It's hard to believe it's been 25 years since Point Break skydived into theaters, changing surfer movies forever with its combination of high-octane action, beach-ey mysticism, and the thousand-yard stare of Johnny Utah. You may be significantly older and grayer, but the movie remains just as young, dumb, and full of cum as it was in 1991. The movie has survived years of gentle ribbing, Sad Keanu, and even a terrible extreme-sports remake, to arrive at this point in history. Vaya con Dios, cult-status. Hola, respectability.
To celebrate 25 years of Gary Busey eating a rhino's ass, I went back and rewatched the original to figure out exactly what made the movie such a thrilling and ridiculous ride because, like Patrick Swayze says to Keanu, I wanted it so bad it’s like acid in my mouth. Come on, compadre.
1. It’s all about the casting
Johnny Utah and Bodhi: now those are movie-character names. They’re the ridiculous, over-the top monikers that require ridiculous, over-the-top performers to bring them to life -- actors like Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze, specifically. Despite Reeves' reputation for vacant stares and lunk-headed line readings, his calming blankness brings a stabilizing force to Point Break. With his slicked-back hair, deadpan delivery, and, "Hey, you wanna check out my band Dogstar?" charm, Reeves is the perfect audience surrogate, bringing the viewer into both the macho world of the FBI and the mysterious realm of surfers with laid-back ease.
And then there's Swayze. Has any actor so fully embodied every New Age truth at once? Watching him in Point Break is a bit like listening to an Enya song, staring at a crystal, and doing one-armed pull-ups at the same damn time. Like in Road House, he plays a character with a zen-like quality who also has the capacity for brutal, throat-ripping violence. He is a man of contradictions. He is a warrior in sweatpants. A Samurai in a wetsuit. He is Swayze.