Twitter Plot Summary: The homo-erotic surfing adventures of Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze.
Five Point Summary:
1. Dude! Like, totally excellent you’re a cop, Ted. I mean, Johnny Utah.
2. Swayze putting his Road House training to good use.
3. So that’s who the Presidents are! Not that it could have been anyone else.
4. Jumping out of a plane, sans parachute.
5. That’s a big wave.
I hadn’t seen Point Break until after I’d seen Hot Fuzz at the cinema – I know, shocking. In fact at the time of writing this review I still haven’t seen either of the Bad Boys films, but they’re on the “to watch” list. Anyway, I digress. I wasn’t sure initially if Point Break was as homoerotic, bromance-heavy as Hot Fuzz seemed to imply, but in reality it’s much, much worse. I’m certain that psychologists will be analysing the not-quite subtextual meaning that permeates every scene. It’s debatable whether Kathryn Bigelow or even the script itself had intended this to be the case, but that’s what we get.
There’s even some homoerotic subtext to the opening credits as the names of Swayze and Reeves cross over in the middle of the screen. If it wasn’t intentional then I’d be a) surprised and b) massively disappointed. Reeves is Johnny Utah, former American Football quarterback who, now aged 25, has taken up a career in the police after a career ending injury. His task is to take down the Presidents of the United States, a gang who rob banks whilst wearing rubber masks. Meanwhile we also meet Bodhi, a surfer dude who actually has a brain in his head despite also living for the waves.
Who cares that Utah enters into a relationship with Lori Petty’s Tyler? You could argue that this is just his way in to the surfing community, for want of a better term. Besides which, in my eyes she will always be Tank Girl. Reeves isn’t particularly good, let’s be honest, but his delivery fits in perfectly with the group he’s trying to infiltrate. That and his performance is elevated by Patrick Swayze, closely followed by Swayze’s big hair. Reeves is a distant third in the acting stakes amidst this testosterone-filled triumvirate.
Just for once Gary Busey doesn’t play the bad guy – possible spoiler there, but it’s a point well worth making. He’s often typecast in the role of the unhinged bad guy, whereas here he’s the unhinged older cop. He’s desperate to put a stop to the bank robberies that plague his town for a few months every year – conveniently all of which take place surfing surfer season. I’m surprised nobody picked up on that pattern any sooner given that the town appears to have little else to it beyond surfing and banks. Oh, and adrenaline-based daredevil activities, like skydiving. Or homoerotic skydiving.
Revelling in surfer culture, with all the sun, sea and sand that entails, Point Break doesn’t go to great lengths to break away from the typical view we have of surfer dudes – with the exception of Swayze’s Bodhi, the rest of them are just as you’d expect: perennially stoned and seemingly unaware of anything besides their surfboards and the waves that crash into the coast. It’s almost fitting therefore that whilst mostly vacuous, there’s some big entertainment factors involved here, and with Kathryn Bigelow at the helm you’d expect nothing less.