Movie review: “Streets of Fire” (1984)

Streets of Fire

“I’m not paying you to add any thrills to my life, Cody. That’s not how this works.”

Walter Hill’s Streets of Fire wields its appellation “A Rock & Roll Fable” with a heavy emphasis on “fable” in the mythic or legendary sense of the word, almost as a hedge against having to explain why, despite outward appearances (of, it must be said, unflagging prettiness), it is not populated by recognizable human beings. The “Rock & Roll” part is also important, insofar as the characters in Streets of Fire, a gaggle of ineffectual tough guys, gun molls, and collateral damage otherwise, only ever seem at all comfortable expressing their feelings when either singing, playing, or listening to live music. On that score, I can relate. A gritty, visually arresting street opera minus approximately 60% of the necessary attendant emotion, the movie is yet another flawed yet beloved artifact of my youth that I have struggled to fully embrace as an adult, in large part because its unassuming strengths and glaring weaknesses are so clearly at war with each other. Continue reading “Movie review: “Streets of Fire” (1984)”

Movie review: “John Wick” (2014)

wick

“In a bar, I once saw him kill three men…with a pencil.”

The lethal former mob enforcer John Wick has much in common with the movie that bears his name. Both are lean, laconic and single-minded, heroically overachieving corpse production engines that run with understated flair and ruthless efficiency. Where the man and the vehicle diverge is in the realm of public regard. John Wick is a truly legendary killer, the type of cold steel assassin whose very mention gives significant pause to the most fearless, formidable and blood-thirsty bosses, hit men and goons the underworld could possibly belch up, a man whose reputation not only precedes him but armors and enhances him against his enemies, who are both legion and, amusingly enough, overmatched. Continue reading “Movie review: “John Wick” (2014)”