Point Break (Steelbook, Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray)

Rookie FBI agent Johnny Utah is learning to ride the waves. His mission: infiltrate a group of extreme surfers who may be the bank robbers known as the Ex-Presidents, and whose MO includes wearing masks of former White House denizens.

July 1, 2024 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

“I am an FBI…agent!”

Plot: What’s it about?

Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) might be new to Los Angeles’ FBI office, but he has confidence to burn. So when he is partnered with veteran agent Angelo Papas (Gary Busey), the two take on a high profile case that been open for three years, but no one has been able to solve. A group of bank robbers known as The Ex-Presidents has struck twenty-seven banks with incredible efficiency, able to be in and out in record time. Papas has a hunch that the bank robbers are some surfers who show up in the summer, then head out once the weather cools. He decides to send Utah in undercover, to pose as a surfer himself in order to gain trust, infiltrate the group, and uncover the truth. But once he has gotten close, Utah learns that he has more in common with the group than expected, especially when secrets begin to be revealed…

You might not be able to get blood from a stone, but director Kathryn Bigelow was able to extract a decent movie from a plot that was thin at best. Point Break is popcorn cinema to be sure, but at least an effort is made to inject some philosophy, even if it never quite clicks into place. A rather simple premise yields a fun movie however, one that remains memorable after almost two decades. I watch Point Break once a year or so, usually on cable, just for the set pieces and the quotable dialogue. Patrick Swayze has fun with his role and while Keanu Reeves struggles even when these basic lines, he fits in well also. The story is thin, no doubt, but it is fun and moves at a brisk pace. So no new ground broken or landmark moments, but Point Break is solid entertainment and a welcome 4K release.

Video: How does it look?

Let’s get down to brass tacks – the main reason anyone would buy this version is for one thing…the picture. This has been given a new 4K restoration and it (literally) shows. The 2.39:1 HEVC 4K image gives us exactly what we’d expect: more detail, the Dolby Vision offers a bit more color dimension and eliminates some of the grain that plagued some of the earlier versions. I’ve never found Point Break to look “bad” in any sense of the word, on any format. I will say that this new 4K transfer gives us the best we’ve seen to date. Who knows, in three more decades maybe it’ll be that much better? If you’re looking for the utmost in detail in Patrick Swayze’s mop of hair or the most pristine view of the waves in the ocean – look no further.

Audio: How does it sound?

Sadly, we don’t get a new Dolby Atmos track, but the included DTS HD Master Audio mix is more than sufficient. The surrounds still have a lot to do here, between the action set pieces and Mark Isham’s capable score. The music sounds very good here, with a lively presence throughout. As far as the action, those scenes light up the surrounds and power is set loose. The rest of the scenes come off as a touch flat, without much environment or background surround presence. No issues with dialogue however, so all the vocals are clear and clean. For an action movie, this is a pretty intense soundtrack that more than gets the job done.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The legacy supplements from Fox’s Blu-ray are present here, albeit on the second disc (Blu-ray). The 4K disc offers no supplemental features.

Disc One (4K)

Disc Two (Blu-ray)

  • Deleted Scenes – Eight totaling ten minutes and presented in varying degrees of image quality. These don’t offer a lot of insight to the film and most only contain a few additional lines of dialogue. I’d say that, looking back, the film worked well on its own and these were wisely cut.
  • Featurettes – Four total that encompass the various aspects of the film. These are dated, but still fun to watch. It’s a shame you’ve got to switch to the Blu-ray to see these, but better to have than not.
    • It’s Make or Break
    • Ride the Wave
    • Adrenaline Junkies
    • On Location: Malibu
  • Theatrical Trailer

The Bottom Line

Point Break was a bit under-appreciated at the time, but it’s become one of my favorite films from the era. A rising star in Keanu Reeves, a great performance from Patrick Swayze (completing his hat trick from Dirty Dancing and Road House) and Gary Busey when he wasn’t totally insane. Oh yeah, and there’s also an improved 4K picture. If you already own Shout’s 4K disc there’s nothing here that didn’t have other than the steelbook packaging and some pretty cool cover art. Oh, let’s also forget that the 2015 “remake” ever existed.

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