After years of just being available on DVD and Blu-Ray in other countries and regions, Shout Factory comes to the rescue to deliver fans a deluxe edition of one of the most underrated action films ever made. Something of a spiritual sequel to Walter Hill’s “The Warriors,” director Hill sets his latest gang land picture in an undisclosed period between the 20’s and 40’s in what is apparently New York. Sadly, Hill intended the film to be the first of a trilogy, but while we never got that wish, “Streets of Fire” still manages to be a single adventure rich in character and pulp appeal. Starring the incredible beautiful Diane Lane, and the fantastic Michael Pare, “Streets of Fire” is a rock and roll musical, romance, gangster, action, adventure. It has everything for mostly everyone and it gets better with every viewing.
Back then hippies must have seemed like dirty go nowhere weirdos prone to smoking pot and having a lot of wild sex; because, well, they kind of were. But they were also prone to being the predators and sometimes prey for much of the seventies and early eighties horror and exploitation cinema. “Bad, Bad, Gang!” is a pretty solid porn film right out of the summer of love where bikers and goofy hippies clash to engage in a free for all of sex and rape.
Henri Charr’s “Cellblock Sisters: Banished Behind Bars” (aka “Banished Behind Bars”) is one of the most nineties straight to video movies ever released. It’s a rip off of “Bad Boys” that pits nothing but gorgeous blond women against one another in a women’s prison and forces them to fight it out for control and petty grudges. Henri Charr’s crime thriller is surprisingly convoluted, but one that also gets a free pass for being one of the last of its kind before the early aughts indie resurgence of women in prison films. As children April and May were sold off by their drug addicted stepfather Sam, to strangers in exchange for drug money.
It’s difficult to explain “Streets of Fire” to anyone and make it sound coherent. Walter Hill’s action film has just about everything, and ends up creating one of the most vivid and exciting amalgams of genres and themes I’ve ever seen. “Streets of Fire” is a film you just have to sit down, shut up, and experience. It’s a post depression, mid-fifties, action, crime thriller and romance noir with a rock and roll and soul beat. See? I can’t sum this movie up in one whole sentence, and I’m not going to try to. I’m ashamed I took so many years getting around to watching “Streets of Fire,” but goddamn I’m very glad that I did.