Crossroads

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Eugene Martone (Ralph Macchio) is a gifted musician, one of the best with a guitar, at least of people his own age. He attends the Julliard School of Music and studies classical guitar, but his passion burns elsewhere. Martone loves the blues more than life itself, so he wants to hone his skills to become a top grade blues musician. Like anyone else interested in the blues, Martone has heard the stories of legend Robert Johnson’s never recorded song. The tune is the stuff of legend, but Eugene is sure he can track down the music. He will need some help for such a demanding task, so he seeks out another blues legend, Willie Brown (Joe Seneca). The years have flown past Brown since his days as a blues man, but when he was in his prime, few could light up a stage like the man Willie Brown. Now Brown resides in an old folks home, where he isn’t able to do much of anything, so when Eugene arrives, so does a glimmer of hope. Brown agrees to lend a hand, but only if he can leave the home and join Martone on his quest. Soon enough, the two are en route to the Mississippi Delta to locate Johnson’s lost track. Brown has plans of his own however, as he wants to return to a place called The Crossroads, where he made a deal with the devil himself. When Martone has to face demons of his own, will he be able to stand the heat?

The blues, the devil himself, and Ralph Macchio, a trio of elements sure to drive a film into the realm of eternal cool status. Crossroads is not a great movie, but it is a good one and director Walter Hill (The Warriors, Streets of Fire) is on his game here. Hill’s career is mixed with hits and misses, but this is one of his hits, almost a bullseye. Hill is able to focus not just on the story, but also the blues on the whole, which is very effective. There is still ample time to unfold the solid, but unoriginal plot and have one hell of a guitar showdown, however. And that showdown is the highlight of Crossroads to be sure, a scene that is never erased from memory once it has been seen. Macchio (The Karate Kid, The Outsiders) shines in his duel with guitar wizard Steve Vai, but the actor falls short in most of his other scenes. He isn’t bad per se, but he seems like an odd choice for this specific role, though he is more than passable. Joe Seneca (The Verdict, Silverado) is excellent in his role however, while Jami Gertz (Twister, Less Than Zero) is also quite good in her performance. The film’s mixture of realism and mysticism is also a major factor, as the supernatural tinges add a lot to the experience and make the movie have more punch. I have always liked this movie and am thrilled to see a widescreen release, so Crossroads earns a solid recommendation.

Video: How does it look?

Crossroads is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. I expected a nice treatment here, as Columbia usually delivers the goods, but the movie looks even better than expected. The image is excellent, with a very sharp overall impact and very clean source print, even grain is minimal and in these 80s movies, that is impressive indeed. The colors come off as lush and natural, with no bleeds or the like, while flesh tones are warm and natural also. No quibbles with contrast, as all scenes look at least solid and most look terrific. I am also thrilled to own the movie in widescreen, a factor is that sure to sell more copies of this release.

Audio: How does it sound?

The included 2.0 surround option is not that impressive, but it is a decent overall track and should please fans. I mean, I’d love to have a mix here with tons of atmospheric surround presence, but I didn’t expect it and of course, I didn’t get it from this track. In truth, there is minimal surround activity and while that is a let down, the front channels shoulder most of the load without much of a problem. The audio is clean and though a little thin at times, this is about all we can expect from Crossroads, I think. This disc also includes subtitles in English and Japanese, in case you might need those at some point.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes no bonus materials.

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