So after I posted my last (or rather, latest), Channel Flip, two people got in touch to very kindly ask about the movies they were still waiting, with saintly patience, for me to recap. One was Streets of Fire, a Rock’n’Roll Fable that answered pretty much all my life questions except one you ask of everyone in this, “What are you DOING here?”, even as you pretty much enjoy yourself. The point is, I needed no further encouragement to get this post-apoc Casablanca sent to me in the mail posthaste!

Timestamp:: 00:28:31

And the movie immediately proves my point, as we open in the grim streets of Industrial Parkville, with Amy Madigan and a very chiseled fellow riding in a car with Rick Moranis, who’s delivering Noir Dialgoue #492, “I know my way around, that’s why you brought me along, remember?” (I love a clip that does its own exposition.) This line of dialogue, like every line of dialogue, is delivered in full-on This is a Line mode, waaay past naturalism and just short of smarm.

Where are they headed? Let’s assume it’s this rockabilly biker bar!

Accompanied by a live band, an androgynous ecdysiast is going to town on top of the bar, right through the end of this Flip, so whenever I say something, imagine it’s happening in twenty-second chunks intercut with twenty-second chunks of some suspiciously Fosse dance.

And on the second floor is Willem Dafoe in high-rise pleather overalls, HOLD THE PHONE:

Okay great. Anyway, he’s on his way to sexually menace a captive Diane Lane! (What are you DOING here?) He delivers a creepologue about how this would be nicer if they could just “fall in love” for a while and then he’d let her go. Actually it would be nicer if you just skipped to that last part!

The three heroes creep up on the Western New Jersey Water Filtration and Kraft Cheez Factory. A random gent emerges from the shadows to chat with Scrapper Chick McCoy, and hand them information about Diane’s whereabouts (she’s in this castle – Mario’s lucked out).

And with Moranis relegated to getaway driver duty, Mario’s going topside (careful! That’s Kraft Cheez territory!), and McCoy heads into Torchie’s to work her way upstairs to kill some Bombers, her life’s dream.

She seems overwhelmed by the club, even though this leather bar (Torchie’s, striking fear in the hearts of men everywhere) is tamer than the musical numbers from Xanadu, so it’s more adorable than intimidating. The modern dancer is still here, now and forever, this entire movie is just her dancing around for 90 minutes around this plot.

And McCoy has interest from a gent! Does she come here much? “Only when I want to check out some real action,” she says, and if I didn’t already know The Warriors’ Walter Hill directed this, I would now. Can you dig it?

The guy takes her upstairs to party, where she promptly knocks him out with a gun. (The chicks are packed, man.) Then she trots down the hall and right into the middle of Dafoe’s card game, gun drawn! She looks confident, but there’s like 20 dudes in there, and half of those overalls have holsters built in! She’s doomed!

Meanwhile, on the roof, our hero has caught the Cheez Vapors and is staring listlessly at Diane Lane as sad guitar plays:


(Helping or hurting, sir? Helping or hurting?)

He awakens from his stupor just in time to blow up a motorcycle to cause a diversion! And before I can determine if McCoy is just carrying everyone else in this entire rescue, it’s timestamp.

What it All Means, I Bet: God, there’s something sort of marvelous about a high-camp pastiche where you can actually take a stab at what it all means from a ten-minute clip, even if most of that ten minutes is rockabilly strippercize. I’m going to guess that in this blender-union of Escape from New York and Casablanca, our all-business hero is rescuing a past lady love, but they won’t end up together because of his Manly Aloneness. I hope he keeps McCoy, because so far she has done literally 100% of the work in this rescue. Rick Moranis will continue to baffle me forever. And while Willem Dafoes’ presence in this movie somehow makes more sense than anyone else’s presence in this movie, I’d like some clarification on the overalls, and on how I have lived so long without ever experiencing this delightful film in full.