Plot: What’s it about?
have really enjoyed the recent releases that Warner Bros. Archive have been putting out. Even though this is a newer foray for Warner in the Blu-Ray market, they have already become one of my favorite distributors by providing excellent transfers. I was extremely excited to see that they were releasing the 1985 wrestling and romance classic Vision Quest. I had never seen the movie, but I am a big fan of that decade’s films, so this seemed like a natural fit. When it arrived, I popped it in the player and checked it out.
Vision Quest begins the film by introducing the audience to teenage wrestler Louden Swain (Matthew Modine.) Louden has decided that he is going to drop twenty pounds, to about 168 pounds, so that he can wrestle the toughest wrestler in the state, Shute. Every person in his life thinks this is a terrible idea because Louden has the stuff to win a state title in his own weight class and get a scholarship out of his life in Spokane, Washington. His closest friend on the wrestling team, a mohawked kid named Kuch (Michael Schoeffling) encourages him and also tells the entire school what Louden is doing. This puts added pressure on Louden, who also works at a hotel delivering room service. Louden essentially works out all the time and avoids eating. While putting his body through the rigors of training, he meets a beautiful drifter named Carla (Linda Fiorentino.) Carla has recently hit a bad luck streak and Louden convinces his dad(Ronny Cox) to let her stay at his house. Louden begins to juggle his feelings for her as he prepares to face Shute.
Vision Quest is a sweet-natured coming-of-age story that also has a lot of wrestling and Madonna. If that combination sounds strange, just understand that this was made in the Eighties, and film studios seemed to be a bit more willing to just go for it. Madonna even performs as herself to lip sync two songs in the movie, because, you know… why not! Matthew Modine plays his part capably. Linda Fiorentino is pretty cool in her role with some crazy hair and a Jersey accent. The direction of the actors and editing is on point, but the cinematography is not what I would consider pretty. Honestly, I would say that this film is pretty ugly, even by the standards at the time. That does not get in the way of the film.
Essentially, this film catches a strange vibe. I don’t know if it’s the Journey songs, REO Speedwagon songs, Madonna songs, or what, but the movie will definitely have you pumped up for the big match at the end. I also kept watching the movie and saying, “man, that’s misogynistic,” or “that would not fly today.” As I kept saying that, I realized that they are playing teenage bits and that teenage boys say a lot of stupid stuff. Suddenly, this goofy and somewhat poorly realized film, became incredibly realistic to me.
Vision Quest is the film that wrestlers have been waiting for their entire lives: a coming-of-age story with a solid Eighties soundtrack starring Matthew Modine. Honestly, it strangely comes together and will have you wanting to see the end. This film is strangely enjoyable.
Video: How’s it look?
Warner did a pretty solid job on the transfer of the film using an MPEG 4 AVC codec of a 2K restoration. I will go on record as saying that the presentation here by Warner is pretty good, but they have not done anything to make this film look better than it did in 1985. This movie is not the most visually appealing film. For the most part it takes place in pretty drab surroundings around Spokane, Washington and the tones are very gray or earthy. This film also is pretty soft looking. I think that the restoration by a Warmer is solid, but the source material is just not going to ever just jump off of the screen.
Audio: How’s it sound?
Warner has provided a very capable DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track that sounds very good. The dialogue is crisp and clear and I did not notice much hiss. Directionality is somewhat limited, but like other Warner releases fidelity is very strong to the original elements. I really enjoyed the soundtrack to this movie, with songs by Journey, Dio, Don Henley, and Madonna. The soundtrack gets an excellent boost thanks to the Blu-Ray treatment. The score by Tangerine Dream is only heard in a couple scenes (most notably in the finale) but it also sounds great whenever it shows up. More solid work by Warner!
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Theatrical Trailer – A green and red band trailer have been included (which are virtually identical).
The Bottom Line
Vision Quest is an interesting coming-of-age story about wrestling and virginity. It really should not work when you add all of the elements up, but it works anyway. This movie does not exactly pop on Blu-Ray, but Warner have done their proper due diligence on the transfer of the film. The lack of supplements is disappointing, but Warner are also offering it at a good price for a niche title. Fans will want to add it to their libraries, but I may recommend a rental prior to a purchase.