DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Point Break - Pure Adrenaline Edition

Michael Osadciw

Jun 24, 2003
Real Name
Michael Osadciw

Pure Adrenaline Edition

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

Aspect Ratio:

2.35:1 theatrical ratio

Colour/B&W: Colour

English 5.1 Surround

English 4.0 Surround

Spanish 2.0 mono

French 2.0 surround

Subtitles: French, Spanish
Film Rating:

Release Date: October 03, 2006.


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.

There is no other film I’d rather be writing about right now than Point Break. It’s a film of macho-ism and egos of surfing and skydiving. Nice… I love the lifestyle of adventure and adrenaline and I’m merely a few hours from leaving on my weekend getaway to Brent in Ontario’s gorgeous Algonquin Park, Northern Ontario. Now that its fall, the park’s leaves have turned colour almost 100%. Throw in some day-long hiking, some canoeing, maybe some rafting somewhere along the way...and I’ve got myself an awesome trip as the frost begins to settle.

So now that I’m hyped and prepped for this adventure, let me briefly tell you about this film Point Break. It 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 and puts together the pieces of what could be the Dead Presidents.


Presented in its 2.35:1 aspect ratio, Point Break’s film stock looks dated despite being only 15 years old. The muted colour palate lacks the vividness the film craves. The beach scenes are dull, the water lacks true blue, 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”.

As it is, the film looks good. It has very good detail and depth to the picture. Many fine details can be discerned and only a few shots look blurred in comparison. I can’t say whether or not this disc looks any different from the previous release, but my guess is probably not. This disc still has film grain that is noticeable in many shots, especially in interiors but not limited to. Action sequences when surfing and skydiving also seem to be the most susceptible. Contrast is a bit dim and many night scenes are shot day-for-night. No edge enhancement or compression artefacts pose as a distraction.


Two soundtracks are available on this DVD: a 4.0 and a (what I assume is a) newly created 5.1 mix, both encoded in Dolby Digital. The DTS soundtrack from the previous release has been dropped.

There are big differences between the two soundtracks. The 4.0 soundtrack (the theatrical mix) is louder and in-your-face when comparing it directly to the 5.1 mix. It is also a few dB louder overall. 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 new 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 level to the 4.0 but maintained at the same volume as the rest of the channels in the 5.1. 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.



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!


A whopping eight deleted scenes is included on this disc, all of which look awful. They aren’t widescreen enhanced and 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 (yay! Fox!) 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 that are ALL widescreen enhanced 2.35:1. Awesome!


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!

Mike Osadciw
September 29, 2006.


Stunt Coordinator
Jun 16, 2002
I was very disapointed with the deleted scenes.I was hoping to see the deleted scene from the trailer with Johnny and Bodie in the truck where you see Johnny firing the gun out the window and Bodie saying "this is going to be a great day Johnny",although I think one of the deleted scenes on the disc is part of the same scene.And can someone tell me what the hell has happened to Gary Busey? I was totally shocked when I saw him in the featurettes.


Stunt Coordinator
Jun 16, 2002

Maybe it did help.He's a lot thinner than i've ever seen him but he just looked spaced out like he wasn't quite all there anymore


Second Unit
May 1, 2004
I think Mr Busey was in a motorcyle accident - one of those ones where he wasn't wearing a helmet. I think that is why he is like that and why you no longer see him in films.


Colin Jacobson

Senior HTF Member
Apr 19, 2000

Busey's accident took place in 1988, so that has nothing to do with his status/appearance today. And he's still a very active working actor - go look at his filmography on IMDB...


Senior HTF Member
Feb 14, 2006
Room 303, The Heart O' The City Hotel
Real Name
I'm surprised...no Kathryn Bigelow commentary? You'd think, but oh well.

Yes, the concept is silly. Yes, the stars include names like Keanu Reeves, Gary Busey, and Lori Petty, but I get drawn into this movie every time I see it, and I think it has to do with the frenetic energy Bigelow and James Cameron bring to it. She gives you the panoramic surfing and skydiving sequences, but she also gets down and dirty with the Malibu foot chase and the siege on the wrong house (Sizemore!!).

Great stuff.


Senior HTF Member
Jan 3, 2002
I'll keep my earlier edition with the DTS. Thanks for the review, Michael.

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