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 Blu-ray release.
Video: How does it look?
Point Break is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. I was a little let down here, as the visuals didn’t pop like I had hoped. Even so, this new transfer buries the standard releases, with much improved clarity, colors, and depth. So you will see some nice moments with intense detail visible, but across the board, this isn’t eye popping material. The overall clarity boost does enhance the visuals quite a bit however, so this is a marked improvement. I found colors to be bright and bold, but still natural, while black levels perform at a capable run. I do wish this looked more dynamic, but I think the limitation of the source are to blame and fans will still appreciate the visual upgrade.
Audio: How does it sound?
The lossless DTS HD 5.1 option performs at a high level, but never quite hits the watermark that the best soundtracks are able to reach. But 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. This disc also includes a 4.0 surround option, Spanish and French language tracks, and subtitles in English, Spanish, Mandarin, and Korean.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes a quartet of short, retrospective featurettes, some deleted scenes, and two of the film’s theatrical trailers.