Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Michael Paré, Diane Lane, Rick Moranis, Amy Madigan, Willem Dafoe, Deborah Van Valkenburg, Richard Lawson, Rick Rossovich, Bill Paxton, Lee Ving, Stoney Jackson, Grand L. Bush, Robert Townsend, Mykelti Williamson, Elizabeth Daily
Written by: Walter Hill, Larry Gross
Directed by: Walter Hill
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 93
Date: 06/01/1984
IMDB

Streets of Fire (1984)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Blue Shadows

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

After the success of 48 Hrs., filmmaker Walter Hill chose to make this strange, terrific "Rock 'n' roll fable," set in "another time, another place." Located in the shadowy world beneath the elevated trains and colored in neons, it's sort of a hybrid of 1950s and 1980s styles, giving it a deliberately non-realistic style (it's like Coppola's One from the Heart but with more fighting).

Michael Paré stars as the stoic hero, Tom Cody, back from military service, looking shaggy and burned-out; he crashes with his sister (Deborah Van Valkenburgh). A group of thugs led by Raven Shaddock (Willem Dafoe) kidnaps a hot singer Ellen Aim (Diane Lane, her singing voice dubbed by others), for no particular reason. Ellen's manager and new boyfriend, Billy Fish (Rick Moranis), hires Cody to help get her back, not knowing that Cody and Ellen have a sexy history. A tomboyish ex-military mechanic, McCoy (Amy Madigan), helps. Along the way, a pop group called The Sorels (one of their members is Robert Townsend, who went on to become a filmmaker himself) also joins in; they wound up with the movie's biggest hit, "I Can Dream About You" (sung by Dan Hartman).

The daring rescue involves lots of arguing and blowing things up, which is then followed by a big rumble. But it's the movie's atmosphere that makes it something special. It really feels like a bizarre cult film from another dimension, cobbled together from bits of other movies and music videos to make a unique collage. The soundtrack is a bit dated, but the songs work perfectly in this world, especially "Tonight Is What It Means to Be Young." We're dancing for the restless and the brokenhearted, indeed.

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