DVD Review
by Kevin Carr

    MOVIE: ** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: **1/2 (out of 5 stars)

    Patrick Swayze as BODHI
    Keanu Reeves as JOHNNY UTAH
    Gary Busey as ANGELO PAPPAS
    Lori Petty as TYLER ANN ENDICOTT
    John C. McGinley as BEN HARP
    James LeGros as ROACH
    John Philbin as NATHANIAL

    Rated R
    Studio: 20th Century Fox

    Directed by: Katheryn Bigelow
    Back to DVD Review Home


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Some movies can be defined by their decade. For example, “Earth Girls Are Easy” is a quintessential 80s movie. However, a movie like “Point Break” falls in between two decades. It’s as much an 80s movie as it is a 90s movie, even through it was released in 1991.

It’s got all the 80s flash, including neon spandex, cool surfer speak and a soundtrack with a nagging techno beat. However, it ushered in the years of 90s action flicks. Before “Terminator 2” launched us into a digital action movie age, “Point Break” had that attitude, only it did it with old school techniques.

I can’t exactly say that I particularly liked “Point Break” – either when I first saw it fifteen years ago or when I revisited it on DVD. However, there is a certain part of me that likes it. Think of how you feel when you see a commercial for McDonald’s. You may not particularly like a Big Mac, but there’s something decadently fun about it.

“Point Break” was Keanu Reeves’ first foray into pseudo-serious acting, after becoming internationally known as “Ted” Theodore Logan from the quintessentially 80s flick “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” Some might consider this a sign of the apocalypse, but regardless, this legitimized the future “Matrix” star as an bankable actor.

Reeves plays former OSU football star Johnny Utah, now an FBI agent. Utah’s zany partner Angelo Pappas (Gary Busey) is convinced that a gang of surfers are robbing banks in the L.A. area, and with the season coming to an end, the FBI is quickly missing its chance to catch them. Pappas sends Utah undercover as a surfer dude to catch some waves and hopefully catch some bank robbers.

Let’s face it – even when “Point Break” first came out, no one really bought the premise. Rather, everyone seemed to reluctantly swallow the premise just so they could watch a cool action flick. Patrick Swayze as a 40-year-old surfing guru who robs banks never quite made the grade, but if you can buy Keanu Reeves as a sharp FBI agent, you can probably accept anything.

In some ways, “Point Break” is a guilty pleasure. But do keep in mind, like many drugs, repeated exposure may make you dumber.

The action sequences are admittedly very slick and powerful. Before the real overdone glitz of the 90s music video style overtook the focus of film editing, this was how it was done. In some ways, the rough and scramble approach reminds me of editing and cinematography I’ve seen in such classics as “True Romance.”

The acting is only so-so, but what else do you expect with a bill led by Keanu Reeves. The film is made with such an intensity that it really is laughable. Whether the characters are ordering a sandwich or arguing over the critical facts in a monumental case, they approach it with the same level of energy. In retrospect, I have to laugh at many of these scenes.

If you like 80s/90s action flicks, “Point Break” can be fun. But sadly, it’s probably more silly than you will ever remember it to be.

The newly released “Pure Adrenaline Edition” comes with eight deleted scenes and several featurettes, often involving the actors as they are now reminiscing on the days filming the movie. At times, the filmmakers take too much credit for popularizing surfing in the 90s (since it was actually popular years before this movie), but what else could they take credit for? Patrick Swayze’s career? I don’t think so.

Specifications: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Widescreen (2.35:1) – Enhanced for 16x9 televisions. French and Spanish language tracks. Spanish subtitles. English language subtitles for the hearing impaired.

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