|Category||Action||Theatrical Trailer(s)||Yes, 1 - 1.78:1, non-16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono|
|Year Released||1991||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||117:10 Minutes||Other Extras||None|
Fox Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Dolby Digital||5.1|
||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192Kb/s)|
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
As Johnny surfs, and manages to get himself entangled in some surfer territorialism, he is set upon by a foursome of thugs, including one curious-looking man referred to as Tone (a cameo appearance by Red Hot Chili Peppers vocalist Anthony Keidis). What makes this cameo all the more curious is that it occurred in a film that went into its theatrical run here just as the band's single Under The Bridge (the one that made them as famous as they are today) was released. Johnny puts up a brave fight but is eventually overwhelmed by his four opponents, at least until the enigmatic surfing guru Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) appears. Soon, Johnny and Bodhi form a bond, and Johnny is slowly welcomed into the tribe of surfers that Bodhi is more or less the leader of. Complicating the issue to a small degree is the fact that Tyler and Bodhi were once an item, but this element of the story is rather curiously underplayed in a fashion that is actually believable. Johnny and Pappas execute a raid on the surf-thugs who attacked Johnny, believing them to be the notorious Ex-Presidents, and discovering that they couldn't possibly be. After this sequence, a rather shoddily-executed scene follows in which Johnny comes to the realization that Bodhi and his group are in fact the Ex-Presidents. I can't help but feel that some kind of flashback or overdub would have helped this scene make a little more sense. Anyway, a series of chase sequences ensue, the first of which makes Bodhi aware of Johnny's true occupation. This is where the James Cameron influence of this film really takes off, with car chases and violence helping to move the story along at a nice pace. The sequence in which Bodhi, dressed up as Ronald Reagan, uses a combination of a petrol pump and a Zippo to torch a petrol station could have been made a little more amusing by having him singe a giant-sized copy of the U.S. Constitution, but the sequence is an exciting action feast as it is.
If you enjoy action, then you will certainly enjoy Point Break, although it does have a slightly limited replay value. Why Kathryn Bigelow hasn't been assigned to direct more films of this variety is beyond me, as her more recent piece of work, Strange Days, is a riveting piece of science fiction that should be transferred to DVD immediately (yes, Fox, that's a demand). I would consider this film to be worthy of buying due to the fact that it sustains viewing at least a couple of times a month.
The colours were a little muted, but this is another artistic choice rather than any fault of the transfer. Skin tones were absolutely spot-on and perfectly natural, as opposed to the slightly red look I have grown used to with the last few transfers I have looked at. There were no instances of chroma noise or colour bleeding at any point in this film. No MPEG artefacts were apparent at any point in the film, which is remarkable when one considers the amount of scenes in this film that are comprised of blurred water backgrounds. Film-to-video artefacts were more or less completely absent, with only one or two very minor instances of aliasing occurring at points where they are hard to notice, let alone remember. Film artefacts were minimal, with only the odd vertical line showing up towards the end of the film for maybe about fifty or so frames. The only real noticeable occurrence is during the skydiving sequence that takes place before the last robbery, where a thin vertical line takes up the entire height of the frame for a second or two.
This disc is presented in the RSDL format, with the layer change occurring at 57:00, during Chapter 10. Unfortunately, a new player certainly doesn't hide the change completely, as there is a very slight pause which you can miss on the first viewing, but my amplifier helped make it very easy to notice. Given that it is also in the middle of a walk, it's not as if the placement was very judicious. Placing this layer change between Chapters 9 and 10 would have been preferred since the two Chapters do not blend into one another to begin with.
The score music was composed by Mark Isham and "supervised", according to the credits, by Gary Goetzman and Sharon Boyle. This makes it hard to know who to give credit for this music to, and that is a damned shame because it is brilliant music that augments the on-screen action very well. Granted, it is no Star Wars score, but the compositions on offer here really augment the mood of the scenes in a way that few other scores do. I wonder if there is some kind of fancy term for the marriage of musical phrases to pure emotions, because enough composers in the film scoring world (and in the truly alternative musical world) do it with such grace that it must be some kind of recognized art.
The surround presence was subtle, and created a great augmentation for the on-screen action that gets the emotions of the viewer rising at the appropriate times, and even the end of the night-surfing sequence is made all the more impactful by the surrounds. I'm not an outdoors kind of person, but this soundtrack just literally made me feel as if I was sitting right there on a beach watching the interactions between the characters in some scenes. The sound effects were given a fairly wide stage, which is certainly very good considering the number of deep gunshot sounds there are in a number of sequences. Sadly, the soundfield given to the score music was a little narrow, but reflective of the way in which the score music was used in the theatrical presentation. It has a certain kind of shrill and ethereal quality to it.
The subwoofer was used quite heavily to support the waves and gunshots, amongst other things such as fattening the score music, and was very well integrated into the overall sound scheme. This is how a Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround mix should be done.
The video quality is almost identical to the original theatrical version, warts and all. Even the inherent problems in the original theatrical exhibition are identically represented in the DVD.
The audio quality is quite simply the best Dolby Digital 2.0 surround soundtrack you will ever hear. It is a superb example of the right way to encode a 2.0 surround mix, and immersive to a degree that few other DVDs match.
The extras are light, but the theatrical trailer is certainly nothing to turn your nose up at.
|DVD||Grundig GDV 100 D, using composite output; Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output|
|Display||Panasonic TC-29R20 (68 cm), 4:3 mode, using composite input; Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm), 16:9 mode/4:3 mode, using composite and S-video inputs|
|Audio Decoder||Built In (Amplifier)|
|Speakers||Panasonic S-J1500D Front Speakers, Sharp CP-303A Back Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Subwoofer|