Windrider (Blu-ray)

October 11, 2018 6 Min Read

Review by: Jake Keet

Plot: What’s it about?

MVD Rewind Collection specializes in distributing films that provide a feeling of nostalgia for cult film collectors and aficionados. I have been really impressed with their film selections so far. They are not restricted by genre but more by a feeling the films bring back to the customer. All of the titles have cases that remind the viewer of the bygone era of local video rental stores. I appreciate their work because I never would have even heard of most of their releases if they were not featured by them. Windrider is a great example of a title that would have never graced my screen if they had not released it.

Windrider stars Tom Birlinson as Stewart “P.C.” Thompson. Living in Australia, P.C. has a lot going for him. He works for his father’s engineering firm and is very successful despite feeling more passion for the sport of windsurfing than for his day job. P.C. can always pull ideas out of his hat when pressed by his father, Stewart Sr. (Charles Bud Tingwell.) One idea is an indoor surfing simulator that uses the contours of a mountain to create waves. Stewart has a genius physician named Howard (Simon Chilvers) who helps him along with a sassy secretary named Ms. Dodge (Jill Perryman.) When Stewart performs a 360 while windsurfing, the only person who sees him is struggling female rocker Jade (a young Nicole Kidman.) Seeking her out, Stewart tries to woo Jade. When they become romantically involved Stewart attempts to get ready for a national windsurfing competition where he plans to defeat his nemesis, Coyote (Kim Bullad.)

Let me tell you what you are going to be in for if you check this movie out:

A shark attack, a goofy seal visit, Eighties style music video sequences, in-door surfing arenas named Surferama, big hair, goofy romantic sequences, extended windsurfing scenes, a sex scene with Nicole Kidman singing the song that plays over it, and much more!

This movie is so goofy but it brings back memories of my early childhood. It is very Australian and features Nicole Kidman in her native tongue with huge hair singing her heart out. Tom Birlinson is enjoyable in the lead role and capably plays the handsome leading man. But, let’s not kid ourselves. This movie is not exactly a showcase for competent filmmaking. This movie, like many other Eighties movies, was designed to show off a fad. In this case, this was the windsurfing movie like Rad was the BMX movie or Vision Quest was the wrestling movie or Breakin’ was the breakdancing film or The Karate Kid  was the karate film. There is a lot of fun to be had here and if you are looking for a sun soaked Australian film that dresses in pink wetsuits, this is your film.

For myself, I thought the movie was a blast. Kudos to MVD Rewind for releasing it.

Video: How’s it look?

MVD Rewind have provided an excellent transfer of the film using an MPEG-4 AVC codec of a brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negatives provided from MGM. This is a great looking transfer that does have a little bit of specking and has some of the softness and graininess that is common to releases from the Eighties. This film’s look has actually aged well and the film looks very nice on Blu-ray thanks to the loud colors used in the film. I was very pleased with the transfer and feel like fans will be thrilled.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The movie is as loud as Nicole Kidman’s hair choices in the film. The music by Kevin Peek is Eighties synth cheese and the song “Young Days” by Boyd Wilson is straight out of the Kenny Loggins songbook. In other words, this soundtrack is rad. Get ready to have some fun and enjoy the track and Nicole Kidman belting out some tunes.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Windsurfing Promo
  • Photo Gallery
  • ‘Young Days” Music Promo Video
  • Music Promo featuring Nicole Kidman
  • Audio Commentary – Director Vince Monton and Writer Everett De Roche: this commentary is a lot of fun due to the jovial nature of the two collaborators as they laugh while the film plays. This commentary is capably moderated by Mark Bartley, Director of Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild Untold Story of Ozploitation. Really a fun track.

The Bottom Line

Windrider is an incredibly fun and incredibly shallow popcorn film about windsurfers in 1980s Australia. It is not a film that will appeal to people who take themselves seriously and only enjoy “cinema,” but for people who love a good cheesy nostalgic romp, it does not get much more nostalgic or cheesy than this.

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