Point Break

Point Break

2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5

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Y’know what movie is a good guilty pleasure? Top Gun. Basic story, basic action, basic emotion. Its hero is faultless and singularly defined. He succeeds in all the areas a man of his time should. The part is competently acted, the humorous side characters and villains stealing just enough of the show to carry the audience through, past marathon amounts of sweating, to that last scene when the guitar wails. It does not have much lasting value. It seized onto fads with a grip reserved for children and their new toys. But, even now, Top Gun is a fine—if guilt-riddled—ride.

Point Break, a film riding the same wave of California movie action, should not be. Released in 1991, directed by Kathryn Bigelow and starring Keanu Reeves as former Ohio state quarterback turned L.A. jock and F.B.I. super-special agent Johnny Utah, learning to surf to infiltrate a band of supposed surfer bank robbers known as the ex-Presidents, Point Break is as bad as its premise sounds. In fact, it’s worse. Reeves has all the subtlety and control of a herd of stampeding elephants. The cinematography cribs from Miami Vice, with surfer action shots pandering to a second-rate soundtrack. The writing is fantastically bad, such as John C. McGinley’s characteristic line, “You’re young, dumb, and full of cum.” And if Top Gun was the sweatiest movie of the ‘80s, its progeny began the next decade as the wettest; sure, it has the surfing, but could it rain a little more?

Yet Point Break is still one of those guilty pleasure movies. In terms of Hollywood history, Bigelow’s film is the perfect document of its time, featuring the renegade-cop-goes-west movie that may have begun with Bullitt and Dirty Harry, but did not really hit a stride until the late-‘80s/early-‘90s switch to L.A.—Beverly Hills Cop, Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, Speed, and their sequels—with a nod to movies like Reeves’s true masterwork, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, that thought that being young meant being high in California. The basis for both trends was overload, and Point Break, with all of its mind-numbing elements—surfing, bank robbery, skydiving, Keanu Reeves—is the most densely packed. Emphasis on the dense.

Image/Sound

Pure adrenaline works. This edition of Point Break looks and sounds great. If only they could have gotten rid of the horrific dialogue and worse music.

Extras

Eight deleted scenes, all of which are lines of dialogue cut out of scenes still in the movie, and four production featurettes, including a walk around with John Philbin and Bojesse Christopher, the actors who played two of the film's minor characters (a little late to be turning this film role into a franchise, guys).

Overall

Surfing. Bank robbery. Skydiving. Johnny Utah. If you can stomach the contents, Point Break is a dumbly entertaining treat.

Image 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5

Sound 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5

Extras 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5

Overall 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5

Specifications
  • DVD-Video
  • Dual-Layer Disc
  • Region 1
  • Aspect Ratio
  • 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Dolby Digital Formats
  • English 5.1 Surround
  • English 4.0 Surround
  • French 2.0 Surround
  • Spanish 1.0 Mono
  • DTS
  • None
  • Subtitles & Captions
  • English Closed Captions
  • English Subtitles
  • Spanish Subtitles
  • Special Features
  • Deleted Scenes
  • 4 Production Featurettes
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • Stills Gallery
  • Buy
    DVD
    Release Date
    October 3, 2006
    Distributor
    20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
    Runtime
    122 min
    Rating
    R
    Year
    1991
    Director
    Kathryn Bigelow
    Screenwriter
    Rick King, W. Peter Illiff
    Cast
    Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, Gary Busey, Lori Petty, John C. McGinley, James LeGros, John Philbin, Bojesse Christopher