Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Point Break (1991)

Seen: In HD on my parents' tv, on one of those wacky movie channels. Encore, maybe?

It's time for another edition of "Watching movies on my parents' awesome cable" THEATERRRR. It's a thing I do most times I visit my parents because they have... cable. Anyway. I caught Point Break the day before Thanksgiving, and though I'd seen it before, I'll admit I barely remembered it so it was kind of like watching it for the first time. For the most part it follows around Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves), a young FBI agent who goes undercover as a surfer dude because his partner Pappas (Gary Busey) is convinced a gang of successful bank robbers are actually local surfers. Johnny gets in with a group of adrenaline-junkie guys led by preachy guru Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) and they become best frenemies. He also dates badass surfer lady Tyler (Lori Petty). And then a lot of action scenes happen, for like three hours.

Blending "100% Pure Adrenaline" thrills with a cat-and-mouse bro-ship, Point Break is the kind of movie that's legitimately awesome while also really hard to take seriously because it's so ridiculous. And I love that combination! Sure, it's overlong (uh HELLO it's a Kathryn Bigelow movie) and dwells within a specific early-90s cheese in its exploration of surfer culture, but the action sequences are fantastic and the characters are strong. The raid on some surfer drug dealers is just excellent, with a closed-in shooting style and gruesome violence (and Tom Sizemore!) and of course there are numerous awesome surfing scenes and a couple of exciting bank robberies. And multiple instances of sky-diving, because for some reason that's Bodhi's main escape plan every time he's in trouble.

The story is a bit dragged out, but I enjoyed the performances and focus on relationships, as we watch Johnny maybe losing some of his FBI edge as he sinks deeper into his undercover role. I do love Keanu all tortured and brooding, it's adorable, but Lori Petty is secretly the stand-out because she's a badass and she's the main character with a sense of humor besides Gary Busey. Patrick Swayze is great as Bodhi but I was sort of unsettled by him because I really didn't remember his character being so... unhinged? Like, I thought of him as this laid-back dude who just wanted to catch the perfect wave and also rob a bank or two, but as the film progresses you see his weird philosophy and the way he draws confused younger men to him and gets them to carry out his orders, and it's decidedly creepier than my memory. Makes for a more compelling villain though, since he really does seem like an ok dude most of the time and it's hard to know whom to root for.

Ok, Point Break! Fun!


Pair This Movie With: Well Hot Fuzz comes to mind for obvious reasons, wouldn't that be an entertaining evening?

PS For those of you who for some reason don't track my every tweet obsessively, here's my live-tweet of the film. I became more tired and therefore slightly more silly as it progressed.


  1. Hard to believe the same woman who made 'The Hurt Locker' made this too. One of these days I've gotta see this.

    You should post your live-tweets here more often.

  2. Rich: While she's dealt with different genres and themes in her films, there are certain parallels and tendencies that you start to see in all of them if you think about it. She's had an interesting career! POINT BREAK is a fun time, but like I said, it's hard to take it seriously even when you're supposed to! As for live-tweets, glad you support me sharing them here. I'll keep it in mind for the future.