Starting your movie by flashing the words, A Rock & Roll Fable" on the screen and ending with the epic bombast of "Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young" are just two of the many attention-getting touches that elevate Streets of Fire (Walter Hill's phenomenal ode to music and machismo) beyond the realm of store-bought vapidity. Played extremely straight at times, this potentially hokey tale about a trench coat-wearing tough guy who fights for love and money has just the right amount of sincerity to it, that it avoids being a parody at every turn. Filled with neon signs, rain soaked girders, forthright loners and lots of leather, the world Mr. Hill is wallowing in is sort of similar to the one he orchestrated in The Warriors in that there's a kind of dreamlike unreality permeating the proceedings. However, the raucous period piece, that takes place during a nonspecific mishmash of the 1950s and the 1980s, is quite different. For starters, the gang in this film is just one guy. Sure, he employs others to complete the task at hand, but the way he man handled those Roadmaster wimps proves that he doesn't need help from anyone, as it was a thing of ass kicking beauty. (I would wager that at least two of those chumps died of embarrassment during their long slunks home.) And secondly, the soundtrack makes its presence felt from start to finish. From the boisterous crowd pleasers that bookend the film to sweaty biker rock of the Torchy's sequence, the music drives the simplistic narrative hard and fast in the general direction of its righteous conclusion.
The disaffected Tom Cody (Michael Paré) is called upon to retrieve Ellen Aim (Diane Lane), his rock star ex-girlfriend, at the request of his wide-eyed sister Reva (Deborah Van Valkenburgh) after she is kidnapped by Raven (Willem Dafoe), the leader of the
Blasters Bombers, a gang of unruly motorcycle enthusiasts. Even though he's proven that he can handle himself in almost any situation, Tom brings along Billy Fish (Rick Moranis), Ellen's manager, who knows the neighbourhood, and the equally disaffected McCoy (Amy Manigan) as backup.
On top of being fraught with danger (the bikers are renowned for their unpleasantness), their rescue mission will include run ins with The Sorels (a singing group lead by Stoney Jackson), police roadblocks, and adorable groupies (E.G. Daily plays a hanger-on named Baby Doll). Of course, none of the people I just mentioned get along with one another, which leads lots of bickering, humourous put-downs and male posturing.
A colossal slab of uninhibited manliness, Michael Paré's Tom Cody ("Pleased to meet you") is one of the most straightforward, no-nonsense anti-heroes in cinematic history. My pussy seemed to get wetter than a Cambodian toilet every time he would annoyingly turn around to utter uncomplicated verbiage at someone who dared to interrupt his rigorous brooding regiment. In other words, his tough guy act is the stuff erotic dreams are made of. I mean, to be rescued by such an unabashedly masculine figure must have been tantamount to titillation torture to those who saw it during their developmental stage.
Viewed from an expandable penis point of view, the exuberant dancing of Marine Jahan at Torchy's was the definite highlight from a heterosexual male angle. Actually, I think almost everyone, no matter what the shape of your equipment, can appreciate what Miss Jahan brought to Streets of Fire, as the wildly physical dancer swayed and thrust the air like a deranged humping machine.
The sheer villainy of Willem Dafoe as Raven was a menacing tour de force. (Mmmm, leather overalls... and the prerequisite back acne that comes with them.) And the fight between Tom Cody and Raven with those axe/hammer things was topnotch in terms of brute strength and unflashy swinging. The weapon itself was rather frightening. I wouldn't want to be struck by it that's for sure.
To be honest, I don't exactly know what perverted subgroup this particular section is geared towards. But I know for a fact that people who have a rational proclivity for women in fingerless gloves will go nuts for the amount of fingerless-ness that goes on in this flick. This tight-knit cabal who love it when fingers poke through gloves that are purposely missing the material of the glove where the fingers normally go will get to see Diane Lane, Marine Jahan and E.G. Daily all appear in a state of being completely fingerless at one time or another.
All bring the digit-based sexy, but if I had to give the sexy edge to someone, it would have to be Miss Lane. The way the light hit her fingers as she mouthed the words to "Nowhere Fast" in those long leather babies was quite the ethereal sight.
I think that covers everything. Let me see: Michael Paré creates the kind of moisture that your house plants have no use for, Willem Dafoe is an asshole, but looked cool in shiny overalls, Marine Jahan proves that you don't need long hair and large chest melons to be sexy. Fingerless gloves. What else? Oh yeah, I thought E.G. Daily's character could have been fleshed out a bit more. But then again, her Baby Doll technically should have kicked to the curb the moment Rick Moranis told her to scram. And you know what they say, a little E.G. is better than no E.G.