Windrider [Collector’s Edition]

Studio: MVD Rewind

Aug 06, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Stewart “P.C.” Simpson (Tom Burlinson) is the coolest bro in Australia – a renowned windsurfer, ladykiller, and successful inventor. The son of an absurdly wealthy tech mogul, P.C. isn’t used to hearing the word ‘No.” While popping a sick flip on his surfboard, he falls head-over-heels for an up-and-coming rock star, Jade (Nicole Kidman), and makes her heart his #1 priority. As soon as romance blooms, though, his new girlfriend becomes secondary to a big windsurfing competition. Will he choose the sport he loves, or the girl he loves? Is it possible for him to have both?

Our caddish hero, P.C. Simpson, has that sort of aggressive, Ferris Bueller-esque “cool” which borders on sociopathy, and feels almost distinctive to 1980s teen-oriented comedies. (He repeatedly “kidnaps” Jade throughout the movie, forcing her on dates against her will – physically carrying her away from a recording session, and at one point even paying to have her car towed with her inside – which comes off as pretty awful by today’s standards.) An Australian production, Windrider pushes the edges just a little bit further than that Hughes-ian high school fare, filling in the rarely-seen gap between edgy teen movies like Sixteen Candles and the full-on, R-rated raunch of Porky’s and its many followers. The results feel a little weird as Windrider seems like something that should have been meant to appeal to young boys, but a few tame nude scenes and some scenes of characters enjoying alcoholic beverages instead earned it an R rating.

Thankfully, Windrider has aged better than many similar films from the era, and that’s thanks to Burlinson’s charismatic performance, which makes likeable a character who might’ve come off as a real skeezebag under different casting. Best known from 1982’s The Man From Snowy River, Burlinson’s casual air makes his character’s pushiness seem light and in jest, rather than threatening. There’s a significant (but ultimately brief) tonal shift midway through the film, which Burlinson handles smoothly. Of course, Kidman is now the bigger star in the picture; here, though, she seems to still be feeling her way into the industry with a good if not particularly inspired performance. She handles her own musical numbers as the on-the-rise rock and roller, not yet showing off any the exciting flair she’d exhibit later in Moulin Rouge – though, that could have as much to do with the lackluster songs she was given to sing as anything else.

As part of the MVD Rewind series, this release of Windrider has some incredible packaging – with fake rental stickers and a blue “Play” screen that appears when the disc is inserted, sure to trigger nostalgic feelings in anyone who fell in love with movies during the VHS era. Extra features include an audio commentary by the director and co-writer, a handful of promo videos focusing on the movie’s music and windsurfing content, a photo gallery and trailers.



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