Streets Of Fire (HD-DVD)
Picture: B+ Sound: B Extras: D Film: C+
middle of what we can now consider the Classical MTV Era, many
soundtrack-driven non-Musicals fought hit out at the box office and one of the
grittiest, most Rock oriented was Walter Hill’s Streets Of Fire (1984) now arriving on HD-DVD from Universal. Tougher than the likes of Flashdance, some could consider this a
flip-side to his 1978 hit The Warriors
(reviewed in all three formats elsewhere on this site) revisiting gang violence
with a particularly distinct music background.
(Diane Lane) is abducted by a bike gang called The Bombers, led by the
formidable Raven Shaddock (an effective Willem Dafoe) and it is up to an
unlikely trio of a hero (Michael Paré), his tough-gal friend (Amy Madigan) and
the diva’s manager (Rick Morantis) to save her.
Though not perfect and sometimes rough, it is an interesting film that
has dated in interesting ways. Not as
effective as The Warriors, the film
is still an ambitious stand-out from the comparatively bubble-gum films like it
at the time more remembered from the era.
co-wrote the Hard Rock Fantasy Actioner with Larry Gross and Universal had high
expectations for it, especially after Hill had one of his biggest hits ever
with the Eddie Murphy/Nick Nolte action comedy 48 HRS. (1982), but it was the Dan Hartman hit I Can Dream About You that became a big Top Ten hit, propelled by
two Music Videos. One was of an
all-African American Temptations-like group from the film, though Hartman is
white. The other has a pretty young lady
putting that clip on via a LaserDisc juke box (!!!) while Hartman is the
bartender at the bar where they are (which you can see on the Pure 80s – The DVD Music Video set from
Universal Music) and he sings it in between pouring alcohol!
film is not just some time capsule, but possibly the strongest A-level
Hollywood production to take this kind of narrative/music approach. It shows the connection between Punk and Hard
Rock of that time to the first biker films and Rock music of the 1950s in
spirit. Even when it does not work, it
is always interesting to watch and with no digital effects and mostly
soundstage-bound production design, is visually interesting more than many may
have considered at the time.
1.85 X 1 VC- 1 digital High Definition image looks really good for its age, as
shot by the great Director of Photography Andrew Laszlo, A.S.C., who gave it a
unique look that was more distinct than the typical MTV-styled edit fest
features being made at the time. Color
is interesting and despite some grain, color, detail and depth are impressive
for an older film.
rumored to be coming out with a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack, but this HD-DVD
only has a Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 mix that is a bit harsh, shows its age and is
derived from the original Dolby 4.1 magnetic stereo mix from the 70mm blow-ups
of the film. Some clean-up in any future
version would be nice. Ry Cooder did all
the instrumental music, Jimmy Iovine received special credit for his guidance
and here are the songs in the film as they appear on the album soundtrack:
Nowhere Fast – Fire Inc.
Sorcerer - Marilyn Martin
Deeper & Deeper - The Fixx
Countdown To Love - Greg Phillinganes
One Bad Stud - The Blasters
Tonight Is What It Means To Be
Young - Fire Inc.
Never Be You - Maria McKee
I Can Dream About You - Dan Hartman
Hold That Snake – Ry Cooder
10) Blue Shadows - The Blasters
not the only time Cooder and Hill would collaborate and the teaming has always
been distinct and interesting. Sadly,
they are not included here as bonus music-only tracks and this disc has no
extras whatsoever, though it is the kind of unique production that lends itself
to extras. In the meantime, it is a
solid back catalog title any HD-DVDs owner would enjoy.
- Nicholas Sheffo