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Before Tom Cruise was Ethan Hunt and one of the world's great action stars, Cruise was featured in a zany and off-kilter 80's comedy called Losin' it about three teenage boys on a quest across borders to lose their virginity in the Mexican city of Tijuana. Directed by Curtin Hanson (who would go on to greatness with cinematic gems like L.A. Confidential) and produced by Garth H. Drabinsky (The Changeling) and Joel B. Michaels (Stargate), Losin' it might not be high-art but it's a run ride.
Woody (Tom Cruise) and his close friends Dave (Jackie Earle Haley) and Spider (John Stockwell) set out on a road trip to Tijuana to have a party across the town. The ultimate goal? To lose their virginity. Along the strange trip they encounter and befriend Kathy (Shelley Long), a attendant at a convenience store who spontaneously decides to join them on their trip to Mexico so she can get divorced from her husband quickly.
Wendell (John P. Navin Jr), is the youngest of the bunch and he happens to be Dave's younger brother. He also decides to tag along for the road trip but with a much different mission in his mind: capitalism. Wendell's goal is to buy up loads of cheap fireworks and sell them to his neighborhood kids for inflated prices back home.
The film was never that well received critically but has garnered a small cult status and fandom for it's early role from Tom Cruise. Yet despite the originally lackluster reception, the film also has a number of impressive production aspects from a charming score by Kenneth Wannberg (Blame it on Rio, The Amateur) to the production design by Robb Wilson King (Rush Hour). This is definitely a entertaining 80's time-capsule.
The best thing about the film's aesthetic is the cinematography by Gilbert Taylor (Star Wars, The Omen). This is an impressive film visually and the cinematography goes hand-in-hand with the direction by Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential, Wonder Boys, 8 Mile). Hanson, a remarkably gifted filmmaker, showcases his high potential and craftsmanship with this film even if it's just a glimpse at the cinematic-wizardly which would later come from him.
From a screenplay standpoint, Losin' it was written by Bill Norton (staff director on Buffy the Vampire Slayer) based on a story by Bill Norton and Bryan Gindoff. The film isn't exactly what one would call "high-art" but there's great dialogue and character-interactions on display here. Each of the film's leads has their own distinctive personalities and Shelley Long's character feels well-developed. While Losin' it might never be considered some radiant gem which was simply lost in the shuffle, it's a surprisingly entertaining film which has a heart behind it too (the final scenes are quite effective). It's funny and it's surprisingly well-done. Most will probably want to see Losin' it just out of curiosity for Cruise's early role but the film has other worthy merits as well.
Losin' it arrives on Blu-ray from Kino with a brand new 2K source master for the presentation. Though the source film print utilized seems somewhat dated this is actually a generally impressive looking release which preserves film grain and has a good amount of detail. Though early scenes in the film have some wear and tear to them with minor print damage, the majority of the presentation is rather impressive. This is a stronger catalog title from Kino. The color reproduction and detail is quite good and the film looks naturally filmic as it should.
The film is presented with a average quality DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo audio presentation. In comparison to the video, the audio is much less impressive. The audio sounds flat and lacks in quality dynamics or fidelity. Based on the quality of this average audio presentation, it seems as though little effort went into restoration of the track (other than minor cleanup of hiss, etc.) and the results are just decent. Dialogue is still easy to understand and on the whole it's a modest audio presentation.
English SDH subtitles (for the deaf and hard of hearing) are also provided.
There are no extras included on this release other than trailers promoting other Kino releases.
Losin' it is an entertaining early work from the great director Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential). While the film only offers audiences a glimpse of the talents of Hanson and the young star Tom Cruise (who would go on to become... that Tom Cruise) the film is a surprisingly enjoyable romp that breezes by with relative ease. The presentation isn't too shabby either with a generally impressive 2K transfer. While there are no real extras to speak of this is still a decent release worth consideration.
On a different note, Losin' it marks my final review for DVD Talk after almost a decade of writing for the website. I'm moving on to new endeavors and am currently saying my farewell. It's been a great joy to be able to provide readers with my thoughts and insights on films and their presentations. For those interested, please know I will continue to write film reviews. I'm just moving in a brand new direction.
Thanks to everyone who has written me comments or e-mails over the years. I've always enjoyed receiving messages from readers.
For one last time...
This release comes Recommended.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.