Streets Of Fire (1984) Review

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Streets Of Fire (1984)

Directed by Walter Hill

Starring: Michael Paré, Diane Lane, Rick Moranis, Amy Madigan, Willem Dafoe, Deborah Van Valkenburgh, Bill Paxton, Elizabeth Daily

Music by Ry Cooder

Running time: 93 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB):
A mercenary goes after his ex-girlfriend, a singer who has been kidnapped by a gang.

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My Opinion:

Streets Of Fire is one of those movies I always regretted not seeing back in the Eighties. Then, after watching The Warriors a couple of years ago and absolutely loving it, I knew I should finally watch Streets Of Fire as it was also made by Walter Hill. But I still didn’t get around to it! I finally decided to check it out after watching Diane Lane in the great little obscure 1982 film Ladies And Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains. Unfortunately, this is definitely not as good as The Warriors and even The Fabulous Stains is better in a lot of ways. This has a cheesy sort of appeal, though, and I’m sure it has its fans amongst those who saw it at the time & grew up with it. But it probably won’t connect with anyone watching it for the first time nowadays whereas I think The Warriors continues to gain new fans.

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As the poster says, this was apparently marketed as “a rock & roll fable”. There are a lot of songs in this and I think whether or not you buy into the movie will depend on if you like the music. A lot of the music was by Ry Cooder and I can’t say I remember any of it after a first watch even though it wasn’t long ago that I saw it (except for I Can Dream About You by Dan Hartman since I already knew that song. That was stuck in my head for days afterwards!). The songs by Diane Lane’s band in the film were a bit bland & reminded me of something Meat Loaf might sing. The movie is a very odd mix of the Fifties rock ‘n’ roll thing and the early Eighties style-wise & musically. I’ve never really been a fan of the Fifties rock ‘n’ roll thing so that may be why the movie didn’t work so well for me. Also, I just couldn’t really take the two main male characters seriously when they wore their pants so high. Seriously! This is NOT a good look. Especially whatever the hell Willem Dafoe is wearing here:

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Hilarious! The hot one in the stupid suspenders there is Michael Paré, the film’s hero. I don’t think I’ve seen him in anything else and as I watched this I thought “he’s cute but he’s a pretty damn bad actor – no wonder he wasn’t in anything else”. Then I looked him up on IMDB and he’s been in 126 things & he’s still going strong! What?! What are all these movies Paré has been in? This dude’s career has completely passed me by – I knew of him & that he was in Streets Of Fire but that’s all. Huh. Hopefully his acting improved? I suppose he worked as the sexy but dumb hero that women want to sleep with…

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Diane Lane’s character was a pretty big disappointment, especially just after seeing her in The Fabulous Stains where her character had far more personality & depth. She’s nothing but a pretty “damsel in distress” in Streets Of Fire. Luckily we got two better female characters with Amy Madigan’s soldier who helps Paré to rescue Lane & Deborah Van Valkenburgh, who was also great in The Warriors, as Paré’s sister. I’ve already mentioned Dafoe & his silly pants – it was funny seeing him in this as I didn’t know he was in it (he plays the main bad guy & kidnapper). Rick Moranis was also a surprise as was Elizabeth Daily once again starring with Lane in a slightly bigger role than she had in The Fabulous Stains. Plus we also get Bill Paxton once again looking like a total douche in an Eighties film! I miss good old douchey Bill Paxton from the Eighties. He was more fun than leading role Bill Paxton of later times. He’ll never top his Weird Science role! Remember when he was in that Fish Heads video? Am I going off on one of my tangents again?

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Summary:

I clearly don’t have much to say about this film so I’ll just wrap this up. These are the kind of movies I find most difficult to write about: the “meh” ones. I can get a little passionate when I really love (or hate) a movie but have very little to say when I don’t really care. I know I’d like this a lot more if I’d seen it at the time but, despite it trying for a bit of a Fifties feel, it’s a little too stuck in 1984. Don’t get me wrong – I’ll always like a mediocre film from 1984 a million times more than a mediocre film from today and I did enjoy this a lot more than I’ve made it sound. I just feel bad because I really wanted to like it more than I did. I thought I might be discovering yet another little gem from my favorite era just like The Warriors & The Fabulous Stains. Oh well – two out of three ain’t bad. Hey, that’s a Meat Loaf song!

My Rating: 6.5/10

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The Warriors (1979) Review

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The Warriors (1979)

Directed by Walter Hill

Based on The Warriors by Sol Yurick

Starring: Michael Beck, James Remar, Dorsey Wright, Brian Tyler, David Harris, Tom McKitterick, Thomas G Waites, Terry Michos, Marcelino Sánchez, Deborah Van Valkenburgh, Roger Hill, David Patrick Kelly, Lynne Thigpen, Ginny Ortiz, Mercedes Ruehl, John Snyder, Edward Sewer, Joel Weiss, Paul Greco, Apache Ramos

Running time: 93 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
Cyrus, leader of the biggest gang in New York City (The Gramercy Riffs), calls together representatives from all the gangs in the city in order to call a truce and take over the city together. When Cyrus is shot & killed at the meeting, a gang from Coney Island called The Warriors is falsely accused. The Warriors must then fight their way through the city back to their home turf with every gang now after them for revenge over the death of Cyrus.

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My Opinion:

What’s with all these boy movies I’ve been watching lately? And I’ve just watched Hobo With A Shotgun. I really need a girly movie fix.

Anyway! My good friend Eric of The IPC recently dragged out an old review of his for one of his favorite movies EVER, The Warriors (his review is HERE). I’m old, like Eric, but had never seen it for some reason. So he (and Mr Mojo’s Work) went a bit mental & forced me to watch it Clockwork-Orange-style. But Eric isn’t really one to talk as he’s never even seen This Is Spinal Tap.

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I wasn’t sure about this as Eric likes a lot of dodgy horror movies that frighten me but I’m glad I decided to give it a chance. The Warriors is actually pretty damn great. If I didn’t like it, I promise I wouldn’t lie & would (nicely) say that I didn’t. But I did like it. I’ll also be honest & say there was one picture in his review that convinced me to give it a go:

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THAT is awesome. It made me think of the droogs in A Clockwork Orange. As I watched The Warriors, I annoyed everyone with tweets about it. This is what I said & it really does give you a good idea of what this movie is like:

This is like Beat Street crossed with Michael Jackson’s Beat It crossed with West Side Story crossed with Vanishing Point crossed with A Clockwork Orange crossed with Adventures In Babysitting! (I’ll add Xanadu to that now too, which the guy playing new Warriors leader Swan was also in. Crossed with The Bad News Bears. And especially The Lord Of The Rings). And, apparently, the story in the novel & movie is actually loosely based on some famous Greek story written by one of the students of Socrates! (I shit you not. Anabasis by Xenophon. Thanks, Wikipedia! Read about it – it’s really interesting!)

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I knew of The Warriors & knew what the poster looked like & everything but didn’t know much about it. I know it’s a cult classic but am actually surprised it’s not even more well known than it is. I think it deserves its “cult classic” status – it’s actually quite iconic (Especially the very beginning of the film when all the different gangs are gathered together & they all have their own unique look. GREAT opening – the best bit of the entire movie). It’s also a simple story yet, at the same time, a rather epic “journey through enemy territory” story (remember – it’s an ancient Greek tale). I’m not being too kind to it – I honestly think it deserves more credit than it probably gets.

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The Warriors is much better than I was expecting but it’s still not perfect. While I think it really does have moments of greatness, it does have weak moments as well. The beginning is fantastic as are some of the later run-ins with various gangs. But I think the film kind of peters out at the end, which was a little disappointing after such a great start. It just kind of seemed like an abrupt ending after the “long & difficult journey through the night”. However, I liked the sharp contrast between the ending & the rest of the film (night/day & very different surroundings). I suppose it was symbolic or something. Of… Whatever. I don’t know. It’s Greek! I also loved the final Joe Walsh song – I haven’t heard that in over 20 years!

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This is one of those films that I actually wish was longer. I’d love to have seen more gangs from the opening scene make an appearance later in the film. A run-in with these guys would have been great! (Hi-Hats, I looked it up):

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At least we get a battle with those cool ass baseball dudes (Baseball Furies) and a gang dressed like Dexy’s Midnight Runners with a leader on roller skates (Punks). We even have some girls! (The Lizzies). There are others but these are the ones I thought were the coolest. And, of course, we can’t forget our heroes – The Warriors.

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Then of course there’s the biggest & scariest gang, The Riffs, who are rather pissed off over the murder of their leader. Most the gangs in this actually come across as quite wussy but I would NOT want to piss these guys off:

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Finally we have the main rival gang, The Rogues, who are responsible for the death of Cyrus & the ones who framed The Warriors (that’s not a spoiler, you know that at the start). The main bad guy is a bit Spicoli in Fast Times At Ridgemont High with a really annoying voice. And he’s a total wuss:

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Summary:

The Warriors is worthy of its status as a cult classic. It has some very iconic moments and the deceptively simple storyline of a journey through enemy territory (it’s an Ancient Greek tale!). I’m glad I finally got around to watching it 34 years after its release.

My Rating: 9/10

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