Streets of Gold Alek is an immigrant from the Soviet Union who was a talented boxer in his day, but he was not allowed on the Soviet national team because he was a Jew. Depressed and discouraged, he meets two young amateur boxers. As their coach, he trains them for glory.
A fantastic 80s flavoured smack down
Alek, a former boxer from the Soviet Union (Klaus Maria Brandauer) arrives in the United States to start a new life. He witnesses two boxers, Timmy (Adrian Pasdar) and Roland (Wesley Snipes) participate in the rough sport of illegal boxing. The two young men have obvious strength with the arrogant attitudes to match, and Alek sees that they both have potential to become champion boxers. After Timmy witnesses Alek get the better of Roland during a drunken dark alley brawl, Timmy asks Alek to be his coach, as he knows that his style could use some refining.
Alek accepts, and puts Timmy through a tough training regime. Timmy gets angry, after his coach walks out in the middle of their first training session, resulting in Timmy screaming four letter words at Alek (a memorable scene). Afterwards, when things have cooled down, the young man feels contrite. A number of things happen (one of them being the Soviet boxing team visiting the US for a post cold war smack down) and Alek takes on Roland as a protégé (much to Timmy’s chagrin, since he and Roland had bad blood between them). Under Alek’s wing, the two kids learn discipline and excel at boxing. The entire film proceeds in a logical order, culminating in a Rocky-style bout between Timmy and the Soviet champ.
Streets of Gold features Pasdar and Snipes in their early twenties (when they were unknowns), and it’s easy to see that way back then, they had the talent and the masculine looks to achieve super stardom. The film is worth watching, just to see Pasdar attempt to do a Russian folk dance. I have to give him points for trying! The veteran actor Brandauer is just as brilliant as the two young lead actors, as the fiery yet Yoda-like mentor.
There are a few genuine laugh-out-loud moments in this film. I won’t give anything away, since you have to see them for yourself.
I can’t finish the review without mentioning the fashion. The 1980s had featured colourful clothes by today’s standards, and I must warn you that there is plenty of typical 80s fashion in this film (as you’d expect). Baby Boomers and early Gen X’s will feel nostalgic while watching this, while late Gen X’s and Gen Y’s will be silently thankful that they didn’t have to wear such outlandish clothing. I’m in Generation Y, BTW.
The only criticism that I can give, as other reviews have discussed, is that didn’t explore the characters as deeply as I would have liked. For example, we don’t get an in depth look at Timmy and Roland’s troubled childhoods. Perhaps a flashback could have been appropriate. However, I’m just nitpicking, since what has been presented in this 89 minute film is excellent.
If you are a fan of Pasdar or Snipes, or of boxing/80s sports films, Streets of Gold is a must see film.