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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Streets of Fire [Blu-ray]

 

(Walter Hill, 1984)

 

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Universal Pictures / RKO Pictures

Video: Second Sight / Koch Media / Shout! Factory (2 BDs Collector's Edition)

 

Disc:

Region: 'B'  / Region FREE / Region 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:33:47.747  / 1:33:50.625 / 1:34:03.304

Disc Size: 46,130,429,314 bytes  / 42,072,824,688 bytes / 31,493,518,015 bytes

Feature Size: 28,220,780,544 bytes  / 21,743,222,784 bytes / 31,247,333,376 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.90 Mbps  / 24.96 Mbps / 35.00 Mbps

Chapters: 17  / 12 / 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray cases (Shout! Factory has cardboard slipcase)

Release date: November 18th, 2013  / November 8th, 2013 / May 16th, 2017

 

Video (all three):

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2478 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2478 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2253 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2253 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

DUB:

DTS-HD Master Audio German 1790 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1790 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

DTS-HD Master Audio English 4707 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4707 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2114 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2114 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None  / German, English, none / English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

Rumble on the Lot (1:19:07)
Original Electronic Press Kit (23:54)
Music Videos (Tonight is What it Means to be YoungI Can Dream About You) - 8:40

 

• Making of (8:23 - English with German subtitles)
• Rumble on the Lot (1:19:07)
• Music Videos (Tonight is What it Means to Be Young, I Can Dream About You, Nowhere Fast)
• German Trailer (2:20)
• Original Trailer (2:22)
• Gallery

 

NEW SHOTGUNS & SIX STRINGS: The Making of A Rock N Roll Fable- a feature-length documentary featuring interviews with director/co-writer Walter Hill, producer Lawrence Gordon, actors Michael Pare, Deborah Van Valkenburgh, Richard Lawson, Elizabeth Daily, Lee Ving, screenwriter Larry Gross, editor Freeman Davies, associate producer Mae Woods, art director James Allen, costume designer Marilyn Vance, assistant director David Sosna, Choreographer Jeffrey Hornaday, editor Richard Anderson, music producer Kenny Vance and many more… (1:40:23)
• RUMBLE ON THE LOT: Walter Hill’s Streets of Fire Revisited - a feature-length documentary featuring interviews with director/co-writer Walter Hill, actor Michael Pare, Amy Madigan and art director James Allen (1:22:29)
• Vintage Featurettes: Rock and Roll Fable, Exaggerated Realism, Choreographing The Crowd, Creating the Costumes, From the Ground Up (10:43)
• Music Videos (Tonight is What it Means to be Young, I Can Dream About You) (8:36)
• Theatrical Trailer (2:22)
• On Air Promos (13:13)
• Still Gallery (10:22)

 

Bitrate:

 

1) Second Sight - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Description: Walter Hill's classic, highly stylized rock & roll fable has gained a huge cult following since its original 1984 release and with its backdrop of rain-drenched, neon-lit streets is one of the most visually iconic films of the decade.

Big time rock singer Ellen Aim is playing her hometown when she is grabbed from the stage by local bike gang The Bombers, led by the menacing Raven. Tom Cody, a tough ex-soldier and Ellen's ex-boyfriend returns home to get her back and he's ready to take on the whole gang.

 

 

The Film:

Gotta love Walter Hill [The Warriors (1979), The Driver (1978), Hard Times (1975) etc.]. Brilliant and pure genre-homage cheese with many obvious imitations... but he pulls it of so very well! 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, aura 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).

Gary Tooze

Continuing his love affair with movies that go bang in the night, Hill here gives us a futuristic rock fantasy which is, at heart, a Western. An itinerant soldier (Paré) returns to his home to discover that his former girlfriend, the local girl who's made it big in the rockbiz (Lane), has been kidnapped by a villainous street-gang. Cue for fisticuffs and fireworks as Paré, aided by a tough-talking female sidekick (Madigan), hikes over to the bad part of town and unlocks Ms Lane from the bed to which she's been handcuffed. Result? Showdown. Streets of Fire is fast and loud, with music from Ry Cooder and, perhaps misguidedly, Jim Steinman; it is also violent, though its violence lies not in the depiction of blood and entrails, but in the sheer energy and speed with which the dark and brooding images rush after one another. The message is that there is no message; if this isn't action cinema in its purest form, then it's pretty close.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Streets of Fire gets an impressive transfer to Blu-ray from Second Sight.  It's dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate. There is grain texture, colors are authentic, detail modest but depth is a few scenes. The 1080P supports solid contrast and seems a fine representation of the original - in the 1.85:1 frame. This has to be one of the very last HD-DVD releases to finally make it to Blu-ray. This is clean and the transfer has no noise or other weaknesses that deterred my viewing.

 

 

I picked this up - I love this film's energy - and the Koch's seems to compare well with the Second Sight - technically very similar but perhaps a shade of EE (although the style of the film has a lot of back-lit sequences - see subtitle sample). It looks quite good in-motion - not dissimilar to the UK release. The biggest attribute is that it region FREE!

 

Surprising differences in the Shout! Factory that is advertised as being a "2K scan of the inter-positive". This package has two Blu-ray discs with the first solely devoted to the feature film (the second is the extras.) I would have thought heavy grain suited Streets of Fire perfectly, but this texture is a shade less consistent. I still like it, though. Skin tones warm and we have the perception of greater detail and depth in the 1.85:1 AR. There also appears to be some slight warping or other movement within the frame in some compared captures (I don't know which transfer is the culprit.) Nothing looks fatally poor but some may find the grain either excessive or less natural. I suspect most will appreciate the visuals' richer colors. In-motion it was very smooth with the highest bitrate of the three Blu-rays compared.  

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Samples

 

1) Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Second Sight - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Second Sight - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Second Sight - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Second Sight - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Second Sight - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Captures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The linear PCM 2.0 channel at 1536 kbps may be authentic but I loved indulging in the DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround bump at 2478 kbps. Not so much for the separations - a few exist - but for the depth for the musical numbers - which are fabulous. Approaching demo stuff here when you have some friends over. Diane Lane as Ellen Aim is scorching-ly hot when she performs on stage. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

Again the 5.1 DTS-HD Master surround option (there is a German DUB) is satisfying with a few modestly separated effects and the wonderful music. Koch include optional English and German subtitles and the disc is, gratifyingly, region FREE - also starting with the Universal logo.

 

Streets of Fire is so much about the music and Shout! Factory win in the audio department with the most robust audio options in lossless DTS-HD Master tracks in 5.1 surround or, the option of, 2.0 - both at 24-bit. Guitar, and drum depth sound wonderfully deep and the effects carry separations. This is easily the best way to hear the film's amazing sound. Ry Cooder's signature here is so impressive but the highlights are 'Nowhere Fast' performed by Fire Inc., "One Bad Stud" performed by The Blasters and Dan Hartman's I Can Dream About You by Winston Ford. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and the two Blu-ray discs are region 'A'-locked. 

 

Extras :

We get another of Robert Fischer's Fiction Factory documentaries - Rumble on the Lot - Walter Hill's Streets of Fire Revisited is an 80-minute making-of including brand-new interviews with director Walter Hill, stars Michael Paré and Amy Madigan, and art director James Allen. There is also a pretty interesting vintage 23-minute Original Electronic Press Kit video piece with behind-the-scenes footage and also available are two music videos (Tonight is What it Means to be Young, I Can Dream About You). Great job Second Sight.

 

Koch include Robert Fischer's Fiction Factory documentary - Rumble on the Lot - Walter Hill's Streets of Fire Revisited (see above description) We lose the 'Original Electronic Press Kit' video piece but gain a 3rd music video (Tonight is What it Means to be Young, I Can Dream About You) with Nowhere Fast plus trailers and a gallery.

 

Shout! Factory add a second Blu-ray loaded (4+ hours) with supplements including the 1-hour 40-minute, new documentary, SHOTGUNS & SIX STRINGS: The Making of A Rock N Roll Fable featuring interviews with director/co-writer Walter Hill, producer Lawrence Gordon, actors Michael Pare, Deborah Van Valkenburgh, Richard Lawson, Elizabeth Daily, Lee Ving, screenwriter Larry Gross, editor Freeman Davies, associate producer Mae Woods, art director James Allen, costume designer Marilyn Vance, assistant director David Sosna, Choreographer Jeffrey Hornaday, editor Richard Anderson, music producer Kenny Vance and others. Also included is the same, almost 1.5 hour, Robert Fischer Fiction Factory documentary - Rumble on the Lot - Walter Hill's Streets of Fire Revisited which includes brand-new interviews with director Walter Hill, stars Michael Paré and Amy Madigan, and art director James Allen. There are 11-minutes of vintage featurettes; Rock and Roll Fable, Exaggerated Realism, Choreographing The Crowd, Creating the Costumes, From the Ground Up and the two music videos (Tonight is What it Means to be Young, I Can Dream About You) , a theatrical trailer, 13-minutes of 'On Air' promos and an extensive stills gallery.

 

Second Sight - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray 2

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
God Damn! - how can you not love Streets of Fire. Every time I see it I say "Walter Hill is one of my favorite directors". Not only does this guy have a gifted eye for detail, style out the wazoo but his films run similar themes and expressions of pulp homage.  The Second Sight Blu-ray provides an excellent a/v presentation with a fabulous supplement video piece. This might even go in my top ten of the year. Loved every minute...

 

I'm still huge on this film - adore the opening - one of my favorite in all of film. The Koch is a very similar a/v release to the Second Sight excepting it is region FREE and has the optional English subtitles. On my personal re-watchables shelf. Absolute recommendation!

 

I never seem to get enough of Streets of Fire - especially the energy-loaded opening that I play for almost everyone entering my home - cranked! Even with the perception of bona-fide imperfections, this is still an amazing package for anyone who adores the film. Plenty of value here... this Collector's Edition Blu-ray will get overplayed on my home theatre... and is still strongly recommended!    

Gary Tooze

December 10th, 2013

April 21st, 2016

May 11th, 2017

 

 

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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