Point Break (1991)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.


Movie Info

Kathryn Bigelow's fourth action film follows FBI agent Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) as he goes undercover to infiltrate a cache of Southern California surfers suspected of robbing banks.

Rating: R
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By: Rick King, W. Peter Iliff, James Cameron, Kathryn Bigelow
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 22, 2001
Runtime:
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

Cast


as Johnny Utah

as Angelo Pappas

as Nathanial

as Alvarez

as Babbit

as FBI Receptionist

as Warchild

as Archbold

as Cab Driver

as Miss Deer

as Psycho-Stick

as Passion for Slashin

as Surf Rat

as Freight Train

as Fiberglass

as Halsey

as Margarita

as Cab Driver

as Macrame Girl

as Girl at Party

as Fast Food Girl

as Fierce Woman

as Dispatcher

as Security Guard

as Cullen

as Off Duty Cop

as Miss Jennings

as Mr. Duggan

as Combat Alley Supervi...

as FBI Reception

as Fruit Vendor

as Australian Surfer

as Australian Cop #1

as DEA agent Deets

as Margarita
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Point Break

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Critic Reviews for Point Break

All Critics (56) | Top Critics (9)

We might as well be watching a blissed-out Bill and Ted caper.

Full Review… | March 22, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A hare-brained wild ride through big surf and bad vibes, Point Break acts like a huge, nasty wave, picking up viewers for a few major thrills but ultimately grinding them into the sand via overkill and absurdity.

Full Review… | March 22, 2007
Variety
Top Critic

There's enough high-octane, heart-racing excitement for a dozen movies.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

A nearly flawless marriage of the genre clichés of the classic '80s-model cop action picture with the elevated physicality of the '90s action films to come.

Full Review… | November 7, 2014
Antagony & Ecstasy

Did a dry California wind scramble the script as they moved into the third act? Did the tape recorder go on the blitz at the story conferences? Was there a fire in the editing room?

Full Review… | June 13, 2013
Baltimore Sun

This is a very macho movie, and if the better film schools are looking for a contemporary film that very keenly exemplifies the marriage of sound and shoot, this is it.

Full Review… | June 12, 2013
Baltimore Sun

Audience Reviews for Point Break

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Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Before the Oscar winning heights of "The Hurt Locker", director Kathryn Bigelow cut her teeth on some intense and very impressive pieces of work; the brooding western/vampire movie "Near Dark", the stylish and futuristic "Strange Days" and "Point Break, the adrenaline filled action movie that proved a female director could compete with any male in the genre - hands down.
A gang of bank robbers known as The Ex-Presidents have been looting the banks of coastal Los Angeles towns. Not much is known about them as they commit their crimes while wearing the masks of presidents Reagan, Nixon, Carter and Johnson. What is suspected is that they are surfers, so the F.B.I send in special agents Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) and Angelo Pappas (Gary Busey) to uncover more information. Soon Utah is mixed up with surfing guru Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) and gets drawn into his adrenaline filled, spiritual lifestyle.
This film was a real favourite of mine growing up in the early 1990's and still ranks as one of the very best of cop/action movies. Quite simply, where it's strength lies is in some breathtakingly fantastic action scenes and shows that director Bigelow could always compete with the best of them when it comes to staging an action set-piece. The chase scene alone - through the streets by car before going on-foot through alleyways and houses and at one point, the involvement of a pit-bull - is one of the best action set-pieces committed to the screen and Bigelow should be immensely proud. This is also bookended by some excellent close-contact surfing scenes a spot of bank robbery and sublime skydiving. What more could you really want? It's a film filled with testosterone and macho posturing but it's unashamed in it's delivery. It even throws in some light spirituality and Bigelow juggles the elements with a high level of skill. One thing she doesn't have here is restraint but that's entirely the appeal. She's out to set pulses racing and have some fun and that's exactly what she does. If you give yourself over to it, you will too. Of course, the film's lack of restraint throws up some moments when it goes way over the top and stretches credulity to breaking point but it doesn't matter. It's entirely forgivable due to it's sheer indulgment and edge-of-your-seat entertainment.
So is the action genre just one for the boys? According to Bigelow, the answer is a resounding... No. She displays such skill and conviction that she crafts one of the most enjoyable action yarns available. It's tagline is "100% pure adrenaline..." and on the evidence, it's not far off it.

MrMarakai
Mark Walker

Super Reviewer

½

The action sequences and set pieces are undeniably impressive and by far better than the average blockbuster. But the cliched, cheesy beyond belief, poor acting and excruciatingly painful plot make 'Point Break' overall a dour affair.

The film tells the story of FBI agent, wait for it, Johnny Utah, played by Keanu Reeves, who has to go undercover as a surfer to infiltrate a team of bank robbers. One of the surfers happens to be Patrick Swayze who offers up one of the most hair pulling performances of his career, whilst Utah is joined by his partner Gary Busey, by far the best thing in it.

The idea of a conflicted cop, forced to choose between his friends and 'true calling', and his job as an enforcer of the law has been done far too many times. Perhaps 'Point Break' was one too many. But more importantly than that, the plot, whilst full of memorable action scenes, does not really progress beyond the first half hour of the film where everything becomes apparent to any audience member.

Of course one thing, as I have said already, that does not fail to impress and even inspire is the action. Bigelow's well crafted and put together sequences, especially those of the chase through the houses between Reeves and ex-President Reagan, is exciting and even summons up a brief moment of real emotional connections with the characters.

However beyond that Utah, and Bodhi, Swayze, remain distant characters. It's no secret to my friends that Keanu Reeves is one of my least favourite actors, capable of only playing one character and one emotion. The same one he plays in 'Point Break'. However when he fails to even play that well you really do start to worry.

Overall whilst fun, 'Point Break' should have been a much better film than it is. It's a disappointing thrill, but little more than a poor blockbuster with great action scenes.

Adam Kelly
Adam Kelly

Super Reviewer

Point Break Quotes

– Submitted by Melanie D (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Baurushan J (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Baurushan J (3 years ago)

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