Streets of Fire (Blu-ray) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray B - United Kingdom - Second Sight
Review written by and copyright: Samuel Scott (18th October 2013).
The Film

***This is a technical review only. For reviews on the movie from various critics, we recommend visiting HERE.***

Walter Hill's classic, highly stylized rock & roll fable has gained a huge cult following since its original 1984 release and with its backdrop of rain-drenched, neon-lit streets is one of the most visually iconic films of the decade.

Big time rock singer Ellen Aim is playing her hometown when she is grabbed from the stage by local bike gang The Bombers, led by the menacing Raven. Tom Cody, a tough ex-soldier and Ellen's ex-boyfriend returns home to get her back and he's ready to take on the whole gang.

Video

Independent label Second Sight Films release the cult classic Streets of Fire in the United Kingdom in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The transfer is 1080p and uses an AVC MPEG-4 codec. Although it is not without problems, it is a commendable transfer.

Streets of Fire has always been a grainy movie by choice of Walter Hill, and one problem that has come from the Blu-ray market of catalogue releases, is sometimes the prints are cleaned up to much via a digital noise reduction process, resulting in a waxy feel to the transfer. Thankfully, Second Sight have avoided this, and although some scenes do seem overly noisy (particularly in the first 20 minutes), the overall feel is very natural. Details are generally pretty good, especially on close-ups, though some distant and shadow details are slightly lacking. Blacks are good, though some minor crushing rears its head on occasion, and skin tones look absolutely perfect. There are some artifacts every now and again, but not to a degree of being problematic. Judging by previous incarnations of Streets of Fire on home media, the source material has never been in the greatest of shape, and although the transfer here is far from being reference material, I have no problem in suggesting that fans will be pleased with the outcome.

The disc is region B locked and the feature runs 93:48.

Audio

There are two audio options available here:
- English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- English LPCM 2.0 Stereo

The LPCM track plays by default and the audio options can unfortunately not be changed via remote - instead only by going to the set-up menu. I opted for the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 upmix and was left very impressed with what I heard. The score is wonderfully recreated, making full use of the surrounds for the instruments and crowd noise from the clubs. For the most part, it is front heavy, but separation and directionality could not have been better. Gunshots and explosions kick the LFE into shape, and the track features great clarity overall. Dialogue is clear at all times, and the track is clean, with no noticeable damage such as dropouts or scratches.

No subtitles have been included - something which is always a shocking decision considering the 7 million deaf or hard of hearing people that reside in the UK.

Extras

The main extra is the "Rumble on the Lot" documentary (HD):
- Play All (79:05)
- "Introduction and Main Credits" (3:10)
- "A Voyage of Discovery" (4:49)
- "Soldier Boy" (4:26)
- "The Queen of the Hop" (3:23)
- "The Leader of the Pack" (2:54)
- "The Sidekick" (5:12)
- "The Battery" (15:28)
- "The Richmond" (13:01)
- "The Fights" (7:44)
- "The Music" (11:58)
- "Heroes Don't Cry" (6:56)
Commissioned by Second Sight, this is a high quality and very in-depth piece that makes the disc worth buying on its own merits. It's well presented with a play all option, or the ability to select each section individually, and features a wealth of interviews, both new and archive, about every aspect possible. We learn various reasoning behind certain choices, including the violent tones and how the final fight was changed to make the hero more likable. Hill talks about how the combination of music and action can only bear a certain amount of violence, so he had to find the right balance, reducing the amount of violence originally intended. Seemingly, they also hired real Hell's Angels in minor biker gang roles at the end of the movie. This documentary is full of fascinating tidbits and is an easy, relaxing viewing.

Next up, the "Original Press Kit" (SD):
- Play All (23:53)
- "Rock and Roll Fable" (2:02)
- "Exaggerated Realism" (2:10)
- "Choreographing the Crowd" (2:15)
- "Creating the Costumes" (2:09)
- "From the Ground Up" (2:02)
- "Personality Profile" (2:20)
- "Featurette" (7:28)
- Teaser Trailer (2:19)
- 3 x On Air Promos (0:31, 0:22, 0:12)
There is a lot of repeated info here from the main documentary, but this is certainly a welcome addition to the extras package. These extras are all in standard definition, and have certainly seen better days, but they are superior to the MTV-style back slapping rubbish we get these days. The participants are quite open, including when talking about not allowing Diane Lane to sing her musical numbers, having her lip sync instead. We also learn that at the time, it was the worlds biggest closed set, taking up six blocks.

We finish with a couple of music videos (SD):
- "Tonight Is What It Means to be Young" (4:36)
- "I Can Dream About You" (4:03)
They are songs from the movie, enjoyable but rather dated.

Overall

Not Walter Hill's best known, but a lot of fun. This is easily the best I have ever seen Streets of Fire look or sound and the extras package is excellent. Second Sight continue to show their authority as an independent distributor to be reckoned with.

The Film: B+ Video: B- Audio: A- Extras: B+ Overall: B+

 


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