Disgraced stockbroker turned bicycle messenger uncovers underground drug smuggling on the streets of San Francisco. That’s the basic premise of 1986’s Quicksilver, the film Kevin Bacon chose to follow up his star-making turn in 1984’s Footloose. What appealed to Bacon about this dud of script is a mystery, but he’s the only reason why anyone would want to give this film a look. Now available as a bare-bones Blu-ray release, Bacon fans can rejoice in the total ’80s kitsch of this film.
Inspirational-sounding rockers dominate the soundtrack of this film. To their backdrop, we get Bacon racing through the streets, bicycle dancing (yes, it’s true) with his ballerina girlfriend, out-running bad guys, and even an extended segment of the messengers showing off assorted bike tricks. All of these play out like music videos, taking the place of real storytelling. Woven in between these sequences we find out Jack Casey (Bacon) has lost millions, including the life savings of his parents, in the stock market. Not only does he lose money, he loses his confidence. Unwilling to step back on the trading floor, we see him walking the streets day after day.
Then one day we see Jack biking through the streets on his way to deliver a package. There is no explanation as to why he would chose to do this of all things. Early on in the film we see Jack admiring the skills of a bike messenger while he is on his way to work, but there was no reason to think that was his life’s calling. Surely even if he didn’t want to trade stocks he would have been qualified for other types of jobs. Nonetheless, Jack is happy about the freedom his new job provides. We know this because Jack says so. The film does a poor job of showing why any of this is a good thing for Jack, though his leap from the corporate world to bike messengering is supposed to be an inspirational show of personal independence.
If the film had stuck with that theme, maybe it would have had something to say. Instead it throws in a perfunctory crime element that forces Jack into the position of becoming a true hero. It’s not enough that Jack has discovered something about himself or that he is making an effort to help cash-strapped fellow messenger Hector (Paul Rodriguez) get back on his feet. It’s not enough that he has to deal with an unsupportive girlfriend Rand (Whitney Kershaw), who still introduces his as a stockbroker at parties. It’s still not enough that he has a new potential love interest in new bike messenger Terri (Jami Gertz), or even that his old trading partner wants him back. Perhaps a real character could have been developed if the film had focused on these elements.
Instead Jack witnesses a crime, realizes there is more going on than meets the eye. As it turns out, he’s the only one that can do anything about it. The film does not completely abandon those elements, it tries to resolve all of them in a completely improbably climax. There are really no redeeming qualities to Quicksilver. It’s not all that fun, the characters aren’t interesting, and the story is utterly meaningless.
The 1080p, HD presentation keeps the film looking of its time. Colors are as dull and dingy as many typical mid-‘80s films, but definition is crisp and clear. I was not overly impressed with the look of this Blu-ray, but I don’t have any major complaints. The overall video presentation is totally satisfactory. The audio is presented in a lossless DTS-HD MA 2.0 soundtrack. Like the video, the audio presentation is adequate. The track is dominated by the aforementioned ‘80s songs, and they pack a decent punch. The dialogue is always clear and easy to understand. The ambient city sounds are definitely underwhelming, but present in the background.
I would hardly recommend Quicksilver to anyone, but fans of Kevin Bacon may get a kick out of this film. If not for his continued popularity, this film likely would have been a forgotten relic of the ‘80s.