Movie Classics – Point Break (1991)

Summer is upon us and the beach beckons. But beware, the surf isn’t always an upper

Who knew surf-skydive-action film director Kathryn Bigelow would go on to direct BAFTA, Academy Award and Golden Globe winner The Hurt Locker? We did, when we first had our minds blown by Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze in Point Break. This unique take on the '80s cop-buddy film genre pushed the homoerotic limits as semi-naked dudes strutted about with big longboards protruding from under their arms. But only when not releasing plooms of white out of their sacks after jumping out of a plane.

The uber-American-named Johnny Utah (Reeves) – a former quarterback and star cop, of course – goes undercover as a surfer to infiltrate a bank-robbing gang named the Ex-Presidents because of their choice of masks. As a script it was a good idea, originally to be directed by Ridley Scott and star Matthew Broderick and Charlie Sheen. Only when trusting gang leader Bodhi (Swayze) takes Johnny in, do we see the amazing film chemistry between the two lead actors that made this a classic.

Then there’s that scene. The one they make a joke out of in Hot Fuzz. Utah has his shot at Bodhi but, overcome by emotion, can’t shoot his new friend and so unloads his weapon in the air. We could come back to the homoerotic theme at this point. But we won’t.

When Johnny first meets Bodhi he is having a spot of bother with some hardened surfer dudes. That inevitably leads to a good old-fashioned guy-bonding punch-up. Did you spot one of the surfers as Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Anthony Kiedis? That's his back tattoo above. Only further adding to the ocean of cool already in the surf-sky-dive action flick of a generation.

Gary Busey is in the film too.


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