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Blu-ray Review HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Point Break - Special Edition (1 Viewer)

Michael Osadciw

Jun 24, 2003
Real Name
Michael Osadciw
Blu-ray Disc Review


Special Edition

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Film Year: 1991
Film Length: 120 minutes
Genre: Action/Crime/Sport

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Colour/B&W: Colour

BD Specifications:
Resolution: 1080/24p
Video Codec: AVC @ 28MBPS
Disc Size: BD-50

English DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio
English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
English Dolby Digital 4.0 Surround
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
French Dolby Digital 2.0 surround

Subtitles: French, Spanish, Mandarin, Korean
Film Rating:

Release Date: July 01, 2008.

Rating: :star: :star: :star:
/ :star: :star: :star: :star: :star:

Starring: Patrick Swayze (Bodhi), Keanu Reeves (FBI Special Agent Johnny Utah), Gary Busey (FBI Agent Angelo Pappas), Lori Petty (Tyler Ann Endicott), John C. McGinley (FBI Agent Ben Harp)

Written by: Rick King & W. Peter Iliff
Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow

100% Pure Adrenaline.

It’s been almost two years since Point Break was last released on DVD. It must be a successful catalogue title for Fox since there have been several DVD releases over the years, and now, no surprise, it’s released on a format that seems adrenaline-pumped compared to DVD. It’s a film of macho-ism and egos of surfing and skydiving. Nice… Does this hyper-active disc deliver more than its sedated ancestor, the DVD? Yes, and no.

The film stars post-Ghost Patrick Swayze and pre-digital Keanu Reeves. Reeves’ character, Johnny Utah (yes, like Joe Montana), an ex-university football player turned FBI agent, is trying to crack down on the Dead Presidents – a non-violent group of bank robbers who have successfully robbed over thirty banks in L.A.. The cops have given up on these “ghosts” but Utah is determined to crack the case and be a hero.

By looking at surveillance videos, Utah and his partner Pappas think the robbers are a bunch of surfers based on their tan lines above the waistline (don’t ask), so Utah goes undercover to be a surfer dude at the taxpayer’s expense. Anything that works, right?! He befriends a lovely babe with attitude who shows him how to surf and becomes very involved with a group of surfers who teach him a more holistic approach to the sport. As Utah rides the wave of his new profession he picks up the clues to identify the Dead Presidents.

The more I watch this film, the more I’m able to pick it apart. Cops have too much attitude; too much television-like baby talk, too much phoney macho-ism. Maybe that’s just how director Kathryn Bigelow perceives men. Still, I love the film. It works the way it is. I understand. Maybe I bought Bodhi’s holistic approach and applied it to the film. My BD collection feels more complete. Sweet. Point Break, dude. You can’t go wrong. Or can you?

The BD is a welcomed addition to the collection as it allows me to unload my DVD. The picture quality is an HD step up and the features are identical to the Pure Adrenaline Edition released in October 2006. Beyond that, this BD is not adrenaline pumped, so that may be why Fox has not carried over that identification. It would take a lot to load up this disc!

VIDEO QUALITY :star: :star: :star:
/ :star: :star: :star: :star: :star:

This HD presentation improves on the DVD’s dated appearance only in terms of resolution. Titles are more defined. More depth is seen in the image. Some fine details come through. After viewing it in HD, I know this 2.35:1 film intended to look a bit drab. It’s always been this way. It has a muted colour palate and lacks a vividness that one might expect: vivid blue water and gorgeous sunsets. The beach scenes are dull, the water lacks true blue (actually I find it quite accurate), the sky isn’t exactly blue either…it’s all dull. Skin tones are a bit pale and even surf boards, which in theory seem to be vibrant looking, is lacking that “pop”. But then this is a film based on secrecy and deceit, so maybe there was an intention to hide the real look, or to at least make the image fall in line with the footage of slow-motion shots of waves crashing. Those shots change the appearance of the film considerably, so for consistency I can see why the whole movie appears with that look.

Grain is abundant and works wonderfully with this film, especially during surfing and skydiving shots. It was apparent on the DVD and is even more so on this BD. It looks like a release print as I literally felt like I was watching this in a theatre. Whether all grain was left with full integrity is a mystery, but I think it has been since there doesn’t appear to be any reduction involved. The compression bitrate (according to Fox is AVC 28MBPS) is high enough to translate the grain properly without looking unnatural. No over sharpening edge enhancement is applied either. It’s as smooth as a bikini bottom on a surfboard.

AUDIO QUALITY :star: :star: :star: / :star: :star: :star: :star: :star:

Returning to this film is a DTS-encoded 5.1 mix – and lossless as well. Both the 5.1 and 4.0 Dolby Digital encodings have been preserved on this release.

I couldn’t successfully activate the 4.0 mix as my surrounds were buzzing every time I selected it (an intermittent Panasonic BD player issue). There are big differences between the 4.0 and 5.1 mixes. The 4.0 soundtrack (the theatrical mix) is more in-your-face when comparing it directly to the 5.1 mix. The dialogue on the 5.1 mix is mixed lower in level allowing the side channels to become more distinct. Any distortion or noise that existed on the 4.0 mix’s dialogue track is still present in the 5.1 version so no effort has been made to clean it up per se. The 5.1 version seems to make the soundtrack more presentable in a home theatre environment. It’s easier to listen to and much more comfortable on the ears. Even though it’s a little hot in the treble, it’s also not as bright and there is a decent amount of bass directed to the LFE.

The discrete surround channel mix does utilize separate left and right surrounds for effects. They are reserved mostly for environmental sounds such as seagulls squawking in the distance. It’s nice to have discrete left/right effects rather than huge mono sound behind your head, but some may like the loudness and aggressiveness of the 4.0 surrounds better. The 5.1 surround channel is lower in contrast to the 4.0, but it maintained the same volume as the rest of the channels in the 5.1 mix. It is also used more sparingly. Surround information in the 5.1 soundtrack is effective by the front channel mix; some of the recorded content wraps behind the listener.

The front channels on both mixes are powerful with sound effects; the roaring of the crashing waves delivers outbursts of bass in the main channels with good dynamic range. The soundtrack sounds dated exhibiting an obviously restrained sound to gun shots during the opening credits. These shots emit exclusively from the center speaker with little to no ambience in the rest of the channels. “Hard” effects like this are very direct and sometimes doesn’t work that well – I always find it better if the sound design uses all channels to help create space around a sound. Given the limited fidelity and dynamics, I can’t say it’s an excellent soundtrack, but it still provides a satisfying audio experience. The difference between the Dolby Digital and DTS is obviously lossy (Dolby) vs. lossless (DTS), and Dolby Digital is a few dB quieter because of the dialnorm feature.

TACTILE FUN!! :star: :star: / :star: :star: :star: :star: :star:

Using the tactile transducer on this title made the viewing experience fun. The bass used for the ocean sounds rumbles underneath you. It makes you want to take up a surfboard and stand on while you watch! Go for it brah!

SPECIAL FEATURES :star: :star: / :star: :star: :star: :star: :star:

The same features that appeared on the Pure Adrenaline Edition appear on this disc. A whopping eight deleted scenes is included on this disc, all of which look awful. They are sourced from some bad-looking tape with a runtime on it. It also seems like some of these scenes aren’t presented in their entirety and judging by the runtime at the bottom (the last deleted scene had the film time at 2hrs28min) there are probably more scenes that could have been included (unless they were truly awful!) They total about 5 minutes and most of them run on average of 25 seconds.

Four featurettes are included as well. They are all widescreen enhanced and most are new interviews with Swayze, other actors, and production (no Keanu). It’s Make or Break is the first featurette (23.03) and talks about the films beginnings from writing to financing, casting and filming. There’s some great discussion here that you won’t want to miss.

The Ride the Wave (6.08) featurette talks about waves, surfer culture, the spiritualness of it. It’s short but sweet. Also just as short is Adrenaline Junkies (6.02) and those being interviewed discuss what they do for thrills (think skydiving).

The last features actors BoJesse Christopher and John Philbin (who played two surfers in the film) at Leo Carillo State Beach in the On Location: Malibu featurette (8.32). These guys just laugh with their memories of filming on the beach, etc., like two friends hanging out.

The disc also has a still gallery (25 stills) and three theatrical trailers. There are also four FORCED trailers when the disc is first inserted (Jumper, Man on Fire, Live Free or Die Hard, Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer). They are not selectable from the trailer menu. They just serve to annoy us when we want to watch the movie instead!


Adding a bit of adventure to your life can be an awesome experience. But not everyone will take that leap despite their desire to do so. Films like Point Break help those of us who want to get closer to that experience and watching it on a big screen could fill that adventurous desire. Plus, it’s great entertainment and with HD, we're now much more closer to that experience.

Mike Osadciw
June 26, 2008.

Review System

Dave Mack

Senior HTF Member
Jan 28, 2002
nice review Mike!

Wow, a film that actually has "natural looking colors"

thanks god. I'm SO sick of this current trend of pumped up, blown out contreasty, heavily oversaturated colors look that is so prevalent today.

Michael Osadciw

Jun 24, 2003
Real Name
Michael Osadciw

Glad you liked the review! My pet peeve?: display devices that don't offer proper colour management so we can see correct colour ...well, that pretty much includes them all!!


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