Review by Gary W. Tooze
Audio: English Dolby Digital Plus 5.1, DUB: French Dolby Digital Plus 2.0
Subtitles: English (SDH), French, none
Released: July 24th, 2007
Gotta love Walter Hill [The Warriors (1979), The Driver (1978), Hard Times (1975) etc.]. Pure cheese with many obvious imitations... but he pulls it of so very well. If he started working a bit later he would be the definitive MTV video producer with his fast cuts and superficial intent. Streets of Fire is a western style 'rock and roll fable' complete with good and bad, a healthy dose of machismo calm and pure action in its most corruptibly passable edited form. Supposedly a 'futuristic' tale - it looks a lot like the 50's and the cast is a stable of brooding stars of varying future fame - including Michael Paré, Diane Lane, Rick Moranis, Amy Madigan, Bill Paxton, Marine Jahan (the actual dancer in Flashdance) and a young Willem Dafoe looking as pale and scary as ever. Dafoe's character Raven Shaddock, purposely marches around in a pair of black vinyl overalls with high Wellington-style boots appearing like some sort of Friday the 13th fireman - no explanations are offered for his garb... nor any expected.
Hill's intentionally grainy cult-style 80's classic never garnered the attention, or following, that I was sure it would. Personally, I loved every obvious minute and the opening is one of my favorite in all of film. Under a lesser hack this would be a total mess but under Hill's helm it resonates pure fun and energy. Yeah we know, we know... but it's not anything more than it professes and that is why I adore it so much. I recall reading somewhere that it has equal parts Damon Runyan and Bruce Springsteen - and truer words were never spoken. Let your hair down and watch (even if its only the first 7 minutes - after that you'll know exactly what you are in for).
Universal is the last company solely putting out HD and they are doing it with a lot less discretion than other studios. Like most Universal HD's this is superior to its SD counterpart but it doesn't reach the heights that the new format promises. The image looks okay - still some digital noise resembling original grain. The film has a low level of lighting and it looks only adequately transferred. Colors (what few are used) are bright and detail is passable. I don't want to be too hard - it's the best rendition of this film available. There are no major flaws.
* HD image derived from a digital camera - depending on the system the actual DVD image will probably look far superior.
Sounded great! I suspect the 5.1 is a boost but in Dolby Digital Plus it has some strong buoyancy. I would say that the audio is better than the image but a lot of that is the soundtrack by Ry Cooder and arranger Jim Steinman.
Optional English, or French subtitles support the
None aside from Universals 'My Scenes' feature. This is definitely one area that Universal needs to improve - not just equal the existing SD versions - but improve upon them with new supplements.
If you like the film, as I do, then this is an easy purchase. If you are unsure, well its less than $20 but appreciation of the film will be paramount to your dollar value - this is not a demo DVD to impress your friends with your system although the opening 4 minutes might be a cool way to show them your audio.