50/50 Review #26: Point Break.

The general rule of thumb for the 60/60 and 50/50 was to watch films I'd never seen before. In this case, I'm relatively sure I'd only seen the majority of Point Break. But even still, it was so long ago that I barely remembered anything from it. That's why I allowed it as a choice, since it was basically like watching it for the first time anyway. The film follows a rookie FBI agent Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) and his partner, Pappas (Gary Busey). They work the bank robbery division, and are particularly focused on one case: the dead presidents robbers. Pappas has a theory that they all might actually be surfers, despite what their boss (John C. McGinley) thinks. But that leads Johnny to going undercover as a surfer to infiltrate the community. He starts off by taking some lessons from Tyler (Lori Petty), who inevitably leads him to her friends, including surfing guru, Bodhi (Patrick Swayze). And I'm sure you can figure out what happens from there.

Of course first we must bring up the acting. It is a Keanu Reeves movie, after all. He was rather perfect for the role. He might not have been the most logical "EFF. BEE. EYE. AGENT!" But he can definitely pull off the whole stoner surfer vibe (and how great is the name Johnny Utah?). And Gary Busey is having fun as his washed-up partner (no pun intended). He also sure likes his meatball subs. McGinley is also a lot of fun as their always incredibly pissed off boss. As for Swayze... This film also came out two years after Road House, so Swayze must have really been in a zen kind of mood around that time of his career. It was interesting, though, to see him play a character with similar ideals but use them in completely different ways--one to keep the peace, the other to upset it. But both Dalton and Bodhi are all about finding that inner peace.

The action is truly the standout in this movie, though. From the house raid where Keanu gets his ass kicked by a naked woman to the suspense of free falling from an airplane (once where you're not sure if the parachute is gonna open or not, and once where he's literally free falling). But best sequence in the film, though, hands down is about halfway through the movie. It starts with a car chase and then ends up on foot with Johnny chasing a masked Bodhi through yards and houses. There's even a moment where Bodhi actually throws a dog at Johnny to slow him down. And not just any tiny dog or anything. I'm relatively sure it was a freakin' pitbull. Who throws a shoe dog, honestly? And, of course, it ends with the most iconic moment in the movie (especially thanks to Hot Fuzz) with Johnny firing his gun up into the air. Such a fantastic sequence from beginning to end.

My biggest complaint is actually going to sound incredibly stupid. So I just want all of you to brace yourselves for this... there was too much surfing. Yeah, I know. I don't really mean overall... but at least in the first 45 minutes. I understand some of the scenes were important, and it wasn't really the fact they were there... but they didn't have to go on nearly as long as they did. And then there was the little night football game that dragged on a little longer than necessary. But if you know me, you know sports are kind of boring to me. So there were a lot of moments in the first 45 minutes where I was just like "OK, I get it... move on already." Also, the film broke a "Chekhov's Gun" rule. When Busey's character is introduced, he's having to learn how to pick up bricks blindfolded in the bottom of a pool as a training exercise. He even says "When will I ever need this?" You don't introduce something as out-there as that and then not have it come into play in a bank robbing surfers movie.

Overall, though, I dug it. There was some fantastic action in this movie, either because it was truly great or because it was just strange (naked woman, dog throwing, etc.). I could have done with a little less extensive surfing sequences, but I understand why they were there, obviously. Iconic moments, iconic lines... it's clear why this is a cult action flick. And it was made by a (now Oscar-winning) female director! Anywho... vaya con dios, mi amigos.

A Keanu 'Whoa'

(P.S. Why do all my Keanu movies end up with this rating? I swear I don't do it on purpose.)


  1. The Month of Dylan appears to be going....wait for it....keep waiting...swimmingly. Pun fucking intended.

    Christ, I love this movie, and yes, that chase scene is the standout. I'm a staunch lover of this movie and do NOT declare it any sort of a guilty pleasure - it's just a badass action flick with some great characters, great acting, and of course, Anthony Kiedis.

    I have an issue with the surfing, but not because there's too much of it - rather because the use of stunt surfers is just too obvious. It's not quite "Face/Off" bad in those terms, but it's glaring nonetheless. The football game doesn't last that long - c'mon, Nick. And besides, it's establishing characters, it ain't just there for shits and giggles.

    As for the Chekhov's Gun rule, I for one love it when things are introduced and DON'T reappear later, if only because decades of moviewatching has trained us to expect them. Better to not be so slavish to that rule every now and then. And besides, Busey was just friggin' right: he DIDN'T ever need that miserable exercise! :D

    1. lol... swimmingly...

      Stunt surfers didn't bother me. I didn't even think about it. Most likely because I was too busy thinking about "oh great, more surfing." No, the football game isn't that long. And I didn't even go into it like "Oh... football. boo!" I just thought it went on at least 30 seconds longer than it really needed to be (the point of it was for Keanu to tackle Swayze).

      That is true about Busey being right! That wasn't really a negative for me, by the way. It was just something I noticed and wanted to point out.

  2. I need to revisit this one... Only thing I remember is the dog-throwing (and Utah PUNTING the dog in response!).


    1. Haha... I forgot about the punting part. That was great, too.

  3. I loved this movie back in the day. I'm going to have to watch it again now. Thanks, Nick!


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