PicturePoint Break comes to Blu-ray probably looking better than it ever has before over the last seventeen years. It is presented with a solid 1080p High Definition rendition in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 widescreen. Detail remains strong throughout, even during some of the darkest sequences (the night surf is a prime example). There is very little grain, negligible softness and the clarity is retained in all of the varied scenes. Skin tones look realistic and healthy throughout. The colour scheme is quite broad, from the sun-drenched beach sequences to the clinical robbery-homicide department, with the daytime surfing set-pieces the absolute pinnacle of the video material on offer - beautiful deep blue sea, crested with white tips and set against the gorgeous sunny blue sky. There are moments when the scenery looks marginally faded - the raid being a prime example - but I think this is dependent on the setting, and seems quite intentional. Black levels are astounding - as previously mentioned - the night surfing and night American football sequences top notch. There are momentary lapses (the shot where Johnny's lying awake in a black bed looks quite fuzzy for a Blu-ray rendition, the foot-chase sequence's handheld moments suffer even some of the surfing scenes do not look perfect), but overall this movie has simply never looked better.
SoundTo accompany the movie on the aural side we get a DTS-HD Master Lossless Audio track, and technically things can't get much better than that. The movie is chock full of loud, boisterous set-pieces which, despite the production's age, still come across well and give the track plenty of punch. Dialogue is presented clearly and coherently (PS3 updates notwithstanding), whether the pretentious philosophical musings or the shouts and screams during the action scenes. Effects range from the crashing of waves to the crashing of cars, with explosions and plenty of powerful gunshots whizzing around your living room. The score is perfectly suited to the material, emotive during the surf and skydiving sequences, or more beat-laden for the chases, with a few song tracks thrown into the mix. Bass kicks in whenever necessary and whilst it doesn't stand up alongside any recent Hollywood blockbusters it is still a noteworthy effort and easily the best audio presentation the movie has ever received.
ExtrasPorting over everything from the relatively recent 'Pure Adrenaline' DVD release, the extras present here are still a little thin on the ground (there's still no Commentary from any of the parties involved), but at least this will make a decent definitive edition for fans to own. First up we get ten minutes' worth of Deleted Scenes. Many of them are mere scene extensions and (some amusing) one-liners, and the presentation is appalling - I assume the videotape source material must have been impossible to clean up better than this - but it is still nice to have them here, and fans will certainly want to give them a once-over.
There are four Featurettes - It's Make or Break, Ride the Wave, Adrenaline Junkies and On Location: Malibu - which divulge snippets about the production, as well as contain some Behind the Scenes footage of the movie being shot - but much of it is promotional. The Featurettes all accompany one another well, done in the same style and potential edited from one complete Documentary. There are also some 2006 interviews for the relatively new release, with all the major actors - Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze, Lori Petty and Gary Busey - contributing, alongside the Director Kathryn Bigelow and s ome of the other crew members. Their insight is limited, but it is still nice to hear them look back at this classic after all these years. Finally there are some disappointing stills in a lacklustre gallery to round off the proceedings, along with three of the movie's original trailers. There are also some previews/trailers on disc startup, including the disappointing Jumper (Anakin is officially the new Orlando Bloom in the wooden actor charts) and the superior Denzel Washington thriller Man On Fire.
VerdictPoint Break is an all-time classic. It has been borrowed and stolen from countless times since its creation but nothing can take away from the enjoyment of the original. As individual elements, it is almost impossible to understand how it works, to even justify its very existence, but as a whole it is a work of genius, one of the best action thrillers ever made, up there with the likes of Die Hard and Lethal Weapon. This new Blu-ray release really does the movie justice as well, with superior video and audio that presents the movie better than ever before. And whilst the extras offer nothing new, at least we get all those present on the relatively recent DVD special edition. Overall, fans should have no hesitation in picking this up for their collection. Newcomers, if there truly are any, should definitely check it out, although your opinion may be tarnished by having no doubt seen some of the numerous imitations that have been made since. Nevertheless, this classic comes highly recommended.
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