Cops & Robbers movies have been a part of cinema for as long as there has been cinema, though prior to the 1990s, the general tack was to either have the robbers be the good guys (going back to various western films), or to have the cops be the good guys, but with a few exceptions generally not really both.
Point Break is a film that goes along the same lines as something like Fast and the Furious, where the film follows an FBI agent who has to infiltrate a group of extreme sports enthusiasts who may be behind a series of robberies (spoiler: they’re behind the series of robberies). In Fast and the Furious, it was street racing, but before that, in Point Break, it’s surfing.
The film follows Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves), a fresh out of Quantico agent, who is assigned to the bank robbery division at the LA field office. Among the numerous bank robberies in LA are a series of 30 robberies over the past 3 years by a group known as the “Ex-Presidents” due to the masks that they wear during their robberies. However, Utah’s new partner, Angelo Pappas (Gary Busey), Has a theory that the robbers are surfers.
So, Utah attempts to infiltrate the LA surfer scene, ending up falling in with charismatic surfer Bodhi (Patrick Swayze). Except Bodhi is the leader of the Ex-Presidents, and the question becomes whether Utah can choose between his duty and his friendship.
This feels like a film I need to see again on the big screen. The surfing scenes here look visually stunning, with the use of widescreen lenses giving them that something extra that, by the nature of the film and lenses used, movies like Endless Summer didn’t have. Not that Endless Summer is bad (quite to the contrary) – but the visual spectacle of the surfing scenes feels much more engrossing.
As far as the performances go – they’re kind of a mixed bag. Keanu and Busey are clear at this point that they are movie stars – not in terms of their ego, but their performances. Keanu has played myriad characters from numerous walks of life across his career, but he’s never really vanished into a role the way that someone like Matt Damon or Brad Pitt has shown they can (when they feel like it). The same thing applies even more so to Busey. When you cast Busey, you’re doing it because you’re expecting a very particular performance, and if you aren’t, then you’re probably casting him wrong. By contrast, Swayze vanishes much more into the role.
The film is really good, but with the level of visual spectacle the film presents in its extreme sports sequences, I feel like it would be better for a rewatch to either see the movie in a second run theater, or with a much larger TV than what I have available to me right now.
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