“After a string of bizarre bank robberies in Southern California, with the crooks donning masks of various former presidents, a federal agent, Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves), infiltrates the suspected gang. But this is no ordinary group of robbers. They’re surfers — led by the charismatic Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) — who are addicted to the rush of thievery. But when Utah falls in love with a female surfer, Tyler (Lori Petty), who is close to the gang, it complicates his sense of duty.”
Last weekend, I was browsing through the movie listings on Hulu and came across Point Break. I knew right away that I wanted to watch it. Last month, we watched the Patrick Swayze classic, Road House. My 12-year-old daughter really liked Patrick Swayze in that, and I had told her that I thought she would like Point Break. So when I stumbled across it, I immediately thought this could be a good chance at a family night movie. Well, she wasn’t interested in pulling herself away from her phone to watch it, but I knew I still wanted to see it again.
It’s probably been about 15 years since I last watched it, and while I knew a lot of what was going to happen, enough time had passed that I had forgotten all the little details, so it still felt kinda fresh while watching it. Patrick Swayze was awesome in his role as the cult-leader-like Bodhi, but Keanu Reeves was over-acting a little bit I thought. Lori Petty was really good in this one too, and Gary Busey did a really good job in his role as well.
What really stood out to me while watching though, is just how much The Fast and the Furious took from this movie. I mean, you replace surfing with fast cars and the bank-robbing with truck hijacking, and you basically have the same movie. Not that that’s a bad thing, because I loved The Fast and the Furious too!
Who was the MVP of the movie?
For me, this is a tough one. The obvious answer is Patrick Swayze as Bohdi. But I’m going out on a controversial limb here and throwing Gary Busey’s name in the hat. Busey has since become a living meme, but I thought he did a really good job in this, and his character was written really well. Not that I’m picking him to win this one, but I just wanted to make a case for him. I’d put Bohdi at 1A, and Angelo Pappas at 1B. Even his name is great in this one. Unfortunately, he died before the end of the movie.
Would I take anything away from this movie?
Well, I don’t think they should have killed off Gary Busey’s Angelo Pappas. I know they did it to build tension late in the movie and give Johnny Utah another reason to bring down Bohdi and his gang, but then they didn’t really follow up on or do much with it. I’d much rather that death be used on one of the other two FBI agents who were always giving Utah and Pappas a hard time. I think you could have achieved the same end result, but still had Pappas for another scene at the end of the movie which I’ll get to next.
Would I add anything to this movie?
In the scene where Pappa gets killed, I would have changed that to one of the other agents biting the dust as I mentioned above, but I would also have Pappas get shot, but not die. Then, at the end of the movie when Utah confronts Bohdi, I would have shown Pappas sitting in a van on the beach watching. He would be watching and not participating because he would still be recovering from his injuries. Once Utah lets Bohdi go after the massive wave, I would cut back to Pappas looking on in disbelief. And finally, after Bohdi goes under, and Utah is walking along the beach and throws his badge in the water, I would cut back one final time to Pappas watching, smiling, and nodding in approval. But that’s just me.
What would a sequel look like?
I’m not sure that this movie needs a sequel. It told a pretty good story from beginning to end, so there is no need for any kind of follow-up to the original story. The only thing I can think of would be if Bohdi didn’t actually die in the storm, and resurface maybe 20 years later. Maybe bank robberies with his old m.o. would start happening again, and Johnny Utah sees the news footage and immediately makes the connection, but can’t believe it’s Bohdi because he watched him die…or so he thought. Then maybe Utah is called back by the FBI because they have forensic evidence that it is indeed Bohdi, and they want Utah to track him down again. But 20 years later, Utah and Bohdi are not the same young men they once were. So Bohdi has a young “apprentice” if you will and a gang of young hoodlums looking up to him and pulling off the robberies. Utah gets assigned with a young agent just like he was in the original. I think those would be some fun dynamics to explore, and I guess I’d be up for another round of Bohdi vs. Utah.
Would this work as a series?
Yes, it absolutely would. This movie could easily be spread out over 10 – 13 episodes and it would still be fantastic. Doing it as a series would allow more time to focus on different aspects of the FBI investigation, the budding love between Johnny and Tyler, and the various bank robberies. I believe you could really have the tension mount as the episodes rolled on, leading up to the fateful Mexico scene in the next to the last episode, followed by the series finale where Johnny catches Bohdi in Australia during the 50-year storm as a low key episode, almost like an epilogue to the series. It would also allow you to spend a couple of episodes building the thread of the other surfer gang looking more and more like the robbers before they get brought down hard by the FBI raid. If it were a Netflix series, I would most certainly binge-watch it.
Does it still hold up today?
At the time of this writing, this movie is 30 years old, but I think it does. There is a noticeable lack of cell phones and the internet, but you don’t get taken out of the film due to that lack of modern technology. The story would be good set at any point after its current setting, and probably even for at least 20 years before the setting. Like I mentioned near the beginning, they took this same story, swapped out a few elements, and called it The Fast and the Furious. Obviously, the basic story itself still holds up.