Point Break v1.0

I went back a couple of decades recently. No, not time travel — except in the sense that watching an old movie can take you back in time. It definitely was interesting to go back to when there were no mobile phones, very few laptops, and even surfboard technology was not as advanced. Yes, I watched Point Break, the old Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves movie. And, yes, good stand up paddle boards were a thing of the future at the time the movie was shot. That’s not to say that no one ever stood up on a surfboard and tried to paddle using whatever was available (kayak paddle? canoe paddle? oar?), but paddle boards had yet to become a thing. I’m not involved in surf culture at all, but I can imagine that the gist of it is the same. After all, the crux of it is still a man or woman out on the waves in quest of the ultimate ride, and for many, the camaraderie of others trying to do the same. That camaraderie figures large in Point Break and, of course, it still present today and perhaps even enhanced by our hyper-connected culture.

In case you are not familiar, Point Break is a 1991 movie based in California where FBI agent Johnny Utah (Reeves) infiltrates a surf community led by Bodhi (Swayze) in order to investigate a number of bank robberies that may have been committed by surfers. Utah and Bodhi develop a complex friendship that later changes and develops into a part-enemy relationship as Utah tries to gain proof of the surfer’s crimes. I won’t reveal any more in case you are planning to watch it too. All in all it is a really good crime/action movie with plenty of interesting twists and chases, and lots of guns and knives — yes, there are big hunting knives held to throats as you’d expect, but woman to woman as you wouldn’t expect, rather than man to man. Rotten Tomatoes rates it 68% and the Internet Movie Database gives it 7.2/10. Personally, though I felt its datedness detracted from it a little, I would happily give it 7.5/10 as it kept me engaged all the way through. Swayze was excellent at walking the line between keeping us rooting for him and wanting him to get caught. The portrayals of surf culture felt authentic though an insider might disagree, but even then, a generous viewer would be forgiving, I think, considering it is a movie and willing “suspension of disbelief” is a requirement.

So, by all means: rent it, watch it. It is a movie full of suspense, a charismatic performance by Swayze, and an early performance by Keanu Reeves (it’s interesting to compare Reeves performance to his latest in John Wick, and yes, as you’d expect, he has put on a little weight). The surf shots, too, are a lot of fun, and if you have a free-spirited side you’ll find yourself envying the good-natured and laid-back beach and surf lifestyle of the 80s and 90s. Of course, watch for the remake coming out December 2015!