Tuesday, March 17, 2009

‘Point’ Taken: A Point Break Review

4:42:50 am

Woah. I think I fell in love with Point Break tonight. I'd heard about it over the years, am a big Swayze fan and have even seen the Mythbusters episode that talks about the parachuting scenes (I mean, a movie's gotta be pretty rad if the Mythbusters take it on...or completely ridiculous). If nothing else, I now want to jump out of an airplane, rob a bank, surf and hang out with Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze and Lori Petty. Anyway, let's jump into:

Point Break (1991)

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow

Written by Rick King & W. Peter Iliff

Starring Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze, Gary Busey, Lori Petty, John C. McGinley, Anthony Kiedis & Tom Sizemore (for a second)

Okay, so I've gotten a few complaints (really, just from Em, but she's the only one that I've heard from next to Ben and Rickey) that the reviews zoom in on the plot a bit too much, so I'm going to try and keep the summarizing up and the in-depth plot reviews down (we'll see how that works out).

Here's the basic plot, Keanu plays Johnny Utah, an FBI agent who recently transfered to the robbery unit in LA. His partner is Gary Busey who actually plays one of the less crazy dudes in the movie. They're trying to bring down a group of bank robbers calling themselves the Ex Presidents (they put on president masks while pulling their jobs). Busey's got this crazy idea that the robbers are actually surfers (apparently the other agents consider this a crackpot theory, it sounds like good detective work to me, but what do I know?). So, to try and figure out which gang of surfers knocks off banks only during the summer months, Utah goes undercover, gets Lori Petty to teach him to surf and ingratiates himself to a group of surfers including Swayze who plays Bodhi, the lead bank robber. They become friendly, which, of course leads to conflict, much of which takes place while skydiving.

I love this cast. I used to wonder whether Keanu got a bad wrap or if he was just really good at playing the roles he was given. Honestly, I'm still not sure what the deal with him is, but he has some of the most awesomely bad lines in action movie history in this flick ("You're sayin' the FBI's gonna pay me to learn to surf?" "You're cold because all of the blood is running out of your body Roach. You're gonna be dead soon. I hope it was worth it."). Any way you look at it he's an incredibly entertaining actor, especially as a surfing FBI agent.

And who can deny Swayze's awesomeness? Have you seen Road House? They even reference it here with a throwaway line mentioning a place called Patrick's Road House. Nice touch, writers. Whether he's talking about "feeling waves" or doing crazy ballet and dance moves after jumping out of a plane, this dude is just so freakin' charismatic that you can't help but buy into his "sticking it to the man" BS, even though, by the end of the movie, you realize he's really just a stone-cold psycho with one thing in mind: getting to the 50 year storm.

Also, why isn't Lori Petty in more stuff? She's great in everything she does (League of their Own, Tank Girl, Livewire on Superman the Animated Series and even Free Willy). As usual, she has an innocence that really grabs me, even though she's playing tough broad. Speaking of tough, Gary Busey kills it, as usual, but this time he's a good guy. Not sure if I've ever seen him play a good guy in a movie (or real life), but it was a nice change that he pulled off with his usual crazy bravado.

Okay, so I clearly liked the cast, but I also dug the flick itself. Yeah, it's about 2 hours, but I feel like there's always something on screen that kept me interested. You've got car chases, foot chases, beach football, surfing, sky diving, sky diving without a parachute, Dakota shooting at the sky (thanks to Hot Fuzz for so eloquently showing me this scene already), bank robberies, masks, sex, a crazy surfer party and even a fight with a group of dudes that looked like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and turned out to actually feature Anthony Kiedis of RHCP (go figure).

And, even though Mythbusters told me that, not only couldn't Johnny Utah jump out of a plane, grab onto Swayze, pull his shoot, hold on REAL tight and not die, but wouldn't even be able to hold the mid-air conversations, I still loved the climactic scene. Dang that was just cool (I don't think I can swear on here, so you'll just have to deal with my lame swear fill-ins). I even thought Swayze was gonna get away in the end and would have been happy with the film ending in Mexico (like I said, he's freakin' charismatic), but the last few minutes in Australia give us a cathartic fight between our good guy and oh-so-likable bad guy resulting in his (maybe) death while surfing the biggest wave in 50 years.

If there's one movie that I'd like to see continued in a comic, it's this one. If IDW could do a serviceable job with Scarface (and I think they did, assuming you can get past the fact that Tony's not dead), why not Point Break? What happens to Johnny after he tosses his badge in the ocean? Does Bodhi die? What happens to Lori Petty and Keanu's relationship? How does jail treat Anthony Kiedis? Does John C. McGinley (Keanu and Busey's superior) ever relax? What does Tom Sizemore's DEA agent (IRONY!) do after Johnny accidentally ruins his bust? There's so MANY questions. I'll make this public offer, if writers Rick King & W. Peter Iliff don't want to take a crack at it, I'm game. I've got this thing half-way plotted already and I only finished the movie 30 minutes ago. Your move, other guys!

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