Point Break (1991) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Point Break (1991) is an action/adventure film from director Kathryn Bigelow. It looks at people whose life centers around finding the ultimate adrenalin rush. Keanu Reeves, hick from Ohio and former star quarterback in a Rose Bowl, had to give up football due to a knee injury. He joins the FBI, and is assigned straight out of Quantico to work in a bank robbery division in LA. He is partnered with Gary Busey, a 22 year veteran who is out of favor with the bureau. They are assigned to a gang calling themselves the "ex-presidents" (they wear masks of Nixon, Carter, etc. when they rob banks) who has staged dozens of bank hold-ups without making a single mistake.
Busey has a theory that they are surfers, as they only work in the prime surfing months and one of them showed a tan line while mooning the security cameras. To try the theory, Reeves buys a board and learns to surf. He manages to convince Lori Petty to teach him, and befriends a group of surfers including Patrick Swayze, surfer supreme and obvious leader. A hair sample left in the last robbery shows a collection of pollutants that is traced to a particular beach. The FBI raids a house based on the information, and manages to hose what had been an ongoing DEA undercover job.  


  • During the bust, Julie Michaels is seen in the shower, then trying to stab a cop, and struggling with him. You see her breasts and her bush, although the lighting is difficult and there is a lot of motion blur.
  • Later, Lori Petty shows her butt running out of the room.
  • an unknown girl shows thonged buns
  • Keanu Reeves shows his buns as he follows petty
  • James LeGros moons the camera during a robbery
The film is high energy start to finish, and includes a foot chase through Santa Monica, CA, surfing, and sky diving, as well as several fights. There are a lot of bloopers. For instance, the FBI report IDs Petty as blonde with green eyes, while she is actually dark haired with blue eyes. Also, the mooning scene as originally seen does not show a tan line, but when reviewed at the FBI headquarters, about half of a back is exposed to show the tan line. Does this make for a bad film? Not really. They are minor points, and the point of the film is to show the mentality of people who are addicted to the adrenaline rush. 

The critics, IMDb and I agree that the film is watchable, with the disagreement being over how much depth the film has. 

Scoop's comments in yellow:

1. Kathryn Bigelow also directed 1995's Strange Days, which is an excellent film. She has not been prolific since then.

2. This film is more or less the exact same film as The Fast and the Furious, except the context is surfing instead of driving. The plot is virtually identical and the characters are essentially the same.

3. The premise and the plot of Point Break are completely preposterous, and it is filled with factual errors, unrealistic behavior, unbelievable plotting, and obvious continuity errors. If you're anal-retentive and those kinds of things bother you, you must skip it, because it will irritate the hell out of you. Some of it was so dumb that I went back to listen to it a second time because I didn't believe they said that stuff.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 2.35:1

  • Making-of featurette and two trailers.

For example, at one point Keanu Reeves says (and this is an exact quote): "my parents figured I'd go to law school. And I did. Football scholarship."

On the other hand, like Like The Fast and The Furious, it's really dumb, and really super-charged fun!

The Critics Vote

  • Consensus: three stars or more. Ebert 3.5/4, BBC 4/5

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.4
  • With their dollars ... it grossed a solid $43 million, then another $19 million in subsequent rental income
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, Tuna liked the detailed character development which is not typical in an action film. C+. Scoop: agree with the C+. It's even close to a B. As dumb as it is, it's fun, like riding a roller coaster. Although it is an adolescent-male-oriented fantasy/action film, it scores quite well across all demographic groups, including older women, for example. Males under 18 score it 6.9 at IMDb, Women over 44 score it 6.6.

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