Entertainment » Movies


by Ken Tasho
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Monday Aug 19, 2019

Al Pacino donned his best gay Leather Daddy outfit and took on a daring, yet bold movie role back in 1980. The notorious "Cruising" has been discussed among film critics and movie fans for almost forty years. Most discussions involve the backlash at the time from the gay community, a rallying force that denounced the film as evil, demeaning, and wretched.

Now in 2019, "Cruising" has become a curious oddity for those people who've never viewed it. A piece of cinema history trapped in a 1980 time warp, the passage of four decades hasn't been too kind to the William Friedkin ("The Exorcist") written and directed cult film.

But Arrow Video's new 4K restoration scan on Blu-ray gives "Cruising" newfound light, so to speak. It's a brighter, more inviting film transfer than has been seen in most DVD releases. Those discs were dark and gritty compared to Arrow's glossier Blu-ray, one that William Friedkin approved and supervised.

Is "Cruising" a great film? It definitely has its moments. Pacino plays rookie cop Steve Burns, a naïve yet determined young fellow who goes undercover to NYC gay leather bars to catch a serial killer. Pacino plays naiveté well, yet there are moments where the talented actor looks visibly uncomfortable or unsure of what to do in certain scenes.

Pacino does not appear in any special features on this Blu-ray, so it's unclear how he feels about "Cruising" today. What becomes clear, however, is that the film isn't really all that compelling. It meanders on, all the while showing S&M gay sex, bare male asses, some graphic violence, and popper-fueled, seedy NYC gay bars of 1980.

The revelation of who's killing the gay men of "Cruising" seems to be an afterthought... and then there's that ambiguous twist ending.

It's also quite intriguing that none of Arrow Video's bonus materials are new (all come from the DVD release in 2007). Perhaps no one cares about the "Cruising" controversy any more, and fans can enjoy it for what it really is: An average mystery/thriller that happens to mostly take place in gay leather bars.


Ken Tasho is a Corporate Drone by day and Edge Contributor by night. He has a love for all things ’80’s and resides in the Wayland Square area of Providence, RI...but would much rather be sharing an apartment in NYC with ’80’s rock goddesses Pat Benatar and Deborah Harry.

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