Crossroads is a 1986 musical drama film directed by Walter Hill (The Warriors, 48 Hours / Another 48 Hours, Red Heat, Streets of Fire, Southern Comfort, Brewster’s Millions, Tales from the Crypt, and Deadwood). It was inspired by the legend of blues musician Robert Johnson. It was written by John Fusco (Young Guns 1/2, Thunderheart, The Babe, and The Forbidden Kingdom). It was produced by Mark Carliner (Kingdom Hospital, The Shining, Rose Red, Storm of the Century, and The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer). It grossed $5,839,000 at the box office in the states.
17-year-old Eugene Martone (played by: Ralph Macchio from The Karate Kid franchise, Cobra Kai, The Deuce, and The Outsiders) has an obsession for the blues music while studying classical guitar at the Juilliard School for Performing Arts in New York City. Researching blues and guitar music brings famed Robert Johnson’s (played by: Tim Russ from Death Wish 4: The Crackdown, Spaceballs, Pulse, and Eve of Destruction) creative acclaim to his attention; especially intriguing are the legends surrounding exactly how Johnson became so talented – most notably the one claiming he “sold his soul to the Devil at the crossroads”. There’s a myth that a famed “missing song” that was lost to the world. In his quest to find this song, he researches old archived newspaper clippings. He learns that Johnson’s longtime friend, former collaborator, and musician Willie Brown (played by: Joe Seneca from The Blob, Silverado, A Time to KIll, and Malcolm X) is actually still alive. He is currently incarcerated for murder or attempted murder in a nearby minimum security hospital. He gets a job there as a janitor to closer to the forgotten blues musician.
The elderly Willie Brown denies that he is the same musician that worked with the legendary Robert Johnson. After several attempts, he finally admits his true identity after hearing Eugene play the blues. He makes a deal with the ambitious kid, if he breaks him out and takes him to Mississippi he will give him the long lost track that he’s been looking for. They hitch rides and travel on the roads with barely any money to make it to their destination. They meet 17-year-old hitchhiker Frances (played by: Jami Gertz from The Lost Boys, Sixteen Candles, Less than Zero, and Twister) on the way there and she goes with them on their ambitious trip. He falls for her hard but he ends up heartbroken when she leaves them. Needing a distraction, he decides to put his skills to the test. Eugene is given the nickname “Lightning Boy” by Willie and goes up against the skilled Jack Butler (played by: the legendary Steve Vai from Crazy) in a guitar battle. Will he ever learn the lost song and become a blues legend? or Will he risk it all to find his lost love again????
Crossroads was something different for action director Walter Hill and it ends up being one of his best features from the 80’s. He stepped out of his comfort zone for this one and it paid off. This drama explores the blues sub-genre and it’s a fun road picture between two unlikely companions. Ralph Macchio gives his best acting performance as the ambitious Eugene who wants to be the next blues star while looking for a missing masterpiece. Everyone knows him from the Karate Kid franchise or the newly popular Cobra Kai but this forgotten film is his greatest cinematic turn. Joe Seneca is amazing as a man who once gave up on life but starts to see there’s more out there after meeting a kid with such hope for a music that he once cherished. These two actors have top notch chemistry as strangers on the road both looking for a change in their reality. Jami Gertz was always high quality eye candy especially in the 80’s and she was great as the feisty runaway. The script had a nice balance of drama, comedy, and heart for this journey of finding the blues. Guitar legend Steve Vai had a good role here and he did some of the music for this production. It had a solid supporting cast with veterans Joe Morton (Terminator 2) and Dennis Lipscomb (Under Siege). This had a nice southern atmosphere and an amazing soundtrack when it came to the music. Hopefully, this one will get more attention now since it has a new life on home video thanks to the great folks at Mill Creek, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Mill Creek Entertainment! This 1080p (1.78:1) transfer is an older one but it’s still a slight upgrade compared to the old DVD home video release and way better than the original VHS from back in the day. Don’t expect reference quality but it’s the best we are going to get for it for awhile to be honest considering it’s a catalog title and kinda unknown to most people these days. The English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track is good here. It’s about the same as the previous home video release. The music shines on it and it’s definitely the best thing about it. The dialogue is very clean and the road trip experience is elevated. It has English SDH subtitles. There’s no extras on the disc. It has a really cool looking retro VHS style limited edition slipcover. Crossroads looks and sounds decent which is better than nothing when it comes to blu ray. Mill Creek always has cheap prices and great sales so it won’t cost you much to add this to your collection. It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!