Everyone, deep down, wants to be Johnny Utah—star athlete, FBI golden boy, amateur surfer, and then eventually a way better surfer.
After the trailer for an abysmal looking remake premiered, I knew it was high time to catch the next wave and revisit this '90s gem. With my eye on the surf and my guns in the sky, I sat down for two hours and graciously lapped up this maritime bliss.
Boy did I learn a lot.
1. Keanu Reeves is magic
Point Break is a movie where the bullets flow as freely and eternally as the waves. Keanu Reeves as Johnny Utah probably unloads 9,000 bullets in the opening scene alone without even having to reload his tiny pistol. How? It's because Keanu Reeves exists in a world where the laws of physical matter do not apply to him. This was just prep work for The Matrix.
2. Gary Busey is crazy even as the straight man
What kind of bigwig fat cat Hollywood exec pointed to Gary Busey and said: "that's the normal guy we need!" Even while playing the “straight man,” Angelo Pappas (helluva name), Busey is still considerably crazier than, um, everyone else in the movie.
3. The Ex-Presidents knew what they were doing
The gang of mask-clad bank robbers under Bodhi's rule (spoiler alert) knew exactly what they were doing when it came to robbing banks. By hitting all the registers and avoiding the bank vault, they minimized the time spent in the bank and made a quick getaway—anything to get out of the workplace and into the water, right? Tl;dr: rob banks.
4. No gig is more glamorous than that of the undercover cop
It’s not just Point Break that makes the undercover cop scene seem so damn attractive. You've got Johnny Depp posing as a high schooler in 21 Jump Street, Paul Walker hauling ass and racing cars in The Fast and the Furious, and Johnny Utah hangin' loose, frolicking in the waves, and flirting with the babe from Free Willy all while undercover. Is there no better job out there? No, there's not.
5. Every sports movie has defined "bad dudes"
It's the unspoken rule of 80s and 90s cinema—for every movie with a diehard group of sports enthusiasts, you've got the opposing group who are all in it for evil. They’ve all got a leader, a hype man, and a bunch of dudes in the background who may or may not be in a funk-rock band.
6. You shouldn’t bring a neon pink surfboard into a police station
Gary Busey is gonna have an aneurysm, Dr. Cox from Scrubs is going to chew you out, and no one is going to give a flying f*ck about the "first tube" you may or may not have caught that morning. It’s a bad scene, don’t do it. Leave your surfboard at home, even while you're deep undercover trying to bust a gang of evil surfers.
7. I think the ocean is a metaphor for something...
At one point, Bodhi speaks of the elusive “50-year storm,” an event that’ll produce a gigantic wave the world has never seen before. With a twinkle in his eye, the late great Swayze tells Keanu that “you gotta be willing to pay the ultimate price" if you want the ultimate experience. Suicide by surfing a giant wave. Is the giant wave a metaphor for life? Corporate America? Neither? Both? Whatever, don’t threaten me with a good time.
8. Don't mix business with pleasure
One minute you’re surfing with your best brah, the next you find out he's a professional thief who knocks off banks while wearing a Ronald Reagan mask. When the time comes to arrest your bro, it will matter how radical he is and it will impair your judgement and force you to shoot your gun in the air out of sheer frustration! Aaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!
9. Settle your sh*t in the air
The best place to settle your differences is the extreme landscape of 12,000 feet above the Earth. Think about it, you’ve got nowhere to go—literally only down, it’s the perfect place to exchange words of wisdom with the man you're secretly hunting. For example: "Are you going to jump or jerk off?"
10. Back off, Warchild
11. Waves can be part of the legal process too
Some people think the concept of an FBI letting his suspect go for the sole purpose of surfing a once-in-a-lifetime wave is laughable, but I think it’s admirable—especially when you can count on that wave to execute that suspect for you. And that's what happens at the end of the movie. Bodhi lives his dream and gets smashed to bits from a big wave. I guess it was just a lot easier for everybody. Also cheaper, because trials are really expensive.
BONUS: You can also apparently resign from the FBI from the simple act of throwing your badge in the ocean.
Jeremy Glass is writer for Supercompressor and would, in fact, jump off a bridge if Keanu Reeves did it first.
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