Re-Watch: Point Break (1991)

Point Break
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Writer: W. Peter Iliff
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze, Gary Busey, Lori Petty, John C. McGinley, James Le Gros, John Philbin, Bojesse Christopher (and Anthony Kiedis)
Seen on: 26.1.2016

Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) just aced his FBI training and is ready to go into the field. He is assigned to long-served, cranky Pappas (Gary Busey) who is less than happy about having to take care of this newbie. But in Johnny, Pappas finds somebody not only willing to listen to his theory that a string of successful bank robberies is committed by a group of surfers, but to do something about it. Johnny starts to learn to surf with the help of Tyler (Lori Petti) and gets closer with the charismatic Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) who soon becomes their prime suspect.

Point Break has many strengths, though it isn’t a perfect film. But both Swayze and Reeves are perfectly cast (which, especially in Reeves’ case is important). Their chemistry together make the film as worthwhile as it is.



It’s been years since I last saw Point Break and as I watched it, I started questioning whether I ever actually saw it in its entirety because I had no recollection whatsoever of the ending. Or more acurately: the parts leading up to the ending: everything between the bank robbery Utah participates in to when he finds Bodhi again a year later. Although it is very likely that this is simply due to the fact that from the moment Bodhi and Utah lose their friendship, the film also loses its cohesion. They should have simply gone with an outright love story between the two of them, instead of forcing in a girl into the story, only to have her become a convenient damsel in distress.

Especially since, as I said, Reeves’ and Swayze’s chemistry is damn strong. The (b)romance between them is the winning factor of the film. And I can but tip my hat in Bigelow’s direction. Swayze is excellent and even Reeves has his moments, though they feel more coincidental than actually deliberately acted.


Although I have to say that the two aren’t the only thing that make the movie work. There is some interesting camera work, especially in the foot chase scene. Here, Bigelow and her cinematographer worked with a pogo-cam, a technique Bigelow later built on in Strange Days and that just puts you right in the middle of the action, from the perspective of the characters. It’s extremely well done and just mounts the tension.

At times the film feels very much dated, but there is still quite some charm left in it, despite the weaknesses in script and acting.

pointbreak19912Summarizing: It still pays to (re)visit the film.

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