Part of Loft Staff Selects, a monthly series showcasing film favorites chosen by our amazing Loft Cinema staff! This month’s film was chosen by JEFF YANC, Program Director!
“There’s nothing wrong with going nowhere, baby, but we should be going nowhere fast!” One of the great gonzo pleasures of the ‘80s, director Walter Hill’s (The Warriors) spectacular, retro rock ‘n’ roll-fueled pulp classic Streets of Fire roars at you like a souped-up roadster with the radio going full blast. Billed (correctly) as a “Rock & Roll Fable,” this defiantly oddball, music-packed action flick stars ‘80s B-movie god Michael Paré (Eddie in Eddie and the Cruisers) as Tom Cody, an enigmatic loner and soldier-for-hire who blows back into town to save rock singer Ellen Aim (Diane Lane) from the clutches of sinister biker Raven Shaddock (Willem Dafoe, sporting black vinyl overalls and one of the wickedest hair-dos in movie history), whose sleazy gang of leather-clad reprobates has kidnapped Ellen for their own evil purposes.
“Intoxicating! It exists purely as pop action cinema, sweeping you up with a fevered enthusiasm and an overpowering desire to entertain, which proves incredibly difficult to resist.” – Adam Lowes, CineVue
Naturally, Tom and Ellen were once a hot item, and even though he’s been hired by Ellen’s weasely manager/boyfriend Billy Fish (Rick Moranis) to get her back, Tom still has pulpy feelings for Ellen, so it’s a safe bet that love is going to complicate things. Gathering together his own ragtag gang of misfits (including Amy Madigan as a tough drifter named McCoy, Elizabeth Daily as a teenybopper music fan named Baby Doll, and a slick doo wop group called The Sorels), Tom’s gotta travel through the most insanely dangerous part of town, rescue his true love, and engage in a brutal sledgehammer showdown with the psychotic Raven. And if there’s a whole lot of killer rock ‘n’ roll along the way, all the better! A highly-stylized, comic book-esque adventure set in a 1950s-by-way-of-the-1980s distant future, Streets of Fire is a giddy homage to the entire history of B-movies, topped off with some of the decade’s most awesomely bombastic rock ‘n’ roll anthems about fiery hearts and rain-soaked streets, performed by rock diva Diane Lane banging her fist in the air. You’d better dig it! (Dir. by Walter Hill, 1984, USA, 93 mins., Rated R)