Savage Streets (1984)

Savage Streets (1984)- * * * *

Directed by: Danny Steinmann

Starring: Linda Blair, Robert Dryer, Linnea Quigley, Sal Landi, Rebecca Perle, Brian Frishman, and John Vernon

Brenda (Blair) is a tough, streetwise chick who loves nothing more than hanging out on the streets of Hollywood with her group of friends named The Satins (remember when friends used to do that?) - but her one soft spot is for her deaf/mute sister, Heather (Quigley). Trouble arises when a group of no-good street toughs called The Scars, who do nothing but annoy and harass everyone, cross paths with The Satins. Led by the sinister Jake (Dryer), he and his boys continually up the ante, until they go WAY too far, and Brenda, who was already on the edge and getting into catfights at school with the cheerleader Cindy (Perle), snaps and begins wearing black fingerless gloves. Suspended from school by Principal Underwood (Vernon), she is free to use her time to get her revenge against The Scars. Will she complete her mission? Find out today!

This movie is so, so great. Imagine if Foxes (1980) was an exploitative revenge movie. The awesomeness of the 80’s is cranked to 11, and the film seemingly makes no apologies for its unabashed, for lack of a better word, raunch. To the delight of viewers, political correctness is light years away, and everything from the dialogue on down has a wickedly entertaining power that is impossible to resist.  Linda Blair has absolutely never been better - her level of sassiness is off the charts, and her exchanges with just about everybody give her some great lines - but her best on-screen partner is John Vernon, and their scenes together are priceless.

The fashions not just the Satins, but everyone wears are mind-boggling, and the music is perfect, especially the songs by John Farnham. You thought the songs he did for Rad (1986) were great, just check these out. Someone needs to do a CD reissue stat.  Whoever created the signs in the movie truly outdid themselves - “Doctors Hospital” and at the club MX there is a sign on the wall that simply reads “Rock and Roll”. You truly cannot beat that. Outside of a record store there are posters for Kiss, Def Leppard and Motley Crue, and it wouldn’t be a high school-set movie without a 42-year old student, this time it’s Cindy’s boyfriend Wes (Frishman). Or at least that’s how it seems.

We really have nothing negative to say about Savage Streets. If you love awesome things and fun times, you will love it. Not to mention 80’s nostalgia. The movie truly shows why revenge movies are among our favorites. It delivers exactly what you want, and then some. If there are any haters out there, don’t listen to them. Savage Streets is an out-and-out winner!

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty

Also check out a write-up from our buddy, The Video Vacuum! 


Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man (1976)

Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man (1976)- * * *

Directed by: Ruggero Deodato

Starring: Marc Porel, Ray Lovelock, Adolfo Celi, Silvia Dionisio, and Renato Salvatori

Alfredo (Porel) and Antonio (Lovelock) are cops and partners assigned the tough jobs in Rome. Their captain, known simply as “The Captain” (Celi) is caught in a bind: he knows about their reckless and violent ways, but he can’t deny they get results. So he tolerates them, as does Norma (Dionisio), The Captain’s secretary. So he designates the two men as a “special squad”, which allows them pretty much free reign in Rome, which means not just legal rules, but perhaps even moral ones are broken. The rest of the movie is almost like a series of vignettes as they go to different crime scenes and solve the problem in their own inimitable no-mercy, no-prisoners, no-conscience, no-problem style. These situations range from a hostage showdown to an illegal gambling ring, and beyond.  It all comes to a head as our two anti-heroes finally confront a crime boss named Pasquini (Salvatori) on his yacht. Will living this type of lifestyle finally catch up to Alfredo and Antonio? Find out today!

Here we have noted director Ruggero Deodato’s entry in the Poliziotteschi sweepstakes of the day. So you’d have to figure Mr. Cannibal Holocaust (1980) himself would turn in a particularly hard, violent, brutal and uncompromising entry. And you’d be right. There is certainly a strain of nihilism that runs through Live Like A Cop, Die Like A Man, and it’s not to everyone’s taste. Especially since the tone of the movie and the actions of the characters are so alien and unfamiliar to American audiences of today. We’re so unused to seeing behavior like this on screen, it’s hard to know what to think. While no doubt an acquired taste, Deodato was simply reflecting what was going on in Italy at the time and, presumably, his rage about the conditions in society then, especially as it relates to crime.

Moral considerations aside, there’s plenty for genre fans to enjoy here, such as the insane motorcycle setpiece at the beginning of the film (which provides a killer kickoff to all that we‘re about to see - letting viewers know this is no run of the mill crime drama), as well as other well-staged and well-shot violent moments. From the title on down, you know that you’re in macho territory here. While it may be in dispute whether that’s Deodato subtly mocking (Italian?) machismo, or he’s legitimately going for it, the movie delivers the goods nonetheless, from start to finish. Ray Lovelock himself sings the Bob Dylan-like songs on the soundtrack, and the movie works on at least two levels: as a comment on the society of the time and the behavior of men, or simply as a violent actioner. It doesn’t take much to read into the movie just a tad, and the fact that you never really root for and get totally behind Alfredo and Antonio is most likely not an accident. It’s probably more an indicator that there may be more brewing beneath the surface.

Released on DVD by Raro, Live Like A Cop, Die Like A Man may not be for everyone, but viewers will see a movie ahead of its time, and a Poliziotteschi that will make you think. We recommend it.

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty