1984ís Street Hero aimed squarely at the teen market and missed.The throbbing pop soundtrack featured the likes of Sharon OíNeill, Dragon, Dear Enemy, Leo Sayer (!), Ross Wilson, Daryl Braithwaite and a screaming match duet between Jon English and Renee Geyer. Despite heavy promotion, the soundtrack never took off in Australia.
Nor did 18 year-old Vince Colosimo, packaged as a teen heartthrob, in the title role. Not initially, anyway. Vinnieís a sensitive young man at a crossroads, lured by the promise of easy corrupt money through his dead fatherís mob connections, and pressured to finish his schooling by his put-upon mother (Peta Toppano). His girlfriend (Sigrid Thornton, looking too old for the part) and music teacher (Sandy Gore) want him to become drummer in the school band. Itís a relief to see Gore not playing the villain for a change, although her hip wardrobe of street-wise camouflage gear is a bit hard to take.
No surprise which choice Vinnie makes. There are no surprises in Jan Sardiís screenplay at all, actually. Colosimo is tense and wooden, his performance all posing and strutting. He barely speaks, as if director Michael Pattinson didnít trust him with dialogue. Given what was on offer, it was a relief he kept his mouth shut. Hereís a sample as Vinnie waits by the hospital bedside of his comatose mother: ďI love you ma. The doctor, he said you might die. The prick.Ē It would not be until 15 years later, after drama school and theatre experience, that Colosimo proved his talent on screen and became a star.
Sardiís screenplay is ludicrously overstuffed with corrupt police, drug deals, domestic violence, nasty teachers, boxing matches and flashbacks... yet still manages to be plodding and predictable. Pattinson, cinematographer Vincent Monton and production designer Brian Thomson together dreamt up a garishly over-designed MTV neon look for the film. Pattinson wastes time on too many moody music montages at the expense of his characters and story.Besides a footnote to Colosimoís resume thatís best forgotten by everyone, Street Heroís only continuing interest is an hilarious look at the 1984 hairstyle and fashion disasters that befell Australia.