John Milius’ deeply personal take on the surf generation of the ’60s is everything you’d expect from Hollywood’s last great iconoclast. It’s a sumptuous visual feast, an epic journey charting the testosterone-packed lives of three surfing buddies (Jan-Michael Vincent, William Katt and Gary Busey) and an unbelievably heavy-handed extended metaphor, as the ebb and flow of the tide is mirrored in our heroes’ lives. It’s also the best surf movie ever made and a career peak for Vincent, Katt and Busey (only Busey has sustained the level of performance he delivers here).
Despite Milius’ trademark bull-in-a-china-shop approach, this is a truly beautiful film, and Bruce Surtees’ awesome surf photography looks great on this DVD transfer. Watch the film, be amazed, then watch it again with Milius’ booming thunder-voiced commentary turned up LOUD. You can almost taste his Cuban cigar.