film review

Review | Point Break – 1991

Because of the upcoming Point Break reboot, I decided to re-watch the original film from 1991 on television. The only thing I remembered from the original film was the surfing aspect and that Keanu Reeves was in it. After seeing Point Break, I think the best thing of the film are the surfing scenes. But before I share all of my thoughts, what’s the film actually about?

Johnny Utah is a young FBI agent who just moved to Los Angeles and is placed in a special team who solves bank robberies. Utah and his older partner Pappas have a theory regarding a gang who rob banks wearing mask of past Presidents of the United States. They think the bank robbers might be surfers and so Utah goes undercover, learns how to surf and infiltrates a surfgroup.


The very young Keanu Reeves plays the ambitious FBI agent Johnny Utah. I’ve never been a fan of Reeves acting skills, but his surfing skills looks pretty amazing! Unless they used a body double, then he did an amazing job in the waves. I’m a huge fan of the Fast and the Furious franchise and therefore I couldn’t help but notice some similarities. In the first film the main character was also a starting police officer who went undercover to infiltrate a group of friends with an interesting hobby who might be into some illegal business. But the storyline of Point Break is less well developed and Reeves’ character is not really interesting. Besides him being an ambitious agent, we don’t know much about him and his face keeps having the same expression. Patrick Swayze plays Bodhi, the leader of the surfgroup and the one who is the most enthusiastic about surfing and really looks like he’s enjoying himself! The film is directed by Kathryn Bigelow, who I love from the films The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty. However, Point Break was less of a success in my opinion.

But sadly there’s no real character development, which we also see when Johnny realises who the bank robbers are. He doesn’t feel any loyalty towards his newfound friends and therefore it isn’t that hard for him to arrest them. The thing I thought was odd, Johnny never gives these newfound friends the benefit of the doubt. And for someone who doesn’t know anything about the film, it could be guessing game if Johnny also wasn’t sure about the matter and the film had a more mysterious vibe. For Bodhi the only thing which matters is the kick of robbing a bank and surfing on gigantic waves. However, Bodhi does change into a freaky guy in the end. Of course FBI agent Johnny needs a little love as well, just to make the film a bit more interesting. Lori Petty – who I recognized from Free Willy– plays Taylor. She’s also one of the surfers and decides to teach Johnny to surf properly after see almost see him drowning. What happens next is quite predictable.

I feel like Point Break is more like these weekly series where a crime needs to be solved, but then added with some spectacular surf scenes. Therefore the film gets a bit boring and takes too long. However, the scenes where Johnny, Bodhi and the others are surfing look phenomenal! The waves are really well shown just like the scene were they are going skydiving. These scenes are the most impressive ones. Not the bank robbery scenes or any other for that matter. The scene were Johnny and his partner Pappas – played by Gary Busey – were on the lookout near a bank, was pretty lame. I mean, what kind of silly FBI agent are you? There was a raid which looked pretty impressive, but the film never comes to a level of “Oh my god, that was amazing!” I also thought the film should have focussed more on the actually robberies, instead of on the so-called ‘bonding’ between Bodhi and Johnny. I did like the last 30 minutes of the film, those were the most exciting ones!

The film is definitely not a bad one, I just don’t see a reason to reboot this film. I’ve seen the trailer of the reboot – which looks quite impressive – but if the story is the same and the best things are the extreme sports the characters practice, I don’t have to see it. Keanu Reeves is not really evincing as an undercover FBI agent, nor as someone who loves to surf. The best performance comes from Patrick Swayze, who does look like he’s very into surfing. The film is never really a mystery, since everything is too obvious or predictable. I wonder how the reboot will do, starring Luke Bracey as Johnny Utah and Édgar Ramíres as Bodhi. The action scenes are probably more impressive just like the heists, but that’s not the only thing what makes a film a success.


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