Diane Lane
(all of 18), doing a fantastic job lip-syncing as the rocker chick Ellen Aim. She sports a Joan Jett mullet and pouts sulkily when not throwing down on stage. Also featured are Rick Moranis as her jerkwad manager (playing a completely non-comic character), the laconic Michael Pare as the old flame, former soldier-for-hire back in town at his sister's behest when Ellen's kidnapped mid-performance by a glowering Willem Dafoe.
Oscar-nominated Amy Madigan shows up to help Pare find Ellen; other characters come and go as the rescue plays out, including Ed Begley Jr., Bill Paxton, Lynne Thigpen, Robert Townsend, Mykelti Williamson and even (an uncredited) Kathy Griffin. There is LOTS of fighting, shooting and general mayhem culminating in the most badass score-settling face-off ever- a SLEDGHAMMER FIGHT between Dafoe and Pare.
Again- the musical numbers are near-perfect, especially Steinman's "Tonight is what it means to be young
." The overplayed "I can dream about you
" is actually quite watchable. The opening "Nowhere Fast
" culminates in the uber-creepy Dafoe's reveal as the light comes up on his evil pallor.
Streets of Fire was a theatrical flop
, although Roger Ebert
bestowed 3 stars, giving highest praise to Madigan and Lane (although Lane's performance earned her a 1985 Worst Supporting Actress Razzie Nomination