This movie is every bit as old cheese as this image. Old cheese is good cheese.

Streets of Fire is exactly the kind of movie I set up the Friday Night Netflix feature to talk about. It is a movie that I don’t think anyone else I know has seen. Some call it a guilty pleasure but mostly it’s just a batshit insane artifact of the 80’s, a time when all your bizarro pseudo-scifi concepts are belong to us.

What there is for a plot concerns itself with Tom Cody (Michael Pare, a proto Dean Winchester… I think Jensen Ackles must be a fan of this movie), an Old West style anti-hero with a deep manly voice and a ready trigger-finger. He rolls into town after some time spent as a mercenary and looks to settle scores and reconnect with an old flame (Diane Lane), a nightclub singer who’s shacking up with her weasel for a manager (Rick Moranis for fuck’s sake!). Along the way he hooks up with a tough lesbian named McCoy (Amy Madigan, whom you’ve seen in Carnivale and Gone Baby Gone)because fuck yes. Together, they battle their way through a semi post-apocalyptic city where biker gangs and such reign supreme.

It’s another version of a world director Walter Hill (a trash-cinema treasure, really, who has squeezed out some ludicrously good movies with amazing casts) explored with The Warriors and echoes of that amazing movie reverberate throughout Streets of Fire. This time around, the evil gang is led by a guy named Raven Shaddock. Even if I knew nothing else about this man and even if he was played by some nobody, his name is enough to underscore some of the pulpy awesome that drips from Streets of Fire like that extra pulp OJ you spilled on the counter that one time. Thankfully, since Walter Hill somehow gets the best people for the trashiest shit (even Bill Paxton is in this fucking movie), we get a Raven Shaddock like this:

Before Max Schrek there was Raven Shaddock! That’s right! Willem Dafoe, bitches.

This movie may not be particularly realistic, but it is charming. It may not have Diane Lane naked, but it does have her sing in the cheesiest 80’s style concert ever. And Rick Moranis may not die in it–I can’t remember, maybe he does?–but I will tell you what it does have:

Yes that’s right… a sledgehammer battle.

You wan to watch this movie now. Right now. After that, you should watch other Walter Hill movies because the guy is just bonkers. Extreme Prejudice has Nick Nolte and Powers Boothe squaring off with Michael Ironside and Clancy Brown for extra B-movie tough guy juice. The Warriors has a baseball-bat wielding gang fighting a Native American style gang with baseball bats. 48 Hours is what made Eddie Murphy good before he went bad. Last Man Standing is the best remake of Yojimbo you never saw.  He made Undisputed. He directed episodes of Deadwood. The man is a God.

But first, watch fucking Streets of Fire because it’s awesome and it’s on Netflix. Watch it on your X-box. Watch it on your computer. Watch it on your iPhone.

I am currently watching it on my iPhone!

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