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The '80s were the first decade to really fuck around with Retro. Partly driven by boomer nostalgia and partly (and not unironically) driven by its own novelty, Retro pervasively infiltrated the mid-eighties zeitgeist. From fashion to music to movies, you can't really make sense of the eighties without understanding the influence of the '50s/'60s on popular culture at that time.
Some of those retro artifacts can be hard to parse from up here in the post-future. From such a distance it can be difficult to separate the style from the content. A good example of this is the movie Dirty Dancing. Ostensibly set in the 1950s with '50s cars and '50s clothes, the movie is overwhelmed by its own eightiesness with a synthy '80s soundtrack and an unmistakeably '80s cinematic style. Is it the '50s? Is it the '80s? Can a young modern audience even make that distinction?
Probably the best way to understand Retro is not as a literal historical reference to the period in question, but more a reference so some idealised version of that period. So the Wayfarer sunglasses and Levis jeans and Brando jackets that we wore in the actual '80s weren't really authentic recreations of the actual '60s, just references to a kind of Velvet Underground version of that decade. And similarly, modernday references to the the '80s aren't authentic either. They're just retro.
So this movie is Retro as fuck. It was made in 1984 and set in some other ambiguous time period - it's not important when but it looks a lot like the '50s but it sounds and feels a lot like the '80s.
So, with that out of the way, Streets of Fire is a pretty good flick with cool bikes and '50s lead-sleds. It has a straightforward plot and some cartoonish violence and it has lots explosions and trenchcoats and pump-action shotties ('cos the '80s). It also has a pretty solid cast (including Lee Ving from LA hardcore band Fear), an eighties-tastic soundtrack and it's beautiful to look at.
What more could you want?
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Image - via ThePictureTaker on Instagram*
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*It's not clear to me if the Picture Taker took the picture or y'know, took the picture. But credit where credit is due...