Movie #123 2021: Point Break (1991)

Surfing and undercover FBI agents? Count me the fuck in.

Point Break is almost a cult favourite at this point, and was directed by Kathryn Bigelow way before she made headline news by becoming the first female to win the Best Director Oscar. The reality is, Point Break could not be more different to The Hurt Locker (which I have not seen, by the way), but something tells me it’s a whole lot more entertaining.

The story follows newly qualified FBI agent Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves), as he goes undercover and infiltrates a bunch of surfer friends in Los Angels. Why? There just so happens to be a group of criminals known as ‘The Ex-Presidents’ who drive around the area holding banks up by gunpoint, all whilst wearing rubber masks depicting the faces of various former twentieth century US presidents. It becomes Utah’s mission to figure out who the masked men are and bring their terror to a halt.

Firstly, Kathryn Bigelow included that impromptu beach football game just for me to enjoy in 2021. I know it. If you’ve not seen this movie and that’s not enough to draw you in, then I don’t know what will.

I totally get why this is such a cult classic. Peak Keanu and peak Swayze with long, floppy hair and surfing in California? Sure, the dialogue is super corny but this is the early-90s and I did not give a single shit. Dead presidents carrying out bank heists is exactly how I wanted to spend my Tuesday morning and I regret nothing. This movie is pure, cheesy action drama at its finest and I won’t hear a bad word against it.

Point Break’s story is super fun and super ridiculous in the best way possible. Though it’s extremely obvious where it’s going as soon as Swayze shows up, I appreciate the red herrings and it was a thrill to watch it all unfold regardless. (I must point out that I’m that annoying person who figures out the ‘plot twist’ before it happens, so it might just be me that saw what was coming… Maybe just watch it and decide for yourself if it’s obvious or not now you know that I’m a dick.)

Most surprisingly, I didn’t even dislike the romantic subplot, which is extremely rare for me. Simply, it’s not as “typical” and pointless as many similar storylines are, and casting Lori Petty with her short hair and strange, high-pitched voice? It would have been so easy to cast a classically ‘beautiful’ long-haired blonde bombshell, but no. THAT is how you know there’s a female director at the wheel and it’s brilliant. Not to mention that Petty’s performance in itself is excellent.

I know its all about Swayze and Reeves at its core, but Gary Busey is so underrated in this that it’s criminal. Good old Gary brings comedic flair and a lightness in tone to what could have been unnecessarily serious and dark. “You look like hammered shit” is a Busey-ism that I will be carrying into every day life from now on. Point Break is worth the watch for Busey alone.

The only thing I wasn’t wild about was the high octane, unoriginal action movie ending, but despite that, I have no qualms rating this 4.5 Qs. I’d certainly rather watch this another twelve times than ever see Pat Swayze salsa dance with his chest out ever again…

Point Break is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video in the UK.

TQR Category Ratings:

Costume & Set Design: 
Overall Rating: ½

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