“You’re sayin’ the FBI’s gonna pay me to learn to surf?”
The Scoop: 1991 R, directed by Kathryn Bigelow and starring Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves and Gary Busey
Tagline: 100% Pure Adrenaline.
Summary Capsule: Surfers rob banks, and Ted Theodore Logan learns how to surf. There’s also skydiving, but we’re not quite sure why.
Justin’s rating: The Summer of Surf
Justin’s review: To those who never lived through it, the ’90s were a time of tremendous upheaval and uncertainty in the world. After stabilizing from the fallout of MC Hammer’s parachute pants, we skidded right into flannel fashion, the Macarena and Roseanne. To make matters worse and the riots even more flammable, Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze kickstarted a little something marketing departments latched on to known as “X-TREME SPORTS”. So X-treme, in fact, that skateboarders thrashed the better part of Ireland into an unrecognizable and waxy wasteland.
Sure, it might not be fair to lay this trendy apocalypse at the feet of such men who brought us filthy tangoing and how to drive public transportation really, really, really, really… 10 miles above the speed limit. But I need a patsy, a scapegoat, and Point Break is right there, ready to take the fall.
(For fun, Justin will now include as many bad surfing puns as he can in the next paragraph without breaking a sweat. Point breaking a sweat, to be precise.)
Riding the wave of action success all the way to the (water) bank, Point Break is a swell way to pass an afternoon of sandy bonding with your brah. To tide you over until Speed crashed onto screens, Keanu Reeves WAS “Johnny Utah”, once voted “Dumbest Stock Character Name” (beating out “Freddy Michigan” for the title). An FBI agent with a fresh, gnarly attitude, Utah hangs ten in the surf culture in order to wipe out a few bank robbers (who call themselves the “Ex-Presidents”).
If I do that any longer, this vein in my forehead will rupture.
For a silly action/crime/sports flick, Point Break’s garnered its fair share of followers over the years. We at Mutant reviewers have captured a few alleged “Breakers”, as they label themselves, and subjected them to various physical and psychological tests to determine why. The answers ranged from “Why, oh why are you doing this?” to “Not the rubber mallet! Not the rubber mallet!” to “I’ll tell you anything you want to know — just don’t make me tap dance naked on a stage in front of 200 wild monkeys any longer!” This told us all we needed to know.
Point Break was Patient Zero for the plague of X-treme attitudes that quickly mutated into skydivers, skateboarders, rollerbladers, glass eaters, Mountain Dew drinkers, and deep goldfish aquarium anglers. If only Reeves hadn’t shown up with his holier-than-thou cop attitude and tried to stop philosophic Swayze from his madcap methods, we might still be alive today. Alas.
Because it’s a cop movie, you have a jerk of an FBI boss who likes to yell at his underlings and sew discontent in the ranks. Because it’s a sports movie, you have long, loving shots of waves and stunt doubles plunging to their watery graves. Because it’s an action movie, you got a guy chucking a dog at another guy, who then kicks the dog out of his way and jumps through a plate glass patio door window (woot!). Your preference for quotes might lay with Utah’s earnest “Stop! FBI!” squeakiness, or Bodhi’s “We show them that the human spirit is still alive” nonsense. Heck, you might even just show up to see Gary Busey playing someone other than a crazed bad guy, for once in his life.
To this day, I can’t quite figure out why Point Break is anything other than one of thousands of disposable summer action flicks that burn brightly and are quickly extinguished. It’s not terrible, but not terribly interesting either, unless you want to see ripped men wearing skintight duds and waxing poetic about, let’s face it, bobbing water.
After all, Charlie don’t surf. And at Mutant Reviewers, neither do we.
- Body count: 12
- Naked girls in the show are DANGEROUS.
- So are lawn mowers. Guess this was before the time of kill switches.
- The ex-presidents’ masks are of Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Lyndon Johnson.
- The sly mention of Swayze’s “Road House”
- When Bodhi is introduced to Johnny Utah on the beach, he remarks that Utah’s surfboard reminds him of a ’57 Chevy he used to have. Swayze previously drove a ’57 Chevy in Dirty Dancing.
- The f-word is said 105 times.
- I don’t get it… if Utah knew they were criminals, and the criminals knew Utah was a plant, why’d he go jump out of an airplane with them?
- Keanu Reeves observed real FBI agents in L.A. to study for the role. He also practiced with UCLA quarterback coaches to help with football scene. He also learned to surf for his rolem, and still surfs as a hobby to this day.
- Patrick Swayze was an accomplished skydiver and actually took part in the big skydiving scene.
Bodhi: Little hand says it’s time to rock and roll.
Bodhi: That’s, ahh… that’s a surfboard all right! Looks like a ’57 Chevy I used to have.
Bohdi: Fear causes hesitation, and hesitation will cause your worst fears to come true.
Pappas: 22 years. Man, L.A. has changed a lot during that time. The air got dirty and the sex got clean.
Ben Harp: Over the last two weeks, you two have produced exactly squat! SQUAT! During which time the ex-presidents have robbed two more banks. Now does either one of you have anything even remotely interesting to tell me?
Johnny Utah: I caught my first tube today. Sir.
Johnny Utah: You’re sayin’ the FBI’s gonna pay me to learn to surf?
Ben Harp: Do you think that taxpayers would like it Utah, if they knew that they were paying a federal agent to surf and pick up girls?
Johnny Utah: Babes.
Ben Harp: I beg your pardon?
Johnny Utah: The correct term is Babes, sir.
Johnny Utah: Bohdi! This is your wakeup call I AM AN F… B… I AGENT!
Bodhi: I know, isn’t it wild!
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