Shout! Factory's specialty Shout! Select imprint has been knocking it out of the park lately with their upgraded reissues of classics from the last 40 years and these latest bundle is no different.
Today we'll look at five selections from Shout! Select and one regular Shout! Factory Blu-ray release that I thought deserved a bit of a push. First up a pair of new Steelbook reissues for Walter Hill's Streets of Fire and Peter Hewitt's Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, then a trio of classic comedies in Rob Reiner's When Harry Met Sally, Ron Underwood's City Slickers, and Frank Oz's Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and last up, an HD edition of Richard Donner's after-school special, Sarah T. - Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic. Check out the details below
I was a latecomer to the greatness of Walter Hill's cult classic rock & roll fable, Streets of Fire, but it immediately found on home on my list of favorite films. A hard-boiled combination of film noir, '70s hoodlum action, and feisty rock musical, Streets of Fire is a unique experience that features some of the most incredible sequences ever committed to celluloid.
When local rock heroine Ellen Aim, portrayed by a very young Diane Lane, is kidnapped in the middle of her opening song by a leather clad biker gang led by a superbly menacing Raven Shaddock (Willem Dafoe in one of his wildest roles), it's up to her ex-boyfriend Tom (Michael Paré) to save her. Along for the ride is a butch mechanic named McCoy (Amy Madigan) and Ellen's manager, a wily Billy Fish (Rick Moranis, playing against type), who end up pitching in on the rescue mission more than one might expect. The trio punches and kicks their way through the underground, having crazy encounters with all and sundry on their way to an explosive finale by way of a one-on-one street fight between the harried Tom and a patent-leather hip-wadered Raven.
The film is essentially one long chase sequence, with the action only ever stopping briefly so the audience can catch its breath while a bit of plot is explained here and there. There is an energy emanating from Streets of Fire that is hard to beat, helped along immensely by the relentless pacing of the opening kidnap sequence that is among the most exciting ten minutes of cinema I've ever witnessed. If you've never seen Streets of Fire, there's no better time than now to give it a chance, just be ready to surrender to it, though, because you'll never be the same after.
Shout! Factory released Streets of Fire several years ago as an early release in the Shout Select line, giving the film a brand new gorgeous transfer and a boatload of special features, including a brand new feature length making-of documentary on a separate disc. With this Steelbook reissue, they could've gotten away with simply repackaging that disc as they have in several other instances, however, they made one significant improvement that will have owners of the previous disc consider the upgrade.
The original Streets of Fire Blu-ray features a wonderful DTS-HD 5.1 surround track to supplement the DTS-HD 2.0 stereo track from the original elements. Both tracks sound great, and with a film this dependent on music and action, the audio is a crucial element. With the Steelbook re-release, Shout! have added yet another audio option, a 4 channel surround track transferred directly from the 70mm theatrical version of the film. Now, to my ears, the additional bass supplied by the 5.1 track is preferable, however, completists will want to have as many choices as possible, making this disc the current champion for fans.