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Point Break Reviews

Page 1 of 263
Mark W

Super Reviewer

January 3, 2013
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.
Adam K

Super Reviewer

December 23, 2012
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.
Spencer S

Super Reviewer

July 29, 2010
Somewhat of an action classic by today's standards, Point Break is an iconoclastic film that features two high billing actors at the peak of their fame, indulging us in a cat and mouse thriller. Keanu Reeves, a bankable star at the time, took a huge risk in taking on a role that requires serious stamina and delves deep into the psyche of an FBI agent chasing after a deranged set of bank robbers. The inter-personal relationships between the two of leads is the best aspect of the film, as Johnny Utah goes in undercover to unearth the plausible identity of a group of professional bank robbers. The caste of crazies are all surfers, led by the irreprehensible and handsome Patrick Swayze. He portrays a mellow leader simply waiting for the big kahuna wave to hit, financing it with his bank sprees. The film is famous for its action packed bank robbery scenes, and the relationship between Utah (Reeves) and Bodhi (Swayze). Other important elements to the story include a love story and partner relationship, and also show scenes of the inner workings of the FBI, plagued with scenes that include a still considered sane Gary Busey. The film works for many reasons; specifically that it contains a lot of magic realism, while also being grounded in police procedure, drug busts, which are shown occasionally between shots of babes on the beach. The gang he infiltrates are speed freaks, which lends to too many interesting shots of surfing, skydiving, and general thievery. Some iconic scenes include those of the bank robberies and essentially the chase scene near the end. It starts very strong and ends as poignantly and interesting as it began. It only suffers from its annoying seriousness in the face of its ridiculous premise. It's a film you need to wade into. A great action film, with an interesting portrayal from Reeves, though it's one clouded in vast cinematography and mystic philosophies. Overall a generally habit forming kind of film.

Super Reviewer

October 3, 2006
Okay, so the idea of a law man going undercover, and finding himself conflicted has been done to death, but this variation on that old theme is one stunning ride.

Johnny Utah is a former college athlete and rookie FBI agent who is recruited by a burn out named Pappas to help him catch a gang of bank robbers called the "Ex-Presidents" due to the fact that they wear rubber masks of former U.S. Commanders-In-Chief. For reasons I won't get into, they believe the thieves are surfers, so Utah takes it upon himself to learn the ropes of the surfer lifestyle, hoping that his efforts will lead to the end of a case that has really had the Bureau stumped.

Utah's effort lead him to fall in with a pack of beach bums lead by the charismatic guru-like Bodhi, who mixes surfing with philosophy. He also gets involved with Bodhi's former flame Tyler, whose still kinda present allegiance to her old beau adds even more conflict into the mix.

Alright, so some of what the movie does to set itself apart makes it run the risk of being considered campy or hokey, like Bodhi's philosophizing, but don't be put off, this is a taut, compelling, and thrilling actioner. A decade before she wowed audiences and critics with The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow knocked it out of the park with this one. The action scenes, be they the robberies, surfing, or others, are well choreographed, expertly filmed, and an absolute blast to watch.

While the film may still be a bit campy, you find yourself not caring about that too much, and more invested in what will happen to the characters and the plot.
Phil H

Super Reviewer

May 30, 2012
If you ask me this was the first film to have the bad guys wearing cool/freaky looking masks whilst carrying out their heists. So many films since this have used that simple formula and most have worked don't get me wrong, its a great visual method to ramp up the tension, but I think Bigelow was the first (one of the first) to use it.

Its funny really, one of the best action flicks made and its directed by a lady, it just adds to the coolness is all I'm saying, a woman knows how to make guys look macho. 'Predator' was the perfect 80's testosterone filled muscle vehicle, 'Point Break' was the perfect 90's testosterone filled heist vehicle.

Its hard not to love this simple film, everything and virtually everyone looks tanned toned and rebellious. All the main male and female characters glisten in the Cali sun as the blue Pacific waves crash against the smooth beaches. Bigelow manages to combine the grittiness of a bank thriller with the far out dudeness of the surfer world, its near perfect in every sense while the casting is one of those one off moments in cinematic history.
The film kinda makes you feel unfit, you feel you should be raising a sweat just to make yourself feel better. You actually feel like an nerdy outsider who isn't worthy enough to step foot on their fine golden beach, maybe I should be throwing myself out of planes and having barbecues by the moonlight. You feel like you need to be much cooler and reckless after you finish watching this.

Can you picture anyone else as the wild wave Buddha 'Bodhi'? of course you can't, this role was made for him. The same can be said for Reeves (Reeves as a surfer, flawless choice there brah hehe) as the naive stuck up suit wearing 'Utah' who almost turns tables on his grouchy partner 'Pappas' played by the rubber faced Nixon lookalike Busey. John C. McGinley is hilarious as 'Utah's' desk jockey chief and he has one of the most memorable lines ever :)
LeGros shines as the slightly twitchy unlikeable 'Roach' and who can forget the solid and rather tough looking Vincent Klyn as 'Warchild', epic badass right there.

This film pretty much raised the bar for all other action films ever since, it set a benchmark and has been copied so many times, more or less ('Fast n Furious'...just 'Point Break' with cars basically, nowhere near as good I might add). Some of the best sequences in an action film right here folks, the bank robberies, the fights, do I even need to mention the on foot chase sequence? how good is that? still!. On top of that then you have some really beautiful surf sequences and damn good skydiving sequences, Swayze did all his own stunts too.

The tag for the film is 100% pure adrenaline and boy does it mean it, a raging flick that never lets up and has the added bonus of really good characters that you care about. Apart from the hideous surfer language that seems really really dated and corny the film is damn near perfect.

Super Reviewer

September 18, 2007
Well i think whenever we think of this movie its going to be for that iconic scene where Reeves trys to shoot his best bud but points it to the air ! Its an enjoyable enough movie thats got enough action to keep you entertained!

Super Reviewer

April 4, 2010
Here is the mother of all action thriller movies in one. I loved this movie from smart to finish. I wish it went on for another half hour. Patrick Swayze is a really cool actor, Keanu Reeve's on the other hand, cannot act is his life depended on it. Their on screen chemistry is fun to watch, as their opposite lives collide. Kathryn Bigelow has created a testosterone fuelled crime thriller, and the pleasant twists, the intense action sequences, and the witty dialogue, are all something that I will remember this film by. There are so many twists that I lost count, but not so much that I lost where I was during the viewing. "Point Break" has a fantastic story, amazing characters, solid acting (excluding Reeve's), and a jaw-dropping conclusion! I have so much fun watching this movie that I lose track of my brain cells most of the time. There may be a few times where you will role your eyes, and say, "Oh that would never happen," but overall, it's an adrenaline fuelled thrill ride!

Super Reviewer

August 30, 2006
This Feds-vs-surfers thriller is one of the dippiest action movies ever mounted. The twist is that it's also one of the best. As Keanu Reeves's greenhorn agent embarks on a seafoam-flecked duel of wits with Patrick Swayze's mystical boarder, Point Break notches up brilliantly shot set pieces, rocketing from land to air to sea in its unquenchable thirst for kicks.
Jens S

Super Reviewer

June 14, 2006
The premise of a cop being forced to infiltrate a gang of surfers, who are suspects in a robbery spree may sound a bit silly. But director Bigelow created a high adrenaline action thriller that's nothing less but one of the highlights of the 90s. Young Keanu Reeves is the obvious and perfect choice for the newcomer, but Busey and Swayze steal every scene they are in. For most of its running time, the film refuses to make the villains all hate-worthy, presenting ambiguous characters in an enthralling script. The surfing and especially the parachuting scenes are beautifully shot and cause an adrenaline rush in the audience as much as the actors. The camera work, the editing, the music, it all adds up to a wild and exciting ride.
Clintus M.
Clintus M.

Super Reviewer

July 13, 2011
"You gotta go down, its gotta be that way," thunders FBI agent Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) to Patrick Swayze's Bodhi in the climactic scene of Point Break. It's the irresistible force versus the immovable object in Kathryn Bigelow's wild ride of a thriller. It's a thrill a minute, captivating, yet completely preposterous. The movie succeeds despite the ubiquitous "surfer dude" attitude, so suspend disbelief, and come along for the rush. Its all about adrenaline junkies, and I've always loved the adrenaline rush and the sheer lunacy of it all. Here's the plot: surfers dress up as ex-presidents and rob banks to finance their endless summer. Only its not about money; these guys have something to prove to us average working morons on the freeway.

The cast is fantastic. Reeves is a spectacularly bad actor and perfect for this role. Gary Busey is an old burnout of an agent with a crackpot theory. Swayze is the Zen-master surfer/robber. Lori Petty is the sweet yet troubled surfer babe. Red Hot Chili Pepper frontman Anthony Kiedis is somewhat enjoyable as a violent surfer lunatic. The surfing crowd and Utah make Busey look like the sane one, quite an accomplishment for Bigelow.

So, the unlikeliest villain is being pursued by the unlikeliest cop. The existential hero rages against the system, pursued by the ex-football player/virgin surfer, now with the FBI. Its hokey and corny, but you can't take your eyes off it. I'm not sure I can explain how this film works or why I like it so much. Maybe the appeal is living by your own rules and chasing your dream to (literally) the end of the earth. The action sequences are some of the greatest ever, maybe the most memorable being Reeves' Utah leaping out of a plane without a parachute to catch Bodhi and save Tyler (Petty). After all, it is all about the adrenaline.

Super Reviewer

April 17, 2007
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, produced by her ex-husband James Cameron, and with Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze in their absolute prime. Not such a wonder then that this movie turned out to be really good. Made during a time when "cowabunga" was a popular phrase and Gary Busey amazingly sane, it's a story that really knows how to thrill and intrigue. Moreover, I've never seen a movie that got me so pumped to try out surfing and sky diving. The way it depicts these extreme sports is appealing beyond words. A film that's got a little bit of everything, with great acting, exciting action and a captivating plotline. Like the cinematic equivalent of an adrenaline-shot. And I mean that in the most positive sense.

Super Reviewer

May 4, 2011
Point Break has got to be one of the most eccentric action films ever made. The story is quite bizarre, and it works in so many ways. I say bizarre because the premise is not what you'd normally expect from an action film. The premise is a bunch of surfers who rob banks in order to fund their surfing expeditions. What follows is a rookie cop by the name of Johnny Utah who is on the trail of the bandits and it leads him to a group of surfers lead by the name of Bodhi who is brilliantly played by Patrick Swayze. Keanu Reeves stars as Johnny Utah and along with Speed, Point Break is his best film. Kathryn Bigelow who is one of my favorite directors helms this film and crafts a film that is purely and simply pulse pounding. The film is just as testosterone driven as it's characters, and Bigelow knows how to craft a spectacular action film. Bigelow who previously directed the vampire horror film Near Dark, and despite this, Bigelow is able to direct an effective action film. I think it be fair to say that Kathryn Bigelow is able to master any genre of film, and she knows how to create something that stands out. Point Break is a non stop action film that will appeal to action fans, but it's not everyones cup of tea. Point Break is one of my favorite action films as it combines the traditional cops and robbers formula with adrenaline soaked action. Point Break is one awesome film.

Super Reviewer

August 1, 2009
Some fantastic set-pieces though it often comes off a little too silly for its own good. Full review later.
Conner R

Super Reviewer

February 24, 2011
Point Break is considered a classic for many reasons. One is just because it's so bizarre and almost inhuman. The characters, especially Keanu Reeves, are like aliens trying to imitate people. Now that's not really a bad thing because this benefits from being so incredibly outrageous. Without it, we wouldn't have the endlessly quotable lines and awkward moments galore. While this may lack strength story-wise, it is completely brilliant from a visual standpoint. It honestly stands out as one one of the most well shot action movies of all time. Kathryn Bigelow is like the female Tony Scott in terms of directing action.

Super Reviewer

July 14, 2007
Cool movie. Patrick is crazy surfer / bank robber and Keanu is in the FBI who goes undercover to catch the ex-president bank robbers. Keanu falls for one of the gang and becomes buddies with Patrick the gang leader.
Lady D

Super Reviewer

February 28, 2007
Extreme sport junkies, bank robberies, under cover agent, this 90's Action flick arose during Keanu Reeves peak (if it's possible to say he had one) yes I'll join the band wagon on that one and agree he's a wooden Actor, but there is a little nostalgia in this one for me, plus Nick Frost sells it so well in Hot Fuzz.

This time around, I started to realise how similar the plot of Fast and Furious is to this film.

Super Reviewer

April 11, 2010
Kathryn Bigelow's stand out hit before The Hurt Locker is an action thriller which takes everyone to the edge and beyond...

Simple, Keanu plays a rookie FBI agent assigned to old timer Gary Busey, investigating a series of Bank Robberies committed by the "ex-Presidents." Following some vital clues, they determine that the robbers are a group of surfers, high adrenaline junkies led by the charismatic and devious Patrick Swayze.

Simple plot, confusing ideology and story put into practice... I guess most people would be confused or laughing at the idea of "freedom" and "sticking it to the man" but once the guns go off, then nothing is funny about this high stakes game where the bet is your own life in pursuit of the Ultimate Rush.

Some good cinematography, a gem from the early nineties, this is no way similar to the marvelous Hurt Locker, but its a good thriller, and with James Cameron producing, its obvious you see some of his influences... though Bigelow does have some standout signature moments, the use of the camera and the melancholy ending.

Standout performances I think goes to Gary Busey, who did a great job as the grizzly veteran Agent and Swayze's bad guy... Reeves kinda sucked but guess its no point criticizing nearly 20 years later, he's a part of the movie as much as Swayze is.
Dan S

Super Reviewer

November 2, 2007
A ridiculously over-the-top and ultimately cheesy feeling film concerning an FBI agent (Reeves, who rivals Paul Walker as being the worst cop/FBI agent ever caught on screen), who goes undercover to track down a group of bank-robbers who wear masks of the former Presidents of the United States when they commit their crimes. What he doesn't know (but probably should've) is that once you're in, sometimes you can't get out. As predictable as a film that channels this movie was, that being "The Fast and the Furious", at least actors Paul Walker and Vin Diesel (whose performance rocked the house) had more of a believable relationship than Reeves and Swayze. Swayze actually gives a fine performance, but Reeves' robotic face when he's shouting his lines just gives off the feeling of forced and amateurish. The only thing that saves this movie from being called a bad one is due to some of the insane action sequences that Bigelow puts on display. Although even these brief moments of awesome-ness can't topple the avalanche of plot holes, the predictability of the whole film, and Reeves' less than stellar performance (seriously Keanu, go back and watch your stuff in "Speed" and ask yourself, "Why can't I go back to acting and making stuff like this?").
Drew S

Super Reviewer

March 25, 2007
Oh my God, this movie is so bizarre...but in a totally awesome way...I don't really know how to feel. Of course it doesn't work, if only because Keanu Reeves is by far the worst FBI agent ever committed to film - you could play a drinking game out of all the different ways he fucks up - and because the mumbo-jumbo mysticism is more laughable than effective. But when you suspend all your disbelief, the action scenes actually become unusually badass. You don't care about how plausible that skydiving scene is because it's FUCKING KEANU REEVES JUMPING OUT OF A PLANE, HOW COOL IS THAT, and really if you're taking this movie seriously then you're doing it wrong. It really is, as the back of the box says, an adrenalin rush, and there's nothing wrong with that.
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