- Movie Rating -

Streets of Fire (1984)

| June 1, 1984

Walter Hill’s Streets of Fire opens by confessing that is takes place in another time, another place.  He is a director who knows how to create a visual style and his time and place here are a time warp of images from the 50s mixed with a retro-sensibility from the 80s and cars and motorcycles that seem to come out of the 1940s.  There’s no sin in mixing things up, and indeed I got excited when I realized what the style was going to be.  I was disappointed, however, about halfway through this movie when I realized that his story really had nowhere to go.

The story opens as a rock singer named Ellen (Diane Lane) who is kidnapped right off the stage in front of hundreds of fans by a biker gang in leather jackets led by a dude named Raven (Willem DeFoe).  I had hoped that the story would become maybe a rock musical, or a rock opera.  Maybe the movie would cut the dialogue entirely and just be a musical.  No, the story is just a standard revenge thriller where a girl is kidnapped and her friends, a rebel without a cause named Tom and a rough girl with a haunted past named McCoy will breach the gang’s hideout and bring her back.

That plot in and of itself is not a bad one, but it’s been done to death and when you see the style that Hill is going for it is kind of a let down that his story is so ordinary.  Worse is that Lane is rescued halfway through the movie so the third act really has nowhere to go.  Yet, I had hope.  I hoped that I would see something new, something stylish, something of a musical in a world that looks and feels like an album cover and not just the same ground covered yet again.  This is a great looking movie that is afraid to ride too far off the beaten path.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1984) View IMDB Filed in: Musical