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Point Break

review by Eric Dahl


MPAA Rating: R

Running Time: 117 minutes

Starring: Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, Gary Busey, Lori Petty

Screenplay by: W. Peter Iliff

Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow


Studio: Fox

Retail Price: $22.98

Features: Original Theatrical Trailer and TV Spots, "Fox Flix" Assorted Trailers, Featurette

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 4.1, English DTS 4.1, English Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Chapter Search (20 Scenes)

Released: May 22nd, 2001



Ahh, what memories the "classic" (yeah, classic is in quotes for a reason) films of Keanu Reeves bring back to me.

Well, I think the general consensus would agree with my opinion that the man is no Sir Laurence Olivier, but when he's playing roles that don't require the greatest of acting abilities, I think he can perform quite well. I would honestly think Keanu Reeves was the man if I only saw him as Ted "Theodore" Logan of "Bill and Ted" fame and Thomas "Neo" Anderson in "The Matrix".

And then there was "Point Break". I will be completely honest with you: I didn't expect much. My expectations mysteriously disappeared after the first ten minutes of the film was over. I was having a blast.

"Point Break" is something like your typical Keanu Reeves action thriller (say, "Speed", for example) crossed with the surfer-documentary "Endless Summer". Keanu is a rookie FBI agent named Johnny Utah. (With a name like that, could this be ANYTHING but a Keanu Reeves movie?) After being transferred to a new precinct, he gains a partner in Gary Busey and decides to go undercover to see if a gang of surfers, led by Bhodi (Patrick Swayze), a man who claims to find true peace out there among the waves, is doubling as a group of bank robbers who wear large rubber masks of past Presidents of the United States and call themselves, surprisingly enough, the "Ex-Presidents". As Johnny becomes closer and closer to them and starts to buy into their philosophies, you wonder whether or not he will remember his reasons for being there in the first place before it's too late. Intercut with this is an obligatory love subplot between Utah and a sexy surfer played by Lori Petty, which, thankfully, doesn't take your attention away from the real plot for too long.

If you're looking for deep, psychological drama, look elsewhere. If you're looking for Merchant Ivory production values with a rich multi-layered plot, LOOK ELSEWHERE. If you're looking for anything deep at all, then why in the hell are you reading this review? It's a Keanu Reeves movie, for God's sake. Just switch off your brain and just have a good time already.

The direction by Kathryn Bigelow ("Titanic" director James Cameron's femme at the time) is adequate, but nothing to run down the streets screaming about. I will admit though that within this movie, she has crafted one of the absolute best chase sequences ever stricken to celluloid. If you have no other reason to see this movie, see it for the chase scene. Oh, man, was it intense. For me, anyway.

Alright, I'm through. I know that I will be quite debated on this point, but I really enjoyed this movie. As mentioned previously, it certainly isn't brain food, but it'll at least tide you over until some is available.


"Point Break's" transfer, presented here in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen is disappointing, to say the least. The colors are good and nothing is oversaturated, but the film is pretty grainy throughout with quite a few film/white specks from time to time. It's not so bad as to be overtly distracting or unwatchable, but if you're looking for reference quality video, you won't find it here.


The sound mix, considering it's limitations (not being a 5.1 mix) is quite good. The soundstage is wide, dialogue through the center channel is crisp and clear, and the surrounds are used quite often for some front/back pans and ambience (office sounds, etc.) The mix also does a good job of showcasing Mark Isham's score and the early 1990s era rock/pop soundtrack. Occasionally, the mix surprised me and seemingly became as realistic as a 5.1 soundtrack. Especially during the surfing sequences, the sound mix is so enveloping as to make you feel like you were inside of a wave with the characters.


Well, the disc certainly ain't loaded. But it's not exactly empty either.

For starters, there are the Original Trailers and TV Spots:

Trailer A is presented in 1.33:1 Full Frame and Dolby Digital 2.0 and shows the film's age very well with many instances of film flecks and the like This one is less like a theatrical trailer and more like a TV spot. Trailer B, on the other hand, is presented in 2.35:1 Widescreen and Dolby Digital 2.0 and is more like a trailer that would be shown preceding another movie in the theater. Both of these, as is with most trailers, only showcase the films' best moments and nothing more.

Second, there are the Fox Flix Trailers. There are only trailers for other 20th Century Fox films available on DVD.

There are three: Chain Reaction, Big Trouble In Little China, and Unlawful Entry. All Are presented in Dolby Digital 2.0, and Chain Reaction and Unlawful Entry are 2.35:1 Widescreen while Big Trouble In Little China is 1.85:1 Widescreen.

Third, the only extra which presents insight (however small) into the making of the film, is the Featurette.

This is only three minutes and thirty seconds in length, and is more promotional fluff than anything. All it is is cast and crew members talking about their characters of their specific job and summarizing the plot of the film for the viewer. This, I assume, was created to run in a commercial spot when the film was first released. Nothing really special, but you get vintage interviews with Kathryn Bigelow, Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, Gary Busey, Lori Petty, and other assorted people.


If you really like the film, definitely spring for this disc. The discount price can't be beat. If you've never heard of it, or aren't too big a fan of the genius that is Keanu Reeves (j/k, j/k), I'd definitely just give this one a rent. The extras (if that's what you call them) are next to none, and neither the picture nor the audio are reference quality. It's up to you, but I sure liked it, and it's good to have when I'm in the mood for an above-average action flick.