The ’90s were an amazing time in cinematic history. Let’s face it, filmmakers will never top the decade that gifted us with such treasures as The Bodyguard, Con Air, and Nell. Recently, I have mandated that movie nights in our home consist purely of films from this era. It makes for some good times. This is how I was introduced to Point Break. One of the more recent victims of the Hollywood trend to remake all that is sacred, the original Point Break stands on its own for a number of reasons. I have not seen the updated version, but I am here to tell you that I don’t need to. And neither do you.
The IMDB synopsis for this gem is short and sweet: “An FBI agent goes undercover to catch a gang of bank robbers who may be surfers.” I was hooked by this description alone, but it gets better. Said FBI agent is played by none other than Keanu Reeves, who spends the majority of the film either wearing clingy wet clothing or intensely running from danger. Sidenote: We just watched Chain Reaction, also starring Reeves, and it seems that the 1990s were largely dedicated to the sexual objectification of this man. Moving on. So Reeves stars as an FBI agent named JOHNNY UTAH, but there’s more. Oh, there is so much more. Patrick Swayze is Bodhi, the king of the criminal surfer brigade, and he blesses us with a steady stream of wisdom regarding nature, surfing, and theft. “Fear causes hesitation, and hesitation will cause your worst fears to come true.” So deep. So eloquent. So Swayze.
You’re probably thinking to yourself that there is no way Point Break could possibly get any better. Well, you are wrong, because I haven’t even mentioned the brilliant performance of Mr. Gary Busey. As the ever-suffering partner of Johnny Utah, Busey delivers a nuanced and multi-faceted portrayal of Angelo Pappas. In a particularly moving scene, Pappas moans to Utah, “I’m so hungry I could eat the ass end out of a dead rhino.” This poignant moment is only one of many, yet it highlights the general nature of the film and, of course, the glory that is Busey.
So, Johnny Utah tries to infiltrate this surfer gang in order to find out if they are the culprits behind the robberies. In the process, he falls in love with a surfer lady, with surfing itself, and at least a little bit with Bodhi. At the end of the day, Utah is left to decide if his loyalties lie with his job, or with the man who taught him that it’s ok to rob people at gunpoint as long as you are doing so to fund your love of the ocean. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil it for you.