The classic 1990s film Point Break recently scored a remake starring Luke Bracey, Ray Winstone, and Édgar Ramírez. However, before you get too invested in this new film, you should take the time to study up on the original Point Break. Released in 1991, the original has plenty of fascinating material.
Back in the ’90s, Time’s critic Richard Corless summed the movie up in three words, “pretty but dumb.” And he’s right, but it’s also crazy watchable considering the film has a painfully weak plot: An FBI agent is assigned to infiltrate a gang of banking-robbing, ex-president mask-wearing surfers who rob banks. Oh, and the dialogue is terrible, too. As for the acting, well, Keanu Reeves and Gary Busey are the stars. However, the visuals are great, thanks to Kathryn Bigelow’s amazing direction.
Point Break would not fit solidly into the cult category of so bad it’s good without Bigelow’s help. Her action scenes reflect her painter’s eye for color and composition. They are shot from multiple angles and are flawlessly edited. Though danger is a mainstay, even a motivation, for the surfing anti-heroes, the surfing and skydiving scenes emphasize the sublime nature of pushing yourself beyond constricting expectations. The movie has been accused of being overly machismo and certainly flunks the Bechdel Test. This perspective, however, perpetuates the false dichotomy of male and female energy. The original Point Break is an adrenaline rush for fans of all genders.
Not a top grossing film, Point Break still did fairly well at the box office, more than tripling its $24 million dollar budget. Audiences drawn in by the star power of Keanu Reeves as FBI agent Johnny Utah and Patrick Swayze as the Buddhist phrase-saying Bodhi, were captivated by the movie’s nonstop action and gorgeous cinematography. The action sequences are faultless with Swayze doing many of his own stunts. Both Reeves and Swayze learned to surf for the movie, but Bigelow had the good sense to pair them with professional surfers Bojesse Christopher (Grommet) and John Philbin (Nathaniel).
Anyway, now that you have some background, here are facts about the original Point Break …
#1. Gerald Ford Is Missing
The Ex-Presidents Gang omits Gerald Ford from the lineup. Why? Because they loathed the 38th president of the United States! Kidding. Nobody knows why. Maybe the mask wasn’t as appealing as Regan or Nixon. Still, fascinating Ford from the lineup allowed the gang to be balanced — two Republicans (Richard Nixon, Ronald Regan) and two Democrats (Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter).
#2. The Director Won An Oscar — For A Different Movie
Kathryn Bigelow, the director of Point Break, went on to become the first female to win an Academy Award for Best Director for her 2008 film The Hurt Locker. Interestingly, the two films are linked with the premise of guys indulging in incredibly risky activities for a thrill. Her next movie, Hurt Break, will allegedly focus on a long-haired couch surfer who watches movies about guys indulging in risky activities. Sounds riveting.
#3. Keanu Reeves Was No Joe Montana
Reeves, as former QB sensation Johnny Utah, lacked the ability to throw a football convincingly enough for audiences to believe his character was a former football star. (Although we’re not sure what he did for 2000’s The Replacements, when he again played a quarterback.) To compensate, a former UCLA head coach RickNeuheisel pitched in and a double was hired for any shots that involved Reeves tossing the pigskin.