Point Break Review

As Gary Busey reveals who he believes is behind a series of bank robberies in Point Break, the audience shares Keanu Reeves apprehension. No one would actually write a movie about bank robbing surfers, would they? And would they be brave enough to have an FBI agent go undercover to infiltrate the surfing world to solve the case?

Apparently, that someone was, and the result was Point Break.

This is an odd, goofy movie, surely ridiculous enough that no one took it seriously upon watching it, but in the writing, there is something memorable. Patrick Swayze is utterly convincing as Bodhi, a surfer who believes in the zen of the sport, and the thrills it provides. His dialogue is natural, and the arcs of the plot are actually commendable.

Still, it becomes all but impossible to buy this schlock-filled action flick, filled with extensive (but impressive) surfing footage, ex-presidents robbing banks, and supporting performances that seemed ahead of their time, prepping for inevitable internet parody.

Action scenes are energetic, including one of the better foot chases you’ll see as Reeves chases down one of the possible robbers. A wildly fun brawl is loaded with energy as Swayze punches and kicks his foes on the beach, and an utterly pointless yet mildly tense jump out of a plane instills a sense of vertigo.

The clue that makes Reeves realize he is after the right band of surfers is being mooned by one of the crooks. In a rare occurrence in this industry, this remains the only film ever made where an undercover FBI agent realizes he is on course by having another man’s rear flashed at his face… twice. Point Break is just that kind of movie, and Reeves is that kind of actor who can convincingly stare into space while he processes that clue.

Movie ★★★☆☆ 

The debut for Point Break on Blu-ray is merely adequate. The AVC encode from Fox maintains the sometimes rough structure with few problems. Around the six-minute mark, when Gary Busey is at the pool, the grain takes over and the encode breaks down into a noisy, compressed mess. Thankfully, it is generally maintained cleanly for the rest of the film.

Black levels are unsubstantial, and what seems like a result of a smoky FBI office early turns out to be the case for the entire film. The image lacks any significant depth, and the contrast generally feels muted. Colors are flat and uninspired, failing to bring out the beauty of the sunset surfing sessions or overhead photography during the aerial stunts.

Soft and lacking definition, few scenes exhibit any noticeable or significant detail. Faces, with generally pale flesh tones, lack texture of any kind. Surfing shots suffer from all the above, a detriment to the footage given how spectacular some of it is. Print damage is marginal, reserved to a few random specks on the source.

Video ★★★☆☆ 

Fox offers multiple audio options, including a DTS-HD track, compressed 5.1, and 4.0 affair. This review is based on the DTS-HD mix. Bass is reserved for heavy waves crashing down, especially powerful during the final scenes in a storm. The track also shows some light ambiance, producing a convincing rain effect in each channel.

Gunfire remains flat, and dialogue carries a slightly unnatural, hollow quality. The score remains firm in the front channels, as does much of the action. A split between the stereo channels is limited to waves, which are distinct in their separation.

When Reeves is dumped underwater during his earliest attempt as surfing, there is an immersive effect that occurs, with bubbling water and overhead waves situated in the surrounds. The effectiveness of that shot is a rare occurrence though, and this uncompressed effort is mostly a disappointment.

Audio ★★★☆☆ 

Eight deleted scenes in incredibly poor condition run for a bit over four minutes, followed by four featurettes. The first is nicely done although familiar making-of titled It’s Make or Break, that runs 23-minutes. Ride the Waves begins the shorter pieces, focusing on the surfing in the film. Adrenaline Junkies is about the stunts, while On Location in Malibu revisits shooting locations as they are today. Trailers and a photo gallery are left.

Extras ★★★☆☆ 

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