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UHD Review A Few Words About A few words about...™ - Streets of Fire -- in 4k UHD (1 Viewer)

Robert Harris

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Walter Hill's Streets of Fire (Universal - 1984) is an odd film. The titles squarely announce that it's a Rock and Roll Fable, and in these terms it works nicely.

The film originally received mixed reviews, and my perception is that some reviewers didn't quite know what to make of it.

In the intervening four decades, the film has become a minor classic, and has gathered a nice fanbase for itself. I'm one of them.

If you take even a cursory look at those involved, you know this is going to be something visceral, stylistic and well-produced.

Beyond Mr. Hill, who has produced, written or directed numerous superb films in a 60 year career, you've got Joel Silver and Lawrence Gordon.

Behind the camera - and filling Streets of Fire with smoke, fog, steam other gorgeous attributes is Andrew Lazlo.

Michael Paré leads a superbly eclectic cast. The film was apparently to be the first of a series involving his character. If you aren't aware of his work, best to look him up. He's still one of the busiest people around in the industry.

If this were to be a rock and roll bio-pic, it probably would have been entitled "Ellen Aim & the Sorels."

Had they actually existed, the Sorels might have been right up there with ...and the Pips.

Ellen Aim is played by Diane Lane, a superb actress, who Anne Coates noted was "the finest actor I've ever had the pleasure of cutting." And before questions begin, the reference was to Ms. Lane's apparent ability to make the same moves again and again, take after take, making editing easier, as opposed to trying to match different positions in different takes.

The back-up group, the Sorels, is also hardly made up of minor actors. They're played by Robert Townsend, Mykelti Williamson, Grand Bush and Stoney Jackson. Don't know some them. Look them up.

The antagonist is played by Willem Dafoe, in an oddball and slightly wacky performance.

A stand-out, for me, has always been Amy Madigan, playing a self-assured ex-military butch-type in a femme shell, who makes it known to Paré, that he's "not her type."

But that seems to be the overriding texture of the film. It's seems to be set sometime in the 1950s, where the Studebaker is the car of choice, and the inner city world appears akin to a ratty, worn place teeming with Bladerunner-like inhabitants.

When I saw the film theatrically decades ago, I thought the dialogue was some of the worst written I'd encountered, but now find fitting to the overall fantasy world in which the characters exist.

As a disc, Streets of Fire has had an odd life. I had the DVD in my library for years, and when I tried to upgrade to Blu-ray, the Shout version was out of print, and going for stupid numbers on eBay.

While I finally acquired a copy, it has now be supplanted by the new 4k, derived from a totally different (new) 4k master. While the old Blu-ray was split into two discs, with the second disc containing the extras, the new 4k is a 3-disc set - 4k, Blu-ray, extras, and like the earlier Blu-ray is part of the Shout Select library.

I've noted in the past that Shout Select, the company's premier brand is right up there when it comes to quality and extras with the presumed kings of the hill, Criterion and Arrow.

As to quality, Universal's new 4k is perfect. A film-like image with light to moderate grain, perfectly clean, and with both shadow details and black levels that show off Mr. Laszlo's gorgeous cinematography, which has more smoke and wet streets than most other films in memory.

A beautiful presentation.

Dolby Atmos raises the overall level of audio to include a more immersive experience.


Image – 5 (Dolby Vision)

Audio – 5 (Dolby Atmos)

Pass / Fail – Pass

Plays nicely with projectors - Yes

Makes use of and works well in 4k - 4

Upgrade from Blu-ray - Absolutely!

Recommended

RAH


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JoshZ

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When I was in film school in the early 1990s, Andrew Laszlo gave a lecture to my cinematography class. He had a bunch of fun stories about this production and its infamous "million dollar tarp." Turns out that draping a giant tarpauline over the entire Universal backlot in order to shoot day-for-night becomes kind of a problem when pigeons roost on it, or it rains.

He was proud of his work on this movie, and disappointed that it didn't find an audience during its original release.
 

Robert Crawford

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I first watched this movie during its theatrical release. I always enjoyed it and will probably watch my 4K/UHD once I get my new receiver setup and calibrated this week.
 

Capt D McMars

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I've not seen this ine but was a big fan of both of the Eddie and the Cursers movies and of course Warriors. Thanks for the info, I'll pick this one up too. A weird and wonderful cast, Rick Moranis...?
Thanks for the writeup - just saw this review and thought others might enjoy it as well, enjoy!!
 

madfloyd

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I've never seen this one either - and I have no idea why. But I really like Diane Lane so I've just ordered it.
 

sbjork

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When I was in film school in the early 1990s, Andrew Laszlo gave a lecture to my cinematography class. He had a bunch of fun stories about this production and its infamous "million dollar tarp." Turns out that draping a giant tarpauline over the entire Universal backlot in order to shoot day-for-night becomes kind of a problem when pigeons roost on it, or it rains.

He was proud of his work on this movie, and disappointed that it didn't find an audience during its original release.
Jealous. Since I couldn't find any real details about the cinematography online, and Laszlo is no longer with us, I tried to reach out to Hill via his rep, and eventually got the response that "Walter is passing on this." Never hurts to try.

I've been told that he's a bit curmudgeonly in regards to talking about Streets of Fire after a bad experience with a previous release.
 

sbjork

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Just to remind you. I can't wait to watch that song sequence in Dolby Atmos.


Interestingly enough, the one piece of music that really sings in Atmos is Ry Cooder's piece during the opening credits. Watch for the moment when the percussion does a sort of a solo right as Michael Pare's name pops up. Each individual drum is much clearer and better defined in Atmos than on either the matrixed 2.0 or discrete 4.1 tracks, with a better stereo spread as well. You can actually hear the tone of the skins in Atmos, while the details are a little vaguer in the other two.

The surrounds are actually quieter in some scenes of the Atmos version than they are in the 2.0 or 4.1, so some people will prefer those instead. But the nice thing is that they're all present to let people choose for themselves. Taken as a whole, I prefer the Atmos. The overheads don't get much of a workout (although those elevated trains do pass over), but the split surrounds really make a difference.
 

Robert Crawford

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I first watched this movie during its theatrical release. I always enjoyed it and will probably watch my 4K/UHD once I get my new receiver setup and calibrated this week.
This afternoon, I watched the 4K/UHD in its entirety. Another 4K release in which I was more impressed by the Atmos presentation than the Dolby Vision video presentation. This is not to say the video presentation wasn't good, but I really enjoyed the sound of motorcycles, explosions, trains and the music with this Atmos track.
 

titch

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This afternoon, I watched the 4K/UHD in its entirety. Another 4K release in which I was more impressed by the Atmos presentation than the Dolby Vision video presentation. This is not to say the video presentation wasn't good, but I really enjoyed the sound of motorcycles, explosions, trains and the music with this Atmos track.
I am curious as to how you have set up your Atmos speakers: do you have them installed in your ceiling, or do you have Atmos speakers positioned on your stereo speakers and reflect the sound off the ceiling?
 

Robert Crawford

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I am curious as to how you have set up your Atmos speakers: do you have them installed in your ceiling, or do you have Atmos speakers positioned on your stereo speakers and reflect the sound off the ceiling?
I rent my condo so I can't do any ceiling installations. However, my ceilings are low, so my Klipsch Atmos speakers on top of my two main speakers for the front and on top of my two back surround speakers work very well in a room that has simple acoustics.
 

Robert Crawford

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One more thing I remembered while watching Streets of Fire 4K disc. The female dancer featured at Torchie's is the same person that doubled for Jennifer Beals in "Flashdance". She did most of the intricate dance moves in place of Beal. Furthermore, Lee Ving also appeared in both films.
 

sbjork

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One more thing I remembered while watching Streets of Fire 4K disc. The female dancer featured at Torchie's is the same person that doubled for Jennifer Beals in "Flashdance". She did most of the intricate dance moves in place of Beal. Furthermore, Lee Ving also appeared in both films.
Marine Jahan.

Flashdance was also Ving's first acting role in a feature film. He had done a voice in American Pop previously, but that was it. These days, I think that he's better remembered as an actor than he is as a punk rocker, but I suppose that it all depends on what kind of circles that you inhabit.
 

Christian D66

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I think Harlan Ellison's fair disappointed review sums up everything wrong with the MTV bent of SOF and a few things right, like Amy Madigan.
 

sbjork

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Meme Reaction GIF by Travis
 

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