Streets of Fire (1984) | Tickets

Saturday, March 22 & Sunday, March 23; Noon

1. This movie is rather difficult to define, with most places giving up and calling it something ridiculous like “a rock and roll musical comedy action drama,” which is, sadly, more or less accurate.

2. If the plot for Streets of Fire feels familiar, that’s because the whole “mercenary returns home to rescue his estranged ex-girlfriend from a biker gang” routine was revisited in basically every Double Dragon game.

3. “50’s era swagger mixed with 80’s androgyny and colors” is the only way I feel I can properly categorize the bizarre little world that Streets of Fire occupies. It’s all old cars and greaser gangs, but sexed up in neon and leather pants.

4. The supporting cast in this film is stacked, featuring Rick Moranis, Willem Dafoe, Bill Paxton, Elizabeth Daily (Dottie from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure), Lee Ving (lead singer of L.A. punk group Fear, and Mr. Boddy in Clue), Ed Begley, Jr. as a smelly hobo, and Walter Hill alumni Lynne Thigpen and Deborah Van Valkenburgh who were both in Hill’s The Warriors.

5. The songs in Streets of Fire are an odd batch, mostly with a massive sound and a glitzed-out aesthetic. According to Wikipedia, it’s called “Wagnerian rock,” a genre of music that can’t possibly really exist, can it?

6. Cyberpunk anime Bubblegum Crisis liberally cribs from Streets of Fire‘s Ellen Aim and The Attackers segments for its own big musical sequences that feature the female-led Priss and The Replicants. This is especially clear when you compare Streets of Fire‘s opening number, “Nowhere Fast,” with Bubblegum Crisis‘s “Konya Wa Hurricane.” The only difference, really, is that Streets of Fire doesn’t keep cutting to future police fighting a renegade kill-bot.

Ellen Aim and The Attackers – “Nowhere Fast”

Priss and the Replicants – “Konya Wa Hurricane”

7. Rick Moranis plays quite the loud-mouthed little shit in this movie, and despite boasting a career of mostly lovable dopes, he plays the dick pretty convincingly here. I guess he was pretty unlikable in Parenthood too. Rick Moranis’s best heel roles: go.

8. Streets of Fire’s strongest suit is in its tone more than anything–like Walter Hill’s The Warriors, the film is a far cry from realistic, but the characters here feel pulled out of some half-written pulp novel rather The Warriors’ half-written comic book.

9. What exactly does a Soldier of Fortune do living in America? How many kidnapped women can he possibly save to make a living? It’s not like you can put out classified ads as a hired gun with a coscience

10. Despite closing with a hammer-fight between good and evil, Streets of Fire ends on a oddly anti-climactic note — which is likely because the film uses up its one big explosion moment about half-way through.