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Streets of Fire [Blu-ray]
(Walter Hill, 1984)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Universal Pictures / RKO Pictures
Region: 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 46,130,429,314 bytes
Feature Size: 28,220,780,544 bytes
Video Bitrate: 33.90 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: November 18th, 2013
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
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)
•Rumble on the Lot (1:19:07)
• Original Electronic Press Kit (23:54)
• Music Videos (Tonight is What it Means to be Young, I Can Dream About You) - 8:40
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.
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).
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.
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.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
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. Ry Cooder's signature here is 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. 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.
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.
December 10th, 2013
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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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