This is the big one, this is the blu-ray we at Towatchpile have been waiting for, yearning for and now it is released. That’s right thanks to Second Sight Films you can now own Walter Hill’s criminally under appreciated Rock and Roll fable Streets of Fire in glorious HD.
Walter Hill is a film geeks filmmaker, he’s not a particularly well known name outside of film nerd circles, but his influence and fingerprints are on so many facets of modern cinema it’s shocking that he isn’t given more kudos for the films he has worked on as a writer, director and producer.
Hill went into the 80’s off the back of the success of his New York gang film The Warriors, a film set in an almost parallel universe to the one of the time, a neon dystopia where society was crumbling and the law of the streets was taking hold. It’s this cinematic world that Hill would revisit 5 years later with Streets of Fire, however before that he further established himself as a power player in Hollywood with the Palme d’Or nominated The Long Riders which was followed by critical success with Southern Comfort and commercial success from 48Hrs. These films gave Hill the platform to make what he hoped would be the first in an ambitious but ultimately doomed musical trilogy starting with Streets of Fire.
Streets of Fire could almost be set in a different city in the same universe as 1979’s The Warriors. It’s world is like ours but cranked up to 11. This is a simple story of a hero coming back to save his one true love from an almost equal adversary whose motives seem to be nothing but chaos. Our soldier of fortune is Tom Cody (Michael Paré) and our damsel (of sorts) is Ellen Aim (Diane Lane) a successful singer whose back to play a home town gig when she is snatched by biker gang The Bombers led by the maniacal Raven Shaddock (Willem Dafoe). Enlisted by Ellen’s manager Bobby Fish (Rick Moranis) Tom, with the help of fellow mercenary McCoy (Amy Madigan), must get Ellen back in one piece, all to one of cinemas greatest ever soundtracks.
Streets of Fire is a film where you have to allow yourself to be transported to it’s world. A certain amount of logic has to be left at the door. This is a film that just wants to thrill and entertain, which it does in droves. Paré may not be the best of actors, but his smouldering anti-hero masculinity is almost Brando-esque in places. His stoicism and reticence to show his feelings for Ellen make him even more the perfect hero. It really baffles me that Paré never became a much bigger star, it seems he just arrived in the wrong decade. Had he come onto the scene 10 years earlier, 10 years later or indeed now his star would almost certainly have burned much brighter. Lane plays Ellen as almost brattish in her nature, singing is almost the release she has from her life without the man that got away, though she is not a pining woman lost without her man, she simply found a release of love elsewhere, and I defy anybody be it man, woman, or beast to not feel some pang of anything during the opening song, whether it’s lust or envy.
This release also comes with a newly commissioned feature length making of, Rumble On the Lot: Walter Hill’s Streets of Fire Revisited. For anybody out there who has a pre-existing love for this film I assure you this is worth the price of the blu-ray on it’s own. There are candid interviews with most key cast members, as well as Hill and other crew members. It’s a fascinating look at how the film was conceived, evolved and was ultimately made. Hill seems bruised by it’s perceived failure and Paré seems like he’s never really gotten over that part of his life. It’s certainly Paré who makes this documentary, his honesty and recanting is both heartwarming and heartbreaking.
This review was never going to be an objective look at a film that failed to grab audiences attention almost 30 years ago, my love runs too deep, it’s not often a film can shake me as emotionally as this film does. There is a moment where during the climax of the film a simple turning of the head from Diane Lane breaks my heart with every viewing, leaving me a gibbering whiskey soaked wreck every time. This is simply our way of saying if you’ve seen and loved this movie then this is the release you’ve been waiting for, it looks and, more importantly, sounds incredible. If you’ve never seen it then rectify that as soon as you can, get a copy, wait for a Friday or Saturday night, turn the lights off and be transported to another world, a less perfect but much more romantic world, a world where Rock and Roll is King, a world where Tonight is What it Means to be Young!
Streets of Fire is available on Blu-ray from 18th November 2013 for Second Sight Films.
Special Features -
- Rumble On The Lot: Walter Hill’s ‘Streets Of Fire’ Revisited
- Original Electronic Press Kit
- Music Videos
NB: and don’t even get me started on Willem Defoe and his crazy waders!