A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Point Break

January 7, 2011

Point Break

After watching Johnny Mnemonic last night we decided to do a Keanu Reeves weekend. Because, you know, we could. I know that Keanu has a reputation. Heck, I’ve slagged off on him a lot because he’s so wooden and monotone. But that kind of works for him sometimes. Somehow he made the unbelievable transformation from the kind of dim Ted “Theodore” Logan to one of the highest grossing action stars of all time. Because you don’t really have to be able to emote to be an action star. Apparently all you need to do is glare, look a little dreamy, and yell a lot.

Like Keanu himself I’d say that this movie isn’t particularly great, but it’s good enough. It makes about as much sense as any other action movie in terms of plot. It has some actually good actors in it. It’s got some directoral flare to it, directed as it is by Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow. It’s a movie that did well enough and resonated with enough people that it gained some kind of a place in the annals of pop culture. It’s been featured in both Mythbusters and Hot Fuzz.

Keanu here plays a squeaky clean all American FBI agent freshly assigned to a unit in California which is trying to solve a series of bank robberies. The robbers wear the masks of previous presidents of the United States and call themselves the “Ex-Presidents.” They are supposedly the ultimate team of bank robbers – in and out in ninety seconds and never leaving behind a single clue. Keanu’s new partner, the grizzled cop Pappas played by Gary Busey has a theory that the crooks are surfers, so Johnny Utah (Keanu’s character) sets out to learn to surf and work his way undercover into the insular world of surfer dudes.

He meets the only girl surfer in the entire movie on his first day at the beach and cons her into teaching him how to use his hot pink board. I will say that it’s a pleasure seeing Lori Petty, who plays Tyler, the love interest. She is just so full of energy all the time, and it makes me want to watch Tank Girl again. Tyler introduces Johnny to the surfer guru Bodhi, played by a disheveled looking Patrick Swayze, who of course turns out to be the head of the infamous Ex-Presidents.

There’s a car chase, and a chase on foot, and eventually Johnny has to decide how to reconcile his desire to see justice done and his burgeoning friendship with the charismatic Bodhi. You wouldn’t think it would be so hard, since Bodhi shows himself to be crazy as all get out, but still they needed an excuse to keep the movie going. Once Bodhi knows that his new friend Johnny is actually an FBI agent bent on his capture he does what any lunatic adrenalin junky would do – he invites Johnny along to go skydiving. Of course everything goes wrong and there’s gunfights and blood and more skydiving.

The movie is filled with stuff like that. It’s all about X-Treme sports and seeking that big rush and male bonding. For the most part I just let it wash over me. It’s fun to watch Swayze grin his manic grin and charm Johnny into going along with his mad schemes. It’s fun to see Lori Petty flaunt her pixie bad-girl charms. It’s fun to watch Kathryn Bigelow begin to explore what can be done with a camera. (In particular the long tracking shot of FBI headquarters as Johnny first arrives there feels like a rehearsal for Strange Days.) It’s fun if you just turn off your brain and give yourself up to the movie. Ride the swells and try not to get pulled under by the riptides.

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January 7, 2011 - Posted by | daily reviews | , ,

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