Tuesday, February 10, 2015

1PanelReview Point Break

Have you ever fired your gun up in the air and gone "Aaaahrg!"?

What it is: Point Break 

Which is: An action/thriller film
Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow 
Year: 1991

Point Break is a 1991 cult classic action film film by Blue Steel, Strange Days and Near Dark director Kathryn Bigelow. It stars Keanu Reeves alongside Patrick Swayze, Lori Petty and Gary Busey. The story is about these long-unresolved bank robberies committed by a gang wearing US President masks, the "Ex-Presidents". A rookie FBI agent is sent undercover around the surfer dudes on a hunch from his partner. But first he must learn how to surf... Yeah, the FBI is basically paying him surfing lessons. But then he quickly gets addicted to this "extreme" new way of life...

What's Good about it: It's pure Keanu Reeves, Keanu doing what he's best at while doing what he's most famous for these days. Playing a "whoa, duuuude" kind of character while starring in a big explosive blockbuster action epic.
The film was originally set to star the likes of either Johnny Depp, Val Kilmer, Matthew Broderick (really??) or Charlie Sheen in the role of our main hero Johnny Utah before they finally set on Keanu Reeves (in retrospective, Keanu does seem to play a lot of "Johnnys" on the big screen, doesn't he?).
At first the film was going to be directed by Ridley Scott... and then James Cameron.. It was finally Cameron's wife who directed the film, fresh off a successful Blue Steel, with Cameron remaining as executive producer. And boy, does she have a great eye for overblown action scenes and epic chases!
Most of what really makes this film a classic is thanks to Keanu's slacker-dude delivery of his lines. It's like, dude, there was no one up there the entire filming.
The film is so serious with its silliniess. I mean, bank robbing surfers? That's pure genius right here! And it's even better when Gary Busey exposes this theory to our hero, as goofy as the film's premise film!
I also just love how Keanu gets the clue to solve this entire mystery - by getting "mooned" twice by our possible robber! Epic!
Swayze as our villain Bodhi comes so natural in this role. He's such a convincing natural zen-surfer type of dude.
Everything feels so excessive, but we do get some really nice extreeeeme footage out of it, from the kickass surfing montages to amazing skydiving scenes.
Point Break is also famous for its chases scene - it does feature easily one of the best foot chases of all time, hands down!  
Also, let's not forget the best part of the entire film.
It is simply just a great badass movie.
The film also features some pretty good raw music that give the film an immense sense of adventure, composed by veteran Mark Isham.
The masterful action scenes more than make up for the ton of cheesy moments, silly dialogues, non-sense robberies & plot. There's a lot of bad too, but the sum of the whole thing is just better than its parts in a way. Everything comes together so nicely. 
Fun fact, the film was originally called simply "Johnny Utah" during its production. What's with Keanu and similarly-titled films?! This, Johnny Mnemonic and now John Wick!...

What's Bad about it: We almost had Point Break, starring Charlie Sheen!? Can you imagine the glorious epicness we missed? And I (probably) mean this seriously! 
Sure it's a great 90s action film, but it's so cheesy and filled with awful "movies logic". It's a fairly typical pure popcorn flick product from that era. And it really shows through the film...
Dude. There's just... Too... much... dudes, dude! Like, woah!
If you're not a fan of Keanu and never liked any of his movies before, his countless empty stares and surfer lingo in this flick won't change your mind on the guy.
While some tend to focus the negative points of this film on Keanu's "acting" (or lack thereof), I just find Gary Busey a lot more terrible than Keanu in this particular film. The man himself is great, don't mistake me. But he gets so little to do here, it's like he's almost trying to help Keanu on purpose....
As decent as he is in this timeless role, and I'm sure he has a big fanbase for this very character, Patrick Swayze makes such a silly main villain for our film. He never truly feels like the mastermind we expected from crimes the FBI was never able to resolve for years. I mean, they leave no footprints behind, no fingerprints, no traces and no clues? But the only time we really do get to have a look at them during a robbery at the end they're so jumpy, unmask themselves, etc. I know things were going down and it was the end, but I can't imagine these surfer dude-bros even going through a job without any problem before. I adore the cheesy ending where Swayze wants to ride just one last time, but come on, why did the rest of the FBI arrive so late on the scene and all that? Why even allow him to basically "commit suicide" riding one last wave, they should have gone after him faster than that or at least come with a boat off the shore.

Overall: Point Break marked one of the first films in the genre, back in the early 90s. One of the earliest examples of a new genre of blockbuster films for Hollywood, which we still have to this day. Overblown action scenes taking way too much screentime over exploring the psychology of the main character in a big action/&thriller film.

It's such an intense action film! Typical from the good ol' days, the lack of any real computer effects help them sell most of these practical scenes, real "special" effects here. 

It easily stands the test of time. The whole surfing scene was and will always be kinda ridiculous, kinda stuck in 1980s fashion. It's what helps this movie stay fun after all these years.  

The film has some great impressive realistic stunts. And it's one of the manliest films ever made - funny considering it was directing by a (great) female director!

Great direction, fantastic action scenes and even some humor. Highly Recommended, as much for its good as for its bad. A classic of the genre.

The film went leaving a huge mark on cinema history, not only as part of pop culture but its legacy continues to live on to this day. Be it through these theater adaptations ("Point Break Live!") as well as these countless fantastic tributes over the years, such as in Edgar Wright's fantastic Hot Fuzz.  

Sadly, Hollywood never losing an eye on any propriety to ever have made any money, is already at it again. And apparently a pretty unexpected random remake is in fact coming up this year in theaters, on August 7! This remake is directed by Ericson Core and it will star Luke Bracey as Johnny Utah and Edgar Ramirez as Bodhi. Necessary, probably not. But the younger audience might enjoy the remix...

Vaya con Dios, Brah.
I give it: 2.5 / 3 Quacks!
[How does my Rating System work?]

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