Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Second Sighted: STREETS OF FIRE on Blu-ray ""

Friday, October 25, 2013

Second Sighted: STREETS OF FIRE on Blu-ray

"The Queen of the Hop is kidnapped by the Leader of the Pack and Soldier Boy comes home to do something about it."
-Walter Hill, summarizing STREETS OF FIRE
Every so often a movie comes along that is such a unique pastiche of disparate elements that it stands out among the rest. Movies like this often don't do amazingly well at the box office, but tend to take on a life of their own in the decades following their release. Some such films have such a stylish, crazy, dreamy quality about them that one might perhaps thought they imagined their very existence if they weren't reminded by the fact that so many others saw that same special film and had to tell people about it. It is films like these that often see the director and cast recounting years later that they had no idea they'd still be talking about said movie 30 years later(in a good way). STREETS OF FIRE is one of those films.
Rocker Ellen Aim(Diane Lane - looking as gorgeous as perhaps any woman has looked EVER) is kidnapped by a gang of biker thugs led by Willem Dafoe. A mercenary soldier(Michael Pare) who is also her ex-boyfriend cones back home to get her back. It's a pretty simple story, but then again, Walter Hill has always been fond of simple stories. What he 'a good at is stripping them down and making them stylish as hell. And STREETS OF FIRE is certainly one of his most stylish films ever. It exists, as the film's foreword suggests in "Another Place, Another Time". That alternate dimension is a mix of 50s rockabilly, film noir, western, and colorful future cityscape. Oh and it's kind of a musical in parts as well. Sound like anything you've seen before? No? Because you haven't. There really aren't any other movies like STREETS OF FIRE and that's part of its charm. Sure you could maybe draw some 'retro-future' aesthetic parallels between STREETS OF FIRE's neon soaked urban milleu and that of say BLADE RUNNER's, but the two films couldn't be more different in many ways. STREETS OF FIRE is just a rollicking action flick existing in its uniquely odd and singular universe.
There are several factors that can influence a movie's cult status. Being unlike other films out there is one thing. Another part of cult appeal can come from a movie's cast. Besides the aforementioned Pare, Lane and Dafoe, STREETS OF FIRE has a pretty mind blowing roll call. Amy Madigan(who I've loved since seeing her in UNCLE BUCK) and Deborah Van Valkenburgh(of THE WARRIORS) have pretty sizeable roles. Beyond that, Rick Moranis, Bill Paxton and Lee Ving all make pretty significant showings as well. As far as the backup roster, it includes such familiar faces as: Rick Rossovich, Robert Townsend, Mykelti Williamson, Ed Begley Jr., and E.G. Daily. It is such an amazing parade of outstanding actors, that one film can barely contain them all.
The final component of STREETS OF FIRE's cult appeal is its music. Billed as a "Rock N Roll Fable", the movie has a fantastic soundtrack that really drives the film forward in a significant way. Right out of the gate, STREETS OF FIRE kicks off with an amazing musical number as Ellen Aim and the Attackers perform the very memorable song "Nowhere Fast". It really is one of the greatest musical openings to a film ever. I put it right up there with the opening "Let's Go Crazy" sequence from PURPLE RAIN. That may sound like faint praise, but I think that sequence is fantastic and jump starts the movie with such an vibrant energy that it is hard not to get caught up in it. Same thing goes for STREETS OF FIRE. "Nowhere Fast" was written and composed by the great Jim Steinman. He worked significantly with Meat Loaf(wrote his Bat Out Of Hell album) and you can hear that in the nature of this song. Steinman is also responsible for such tunes as Bonnie Tyler's "Holding Out For a Hero", and "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and Air Supply's "Making Love Out of Nothing at All". He writes these big almost operatic pop songs and I love them all.
It should also be noted that the film's score is by the great Ry Cooder(a regular Walter Hill collaborator) and it's up there with his best stuff. The music and songs absolutely make a unique movie like this one even better.

STREETS OF FIRE is making its Blu-ray debut with this gorgeous looking Second Sight special edition. Previous to this, I had held onto my HDDVD of STREETS for fear it may never arrive on Blu. In fact, STREETS is one of the reasons I first acquired an HDDVD player to begin with! This Second Sight disc is a lovely sight( no pun) to behold and comes with a few really great extras that I think folks will like:

-'Rumble On The Lot' - an 80 min retrospective documentary featuring interviews with Walter Hill, Michael Pare, Amy Madigan, and Art Director James Allen.
Hill talks about the genesis of the project for him, the casting and the shooting as do Pare and Madigan. This new documentary is mainly comprised of new interviews, but also features some vintage interview footage from the time of the film's release, so we do get to hear from Diane Lane and others. All in all a wonderful, comprehensive piece that will serve fans up a smorgasbord of information about this much beloved film.
-Original Electronic Press Kit
-Music Videos

1 comment:

Greg Wilcox said...

For a movie I don't like much (yet saw something like five times in the theater and many more when it hit cable, so perhaps I secretly do like it after all), I'm glad to see this on Blu-Ray as now I can show it off to folks who think I'm crazy when I describe it.