Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.
Tuesday, 7 September 2010
FBI agents Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) and Angelo Pappas (Gary Busey) are investigating a string of bank robberies by a gand known as the 'Ex-Presidents', who disguise their true identities with masks of former Presidents Reagan, Carter, Nixon and Johnson when robbing a bank. Pursuing Pappas's theory that the criminals are surfers Utah goes undercover to infiltrate the surfing community. There he is taught to surf by fiery surfer girl Tyler Endicott (Lori Petty), and in the process becomes fast friends with surfing pro Bodhi (Patrick Swayze), who leads a gang of surfers consisting of Roach (James LeGros), Grommet (Bojesse Christopher) and Nathaniel (John Philbin), who accept Utah when they see how great an athlete he is. Utah later discovers that the four of them are the 'Ex-Presidents', but finds that his job is a lot harder than he would have thought when he and Tyler fall in love, and he realizes that he cares for and respects Bodhi too much to take him down, just before Bodhi discovers Utah is an FBI agent after Utah pursues him after a bank robbery.
Director Kathryn Bigelow took on a big challenge with Point Break as women were just not expected to produce a good action film back in the early '90s, however, Bigelow defies that stereotype with Point Break. Bigelow packs the film with plenty of gun fights, that leave the viewers on the edge of their seat wanting more, thanks to the fast pace and intricately done editing of said gun fights. The most memorable action sequence, however, sees Utah and Pappas chasing the 'Ex-Presidents' after their latest bank robbery, guns firing left right and centre, which leads to the gang torching a petrol station, and, most memorable of all, Utah chasing Bodhi through the houses and gardens of a domestic neigbourhood. This scene is most memorable of all thanks to its fast pace, intricately tricky shots and editing of the two guys charging through the houses and gardens. The action of this chase is also very coherent and adrenaline-fuelled all the way, causing it to be so memorable that Edgar Wright couldn't resist spoofing it in 2007's Hot Fuzz.
The actors also give it their all to produce top-notch performances, but none more so than the late, great, Patrick Swayze. Swayze throws himself into the role of Bodhi, acting every bit the tough guy bank robber, but also the super-cool surfer. Swayze also does all his own stunts for the film, going out on the waves, throwing himself out of aeroplanes and charging through houses and gardens, and the sheer energy and determination that stands out in his performance reflects this and makes it clear that he wanted to play his part perfectly.
On top of this the film also boasts outstanding aerial shots in the sky-diving scenes and shots of the waves the surfers take to. The aerial shots are the more memorable, as they follow Reeves, Swayze, LeGros, Christopher and Philbin as they go sky-diving, causing the viewer to get a real sense of vertigo as the distant ground slowly looms closer. The second skydiving scene (during the film's climax) also leaves a huge lump in one's throat as Swayze and Reeves, who have one parachute between them, hurtle quickly to the ground and don't pull the chute till the last possible second, leaving the viewer horrified as the ground looms ever more, thanks to some clever shots from cinematographer Donald Peterman.
With all these elements combined Point Break is clearly a greatly underrated film as there are still a fair amount of critics who have mixed to negative opinions and not enough people have actually taken the time to see it. However, Point Break has also deservedly earned itself a cult following and is rightfully classed as one of several films from the late '80s/early '90s that "redefined the action genre".
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze, Lori Petty, Gary Busey, John C. McGinley, James LeGros, John Philbin, Bojesse Christopher, Sydney Walsh, Lee Tergesen, Julian Reyes, Daniel Beer, Vincent Klyn, Chris Pederson.
MTV Movie Award: Most Desirable Male (Keanu Reeves).
MTV Movie Award Nominations: Best Action Sequence (the second jump from the plane, where Utah catches Bodhi falling), Most Desirable Male (Patrick Swayze).