Windrider Blu Ray Review (Umbrella Entertainment)
Windrider (aKa Wind Rider and Making Waves) is a 1986 romantic comedy film directed by Vincent Monton (Fatal Bond, Point of No Return, & The Hit). This was Vincent Monton’s directorial debut, he is mainly known for being a cinematographer. He’s worked on such films as Road Games, Thirst, Long Weekend, Heatwave, Innocent Prey, and many other productions. It was written by Everett De Roche (Patrick, Long Weekend, Harlequin, Road Games, Razorback, Link, The Quest, and Fortress) and Bonnie Harris (Street Hero, Rebel, and The Wild Duck). It was produced by Paul D. Barron (Shame 1/2, Father, Clowning Around, and Singapore Sling). This was Nicole Kidman’s first adult role. This was the first film made about wind surfing. Stewart ‘P.C.’ Simpson (played by: Tom Burlinson from The Man from Snowy River, Flesh + Blood, The Time Guardian, and Fragments of Terror) lives two completely different lives. One of them is working at a corporate office for his father Stewart Simpson Sr. (played by: Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell from Murder She Said, Murder at the Gallop, Murder Most Foul, and Breaker Morant) at Simpson Engineering. The other is living his dream and being a professional wind surfer. He thinks his father is disappointed in him and he feels that he is wasting his potential by being distracted by his hobby. Miss Dodge (played by: Jill Perryman from …Maybe This Time, Homicide, & Clowning Around) always keep him in line and makes sure he focuses on his work when he’s there. One morning, P.C. pulls off the impossible when practicing and notices Jade (played by: Nicole Kidman from Days of Thunder, Bombshell, The Goldfinch, Aquaman, Batman Forever, and BMX Bandits) as his only witness. None of his friends believe him so he is determined to find this mysterious woman. Soon after, a music video comes on and that same stranger is the lead singer of the band. P.C tracks down Jade and the unexpected happens between both of them. They start to fall for each other in no time. After a close call with a shark and getting embarrassed by being saved by his rival Coyote (played by: Kim Bullad) P.C. steps away from the game. He starts to drift away from his relationship with Jade and gets way behind on his work. After being down in the dumps, he gets pushed in the right direction and realizes all his mistakes. He seeks redemption and makes changes in his life. More determined than ever, he goes against Coyote in a competition to finally prove who’s the best in their sport!!!!
Windrider is a truly different experience when it comes to the romantic and 80s teen comedies. I haven’t seen too many features about surfing so that somewhat new to me also. You have to appreciate the balls this production had for being a late 80s teen flick. Those were very popular at the time but they were super tame when it came to ratings and material that pushed the limits. This feature had a decent amount of foul language and it wasn’t shy to be sexy at all. As a matter of fact, this was the first time that Nicole Kidman got nude in a movie. She looked amazing in this so that’s a easy selling point for this. Tom Burlinson was a solid lead here and he had good chemistry with Kidman for this. Most American audiences wouldn’t be familiar with them but this production had a strong supporting cast which included Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell, Simon Chilvers, Stig Wemyss, Alastair G. Cumming, Matt Parkinson, Jill Perryman, and Alistair Browning. It had a cool atmosphere for both the surfing and rock worlds in this. My favorite scene was when the shark attacked the lead character. The shark looked great and it’s a shame it didn’t get used more in this film. It don’t happen too much on reviews but Windrider really surprised me and went way above my expectations for it, RECOMMENDED!!!! Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Umbrella Entertainment! The 1080p (1.78:1) transfer is definitely a big improvement over the older DVD and VHS releases from back in the day. This is a brand new 4K restoration. It’s an upgrade compared to the MVD Rewind home video blu ray from years ago that Umbrella Entertainment actually helped with. Don’t go into this expecting something that’s reference quality or anything like that, it still has print damage every once in awhile but it’s nothing major. It kinda feels like something you would see at the drive in so it actually fits the feature & adds to the nostalgia. It looks very solid for it’s age especially the water scenes, this is the best that this film has ever looked on home video! The English: LPCM 2.0 track really shines when it comes to the soundtrack for the production. Considering one of the main characters is in a band, music is a huge part of Windrider. That main song gets stuck in your head real easy & if you are a 80s fans you will appreciate the entire score for this. The dialogue is very clean here. It also has English subtitles.Let’s discuss the special features from Umbrella Entertainment! It has an “Audio Commentary” with director Vince Monton and writer Everett De Roche moderated by Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!, Machete Maidens Unleashed!, and Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films documentary filmmaker Mark Hartley. They talk about the film having similarities to Risky Business. They explain why the name was changed from Making Waves to Windrider. They talk about how it should have two versions released. One for the teens it was aimed for and the Rated R cut for everyone else. They mention that’s why it probably didn’t do that great at the box office. They chat about Tom Burlinson doing most of his own stunts in this. They bring up that it originally had a completely different cast. They joke about it being the first wind surfer film and possibly the only one ever made. Nicole Kidman forced them to remove various nude scenes from this feature years later when she became a big star. A hilarious conversation after this is started, they point out all the nude scenes she’s done since this production. They discuss the cast, crew, and locations of Windrider. It’s a great track that’s full of plenty of information and facts about this. It has the exclusive little over 5 minute interview “Running Hot” with director Vince Monton and writer Everett De Roche that’s only available on this release. It has chats from the “Not Quite Hollywood” documentary on it. They talk about the same stuff as the commentary here. They bring up doing a unique surf feature, the cast, and the controversy over the years for it. They go into how stuff has been removed since the lead has become a major star. They bring up that it missed it’s mark and it was too late during the teen movie craze. They say it didn’t do great at the box office and it was tame compared to darker stuff at the time. It has the 40 second “Extended and Uncut Bedroom Scene” that wasn’t on the previous MVD Rewind Collection home video release. It has some additional Kidman nudity that she had removed from the re-release when she became a bigger star in America. After that you get multiple promotional material for the production which include the 1 minute “Music Promo” which features Nicole Kidman, the almost 2 minute “Young Days Music Promo Video” that features various clips from the film, the almost 3 minute “Windsurfing Promo” that has footage of people enjoying the sport that’s the main focus on this flick, a little over a minute “Photo Gallery”, a “TV Spot” that wasn’t on the MVD release, and a “Theatrical Trailer” for this. It also comes with a slipcover, notes from the director, and different artwork underneath. This is definitely a very unique romantic comedy and it was actually way better than I thought it would be! Recommended for Tom Burlinson, Nicole Kidman, Australian cinema, 80’s movie fans, and surfing fanatics. It’s actually an all region release despite only listing B on the back. It’s a part of the Ozploitation Classics line from Umbrella Entertainment. It’s available everywhere in Australia right now, check it out!!!!