Point Break (1991)

Point Break

Genre: Action/Adventure

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze, Gary Busey

Synopsis: A rookie FBI agent infiltrates a group of surfers to find out if they are robbing banks.

A few years ago, Kathryn Bigelow directed one of the most critically successful movies of all time. The Hurt Locker is a well-acted and brilliantly shot war film. My brother also tells me that it is startlingly accurate when portraying what an explosion does to your body: there is no slow-motion action shot through the air, just a person’s body rupturing. Looking her recent accolades you may never have guessed that she also directed Point Break, one of the most hilariously bizarre films to ever bless movie-goers with its presence.

Point Break follows a rookie FBI agent named Johnny Utah, brilliantly played by Keanu Reeves in a rather two dimensional fashion. Johnny is on the hunt for a bunch of bank-robbers known as the ex-Presidents because they use masks of former Presidents Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Jimmy Carter to disguise their identities. Suspecting that the robbers are actually surfers, Johnny infiltrates the surfer clique by banging some chick. While undercover, he meets and befriends a ruggedly handsome devil-may-care surfer by the name of Bodhi, played by a rather delicious looking Patrick Swayze, may he rest in peace. But is Bodhi somehow involved in the bank robberies? It turns out he is actually the ringleader, Ronald Reagan.

Ronald ReaganThe thieving bastard!

To be honest, I avoided this movie for a long time because I thought it sounded really dumb. After watching this movie I can confirm that it is one of the stupidest films I have ever seen. The best thing about this movie, however, is that it knows how ridiculous it is and really goes for it. I don’t think anyone in this movie honestly thought they were making The Godfather. I mean, in what kind of world would Gary Busey actually be an FBI agent?

Gary Busey Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity, Bat-shit Insanity

It’s easy to see why a film like Hot Fuzz parodies it so much: there are so many weirdly funny moments. For instance, there is one scene in which Johnny is chasing Ronald Reagan through a bunch of back gardens. He turns a corner and, out of nowhere, Ronald Reagan throws a pitbull at Johnny’s face. A God damn pitbull! That will now be my tactic if I’m ever being chased by the police. There’s also this other scene where Keanu almost gets his face ripped off by a lawnmower. That shit was intense!

In fact, if I were to describe this movie in one word it would be “intense”. This is a movie that glamorises the adrenaline junky lifestyle through a series of crazy action scenes. Strangely enough though, the action has a spiritual aspect. Bodhi is an interesting character because he appears to live a dangerous life for philosophical reasons. He uses action and stunts as a way of expressing his beliefs. Also, the shots of him out on that water were absolutely mesmerising. It’s a movie that pays homage to the mystical power of the Pacific Ocean and one man’s devotion to it. Thinking about it, it’s an aspect of the film that had a surprising level of depth. It’s something I wasn’t expecting and something which I appreciated.

High-lights:

  • Great quotes. My favourites are: “Sir! I take the skin off chicken!” and “I saved your life, bro!”
  • Beautiful shots of LA and the ocean.
  • Action coupled with a soft sense of homoeroticism.
  • The idea of surfer gangs is just brilliant.
  • Pitbull to the face.

Downers:

  • I felt that the ending was a bit of a disappointment.

Summary:

Point Break is, simply put, a bizarre movie. It’s weird and it makes no sense but it’s unique. It is a movie that shouldn’t work but defies all logic by actually working in spite of the odds. This is the sort of movie you should watch when you really want to switch your mind off. It’s sad to think that Patrick Swayze is no longer around but it’s good to know he gave the world such a wonderful gift…the gift of pitbull lobbing. Thank you Patrick.

9/10

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16 Comments

Filed under Action/Adventure, Great

16 responses to “Point Break (1991)

  1. Point Break is exellent. Fact!

  2. I fell asleep whilst watching this film and I’m so pissed I missed out on the pitbull throwing. Maybe it’s time for a re-watch!

  3. A total classic from beginning to end. As cheesy as it may be, it still captures my heart and soul every time. And no, I am not lying. Good review.

    • It’s such a fun movie. It’s the perfect example of how even bad cinema can be good cinema if it pokes fun of itself in the right way. Proof that with the right director and actors, even a terrible idea can yield great results.

  4. I was stuck on this wild movie back in the 90s. It throws all sorts of craziness at you…. cool surfing, bank robberies, chase scenes, spirituality of danger, a pitbull, and the pitbull that is Gary Busey. I remember thinking that this movie had so much crazy packed into it, that other movies were jealous. It was pretty addicting.

  5. Abbi

    A total guilty pleasure for me. I need to watch this again. Also the Gary Busey caption literally made me lol.

  6. It’s Kathryn fucking Bigelow. “It rules” is redundant.
    (full disclosure: I haven’t seen Zero Dark Thirty yet. But every other movie she ever made is solid gold.)

  7. Cannot express how much I love this movie. Great review!

  8. Tom

    Hahah fantastic review dude — I didn’t know Bigelow was responsible for this. And you’re spot on by the way, this is one wild, weird adventure. But I think I love it. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen it though

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