Young, Dumb, and Full of… Well, You Know the Line
Surfing bank robbers – the type of idea an out-of-touch studio executive figures is worth $100 million in box office. Said executive wasn’t completely wrong.
Point Break is what happens when Stallone and Schwarzenegger shooting things no longer commands an audience. It’s a leaner, younger action movie, with a cultural cool that defies logic. And, it’s the type where the stunts came first, including a pace-stopping skydiving sequence that while an achievement technically, does nothing to advance the story.
If nothing else, Point Break is entertaining
If nothing else, Point Break is entertaining
Then again, the story is ridiculous, following rookie FBI agent Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) through his first case, one that so happens to necessitate Utah taking surfing lessons. Embedded within, the surfer philosophy, the adrenaline rush, and the movie logic that follows. It’s all an excuse to build Reeves as a star after embodying a similar “dude bro” personality in Bill & Ted. It worked. Who knew?
It’s easy to write Point Break off entirely just for its premise, but that doesn’t dismiss a number of well-considered action scenes – notably a car chase – and genuine tension as Utah tries to maintain his cover. Enter Lori Petty for some romance and Point Break has the genre’s necessary elements.
Everything is played straight, aiming for total legitimacy, even with John C. McGinley having a blast as the FBI’s department lead, chewing out his employees as if following Gilbert Hill’s lead from Beverly Hills Cop. That streak of rebellious anti-authority fits to the era, soon to be awash in grunge and other counter-culture. If anything, Point Break, released in 1991, was ahead of the cultural curve.
If nothing else, Point Break is entertaining, and depending on perspective, it’s either entertaining schlock or entertaining escapism; it works either way. Reeves and co-star Patrick Swayze have superb chemistry, earning each other’s respect via their testosterone output. Point Break says a lot about masculinity and how it’s earned in public, and generally speaking that’s running, punching, and jumping off/out of things. The sex and drugs count too. Poor Gary Busey feels wholly out of place amid this 20-something scrum, having extinguished his share of macho long before Point Break’s events. He needs that injection, that jolt. Johnny Utah provides.
A beautiful contrast and depth give Point Break definite pop. Dolby Vision provides an excellent density to the imagery. The coastal sun becomes a fantastic presence, and at night, the black levels produce a noticeable heft.
Color takes a little time to ramp up. Opening scenes favor a chilly blue slant, but once into the water, California’s sun begins to add the zest. Primaries start to elevate, and flesh tones take on needed warmth. Neon bathing suits stand out against the ocean waters and rich skylines.
Point Break isn’t the sharpest, but that’s on the cinematography, not this new 4K master. When at its sharpest, detail shines, and that’s typically in close-up. The mild grain structure doesn’t pose too much of a challenge to the encode. Point Break may lack the peak sharpness typical of this format, yet still shows gains over the Blu-ray, if more so in color reproduction and contrast than raw fidelity.
DTS-HD 5.1 doesn’t sport much range during the action, saving much of the weight for the surfing scenes. There the bass can generate a rumble, although it’s bloated and artificial, lacking in tightness. The final brawl adds a small thump to each physical blow, and it’s completely unnatural, and stands out for the wrong reasons.
Surrounds stand out during the surf sequences, water aggressively splashing into the rears to create a convincing wall of sound. That’s a better modern touch than the low-end, although Point Break inconsistently applies the surround’s use. Gunfire sticks to the stereos primarily.
On the Blu-ray only, some deleted scenes, older featurettes, and a trailer. That’s all.
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Point Break (1991)
Absurd, ludicrous, and ridiculous, Point Break is proud of each of those descriptions.
User Review( vote)
The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 38 full resolution, uncompressed 4K screen shots ripped directly from the UHD: