The Quest Review
Jean-Claude Van Damme fans hoping for a review of his Roger Moore-starring directorial debut will have to look elsewhere as this particular Quest is a post-Jackass endeavour into Club Reps-style territory, albeit in Mexico during spring break rather than the Balearics. Indeed, the on-screen title is Drunken Jackasses : The Quest and as such audiences will no doubt expect – and of course be treated to – various drinking games, anal insertions, dwarves, cock rings and stupid bets. That said, the episodic nature of the Jackass TV series and its spin-off movie is abandoned in favour of a loose narrative concerning 21 year old Eddie Macsalka and his attempts to lose his virginity. Then again, the filmmakers also clearly have an overriding remit with respects to what they’re filming as the opening preamble explains: “The makers of this movie followed real college students and kept the cameras rolling at all times. Even during the disgusting shit.”
Yet if the gross out comedy is overfamiliar, the use of Eddie and titular quest does at least make the film vaguely interesting. He provides a faux naïf voice-over which makes a refreshing change from either the ‘voice of God’ disgust or grating “wahey!” style narrations that usually attend such exposes into spring break/club Med culture. Of course, he doesn’t provide any great insights or supply any depth, but then should this really be expected by this kind of documentary? (Anyone who thinks so should try and make it all the way through the abysmal Brit flick Brothers and have their opinion swiftly changed.) Moreover, Eddie also allows for a modicum of structure to The Quest which does, in the very least, allow its 75-minute duration to be relatively painless.
Not that this is by any means a great example of filmmaking, or indeed documentary filmmaking. There is a professional veneer courtesy of the deployment of various crane and Steadicam shots, but we’re constantly forced to question just how “real” the film is. Oddly, we never see a single cameraman or his shadow get in the shot, despite their being a least three capturing every scene, and there are a number of moments when, if The Quest were filmed off-the-cuff, there simply wouldn’t be cameras present. Moreover, the use of Eddie as a means of providing a narrative feels decidedly constructed; throughout the film he encounters the flimsiest of obstacles before his eventual triumph in the film’s final moments.
There’s also a more general air of obviousness which repeatedly lets the filmmakers down. The wall-to-wall rock and pop soundtrack offers the most blatant of commentaries (“I wanna hump it”, “We’re on our way”, etc. etc.) plus the film is viewed solely from a male perspective – essentially The Quest is about nothing more than tits and ass, with a little drunken goofing off chucked in for good measure.
Captured on digital cameras, The Quest looks about as good as could be expected on disc. The image is rendered anamorphically at a ratio of 1.78:1 and offers no noticeable technical flaws being those inherent in the actual filming process. As such, some of the nightclub scenes may appear a little murky, but then this is to be expected. As for the soundtrack, The Quest oddly comes with a DD5.1 offering. Certainly, there is, as said, a wall-to-wall soundtrack, yet this is often buried in the mix in favour of the dialogue. Indeed, the rear channels are rarely used meaning that such an option can only disappoint. That said, it remains technically sound (any drop-outs, etc. are the result of the filming process itself), yet it remains that a stereo option would have been just as fine.
The extras are solely for those who have taken great enjoyment in the film itself. The ten deleted scenes are as aimless as most of those included in The Quest, though some will no doubt take great pleasure in some epic puking and other such antics. Also present are a whole host of ‘Hedonism 101’ featurettes which capture vox pops from various bar owners and party goers, but prove extremely flimsy and never move beyond the soundbite stage. Amongst these pieces we also find a two-minute music video which goes unidentified and seems to be present solely as a means of squeezing just a few tits and ass shots onto the disc.
Unlike the main feature, none of these extras come with optional subtitles.