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Point Break: Pure Adrenaline Edition

Surf's up! Director Kathryn Bigelow takes Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze on some excellent and extreme adventures in the cliché-filled Point Break. Reeves is rookie FBI agent Johnny Utah, who gets partnered with grumpy veteran Angelo Pappas (Gary Busey) in the investigation of a series of bank robberies in Los Angeles (can you say Lethal Weapon?). Naturally, everything these two misfits do irritates their by-the-book boss, but it wouldn't be any fun if they followed the rules. Seems Pappas has a theory that the guys pulling the heists (who wear masks of ex-presidents during the robberies) are surfers. It's up to the Midwestern-raised Utah to learn to surf in order to infiltrate this world of wave-chasers. Utah convinces local girl Tyler (Lori Petty) to teach him to surf, and soon she introduces him to surfing guru Bodhi (Swayze, in desperate need of a hairdresser), who preaches that surfing is "…a state of mind — a place where you lose yourself and you find yourself." Tyler also becomes Utah's love interest, as well as the necessary element that will make him vulnerable to the bad guys. Utah has a run-in with some surfer-thugs he suspects are behind the robberies, and an exciting FBI bust ensues — but it turns out these guys are just drug dealers and sleazebags. Thus, Utah realizes the guys he's looking for are the ones he has befriended — Bohdi and his band of merry pranksters. Utah's cover is blown and everyone finds out who everyone else is, but everyone pretends like they don't know. This makes the behavior of the characters seem a bit ridiculous, but the script leans heavily on the "kidnapping-the-girlfriend" ploy to take the action to higher levels (literally). Unfortunately, the ending is ludicrous and closes the film on a weak note (note the laughable mixed-weather editing in the final beach scene, with angles showing blue sky and huge waves intermixed with shots in the same scene with backgrounds on a rainy beach with almost no surf). Most of the acting in Point Break is better than might be expected — Reeves and Busey have good chemistry, and Swayze is convincing as a surfer bum. All in all, the film's mixed bag of crime story and action serves well for light entertainment, and there are enough high-adrenaline surfing and skydiving scenes — some of the master shots of the action are astonishingly beautiful — to make it a pleasant diversion. As Bohdi says, "If you want the ultimate, you've got to be willing to pay the ultimate price." Here the ultimate price is taking the good with the bad. Fox's second DVD release of Point Break arrives in a "Pure Adrenaline Edition" with a solid anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) and both Dolby Digital 5.1 and 4.0 audio. Extras include the featurettes "It's Make or Break" (22 min.), "Ride the Wave" (6 min.), "Adrenaline Junkies" (6 min.), and "On Location: Malibu" (8 min.), eight deleted scenes, three trailers, and a stills gallery. Keep-case.
—Kerry Fall



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