“Amid a brooding rock & roll landscape, the Bombers motorcycle gang, led by the vicious Raven Shaddock (Willem Dafoe, John Wick), kidnap diva Ellen Aim (Diane Lane, Man of Steel). Her hope for rescue lies with unlikely heroes: soldier of fortune Tom Cody (Michael Paré, Bad Moon) and his sidekick, the two-fisted beer-guzzling McCoy (Amy Madigan, The Dark Half). Joined by Ellen’s manager, Billy Fish (Rick Moranis, Ghostbusters), the trio plunges headfirst into a world of rain-splattered streets, hot cars, and deadly assassins.
This cult favorite features a razor-sharp cast and original songs written by Jim Steinman, Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty and Ry Cooder and performed by The Blasters and The Fixx. Directed by cult filmmaker Walter Hill (The Warriors, Southern Comfort, 48 Hrs.), Streets of Fire is a rock & roll shotgun blast to the senses.”
Streets of Fire opens as a motorcycle gang led by Raven Shaddock kidnaps the beautiful and talented Ellen Aim as she performs on stage. As chaos ensues, the gang terrorizes the small town before riding out into the night with Ellen in tow. A local, Reva Cody (Deborah Van Valkenburgh), sends an urgent message to her brother Tom, pleading for him to return home to deal with the danger that has come into their lives.
Tom Cody, a loner of sorts with a sordid past, rolls into town and instantly lets his presence be known as he single-handedly takes on a gang of punks that threaten his sister and the diner she works at. When he learns that Raven has taken Ellen who he used to be involved with, he meets with her manager and new boyfriend Billy Fish, demanding ten thousand dollars to rescue her. Along with McCoy whom he meets in a bar who has a similar past and desperately need a job, the three make their way to the Bombers biker bar to rescue Ellen.
After a successful rescue and confrontation with Raven, he vows to come looking for Cody, who must struggle with his urge to disappear into the sunset or stick around to protect the town and its citizens from the wrath of Raven and his men.
One of the best things about Streets of Fire is the style of the film. It’s told in kind of an alternate 1950’s where Rock and Roll is king, and men and women live in an almost lawless civilization filled with gangs, bands, motorcycles and cars. It has a dark and gritty look, reminiscent of the style of Blade Runner, contrasted with bright neon signs that give the film a futuristic and almost apocalyptic look to it. It’s a style that instantly draws you in to this fantasy world where no matter how dark things are, music keeps hope alive.
As the film classifies itself as a ‘Rock and Roll Fable’, another style that is clearly evident is the Western. Tom Cody, very much like other Western heroes, rides into town, trading in a horse for a hotrod. He’s the savior of the town, of the girl, initially in it only for the money but eventually finds a purpose before riding into the sunset. That Western element works extremely well, complete with a thrilling final showdown between good and evil.
The cast in Streets of Fire is exceptional, with relatively unknown lead Michael Paré displaying amazing believability, exuding an air of confidence and innocence at the same time, perfect for the loner archetype he portrays. Willem Dafoe is always perfect, especially as a villain. With a simple look of those menacing eyes, Dafoe can exude a wealth of emotion and meaning. The rest of the supporting cast: Amy Madigan, Diane Lane, Rick Moranis, and others, are very well written, well rounded, and I couldn’t think of anyone better to fill these roles in this film.
What Walter Hill has created with Streets of Fire is something so unique that you can’t help but fall in love with. Despite the bleak world the story is told in, the heart and the love of the music brings the film to life which can be told in any era.
Streets of Fire has a new 2k scan of the interpositive, presented in 1080p High Definition Widescreen 1.85:1. This film has never looked so good. Despite a few issues with the source print in the forms of minor blemishes and scratches, the transfer is exceptional. Colors are well balanced, especially with the contrast of the dark tone of the film against the vibrant neon.
The audio is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Being a Rock and Roll Fable, the music and score is going to be pretty important, and this is the highlight of the entire film. The audio sounds incredible, with an amazing balance between the score and the rest of the film.
The songs in the film include some originals written by Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks, as well as some covers that work well with the rest of the score.
Shout Select has quickly become one of my favorite series that Shout has released. They treat these films extremely well, and the special features included in this really go above and beyond what one might expect. The feature length documentary is just as entertaining as the film, and despite the hour and forty minute runtime, you’ll be just as invested in the interviews from the director and cast as you were in the film. On this set you’re going to see:
- NEW 2K Scan Of The Interpositive
- NEW SHOTGUNS & SIX STRINGS: The Making Of A Rock N Roll Fable – A Feature-Length Documentary Featuring Interviews With Director/Co-writer Walter Hill, Producer Lawrence Gordon, Actors Michael Paré, Deborah Van Valkenburgh, Richard Lawson, Elizabeth Daily, Lee Ving, Screenwriter Larry Gross, Editor Freeman Davies, Associate Producer Mae Woods, Art Director James Allen, Costume Designer Marilyn Vance, Assistant Director David Sosna, Choreographer Jeffrey Hornaday, Sound Editor Richard Anderson, Music Producer Kenny Vance And Many More…
- RUMBLE ON THE LOT: Walter Hill’s Streets Of Fire Revisited – A Feature-Length Documentary Featuring Interviews With Director/Co-writer Walter Hill, Actor Michael Paré, Amy Madigan And Art Director James Allen
- Vintage Featurettes: Rock And Roll Fable, Exaggerated Realism, Choreographing The Crowd, Creating The Costumes, From The Ground Up
- Music Videos
- Theatrical Trailer
- On Air Promos
- Still Gallery
Streets of Fire is a worthy inclusion in the Shout Select series, bringing with it a bit of magic and fantasy in an otherwise dark story. It’s a very unique film, unlike anything I’ve seen, and highly recommended.