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Point Break

Point Break

Point Break is a 1991 action film directed by Kathryn Bigelow and starring Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze and Gary Busey. The title refers to the surfing term point break.

The film was a box office success upon its release, and it has since gathered a cult following. The film also contains notable celebrity cameos including Red Hot Chili Peppers front man Anthony Kiedis.

Plot summary

Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves), is an FBI agent and former Ohio State quarterback who, with his partner Angelo Pappas (Gary Busey), is investigating a string of bank robberies. Suspecting a connection between the bank robbers, known as the Ex-Presidents because they use masks of former US presidents, and local surfers, Utah goes undercover to infiltrate the surfing community. Knowing little of the lifestyle, Utah convinces surfer Tyler (Lori Petty) to mentor him.

In the process, Utah develops a complex relationship with Bodhi (Patrick Swayze), the charismatic leader of a gang of surfers who accept Utah into their midst. While Utah goes undercover in the hope of finding the bank robbers, he finds himself increasingly attracted to their adrenaline-charged lifestyle.

The Bodhi/Utah dynamic gets more complicated as Utah begins to zero in on Bodhi as the likely ringleader of the Ex-Presidents. Utah learns that Bodhi and his gang rob banks in order to fund their lifestyle, and as a form of rebellion against a social system that they believe "kills the human spirit". This creates an internal struggle for Utah, as his fondness for Bodhi and the lifestyle he epitomizes conflicts with his duty and responsibility as an FBI agent.

By the end of the film, Utah lets Bodhi seek his own death surfing the giant waves of Bells Beach, Australia.

Cast

Production

Originally, Matthew Broderick and Charlie Sheen were to star in Point Break with Ridley Scott directing. After acquiring the screenplay, the producers of Point Break began looking for a director. At the time, executive producer James Cameron was married to director Kathryn Bigelow who had just completed Blue Steel and was looking for her next project.

Point Break was originally called Johnny Utah when Keanu Reeves was cast in the title role. The studio felt that this title said very little about surfing and by the time Patrick Swayze was cast, the film had been renamed Riders on the Storm after the song by The Doors. However, Jim Morrison's lyrics had nothing to do with the film and so that title was also rejected. It was not until halfway through filming that Point Break became the film's title because of its relevance to surfing.

Reeves liked the name of his character as it reminded him of star athletes like Johnny Unitas and Joe Montana. He described his character as a "total control freak and the ocean beats him up and challenges him. After a while everything becomes a game . . . He becomes as amoral as any criminal. He loses the difference between right and wrong". Swayze felt that Bodhi was a lot like him and that they both shared "that wild-man edge".

Two months before filming, Reeves and Swayze trained with former world class professional surfer Dennis Jarvis on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Shooting the surfing sequences proved to be challenging for both actors with Swayze cracking four of his ribs. For many of the surfing scenes he refused to use a stunt double as he never had one for fight scenes or car chases. He also did the skydiving scenes himself and the film's aerial jump instructor Jim Wallace found that the actor was a natural and took to it right away.

Reception

Upon release in 1991, it was a considerable success, with competition from Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. With a budget of $24 million, Point Break grossed $43.2 million in the USA and $40.3 million internationally.)

Kathryn Bigelow's work positively altered perceptions of female directors in the action film genre, and the film's success helped establish Keanu Reeves as a future action star, from Point Break to Speed to The Matrix.

At the 1992 MTV Movie Awards, Point Break was nominated for 3 awards including "Most Desirable Male" (Keanu Reeves), "Most Desirable Male" (Patrick Swayze), and "Best Action Sequence" for the second jump from the plane. In it, Agent Utah jumps out of a plane without a parachute to catch Bohdi and rescue Tyler. Utah catches up with Bodhi and holds a gun to his head. However, Bodhi refuses to pull the rip cord and Utah must decide between dropping his gun (so he can hold on and pull the rip cord) or letting the two fall to the ground.

The film has inspired a piece of cult theater, Point Break Live!, which features a new, unrehearsed "Keanu" picked at random from the viewing audience, and reading all of his (or her) lines from cue-cards for the duration of the show.

Point Break was listed in the VH1 series I Love the 90s on the episode 1991. Many celebrities, including Dominic Monaghan, Maroon 5, Mo Rocca, Michael Ian Black, Hal Sparks & Jackass's Chris Pontius, commented about the movie and why it deserved to be included in the episode. As Hal Sparks says "We never saw Bodhi die... I smell a sequel, Point Break 2 – Paddling Out". The use of the term "Paddling Out" drew suspicions that a possible sequel could involve Bodhi "Paddling Out" to New Zealand (as reinforced by his quote in the film).

The scene in which Utah jumps after Bodhi without a parachute was ranked seventh in Empire magazine's Top 10 Crazy Action Sequences. The scene was also tested by the Discovery Channel series Mythbusters. It was determined that Utah and Bodhi would not have been able free-fall for 90 seconds (as illustrated in the movie), nor would they have been able to hold a conversation in mid-air. However, it was determined that, by streamlining his body, Utah could have conceivably caught up with Bodhi after jumping from the plane.

Inspiration from Point Break

  • Point Break Live! adapts the film into a stageplay with audience participation.
  • In the French film Brice de Nice certain scenes are part spoof of and part homage to Point Break. The film portrays the experiences of Brice, a young man from Nice. Although Brice claims to be a great surfer and owns a board, he does not know how to surf (for there are no large waves in the Mediterranean Sea). Brice shows fanatical worship for the movie, which is possibly the sole inspiration for his surfer persona. He is shown watching Point Break several times during the film, and knows every line by heart. Brice also gets inspired from Point Break in order to rob a bank with the help of a Jacques Chirac mask. The climax of his adoration occurs when, late in the movie, upon losing consciousness after a bad spill (and finally realizing that he can't surf), he is visited by an apparition of Bodhi himself, telling him not to give up.
  • The action/comedy British film Hot Fuzz has PC Danny Butterman showing his new partner, Sergeant Nicholas Angel a double bill of the films Point Break and Bad Boys II. Butterman, amazed to have a big city cop in a small village, is asking Angel questions about being a police officer in the city, he asks the question "Have you ever fired your gun in the air and gone 'Aaaarrrggghhh'?" similar to how Johnny reacts in Point Break. Later in the film, when faced with shooting his father, Butterman shoots into the air wildly whilst screaming. During the Hot Fuzztival held at the Prince Charles's Cinema in Leicester Square London on the June 10, 2007, Point Break is one of 4 films selected by the director of Hot Fuzz for viewing by an audience of cinema lovers with introduction by Nick Frost who plays Butterman along with director Edgar Wright.
  • The Geek Squad chain of computer repair stores, and Best Buy precincts, use a remote computer diagnostic test to alleviate the on-site work-load. This remote service, as an internal joke, is said to be completed by Agent Johnny Utah. Although a joke, this name has become the Geek Squad standard name for the service.

Soundtrack

Score Album

On February 7 2008 a score release for Point Break was released by La-La Land Records, featuring composer Mark Isham's score. This edition was limited to 2,000 units, and features 65-minutes of score, with liner notes by Dan Goldwasser that incorporates comments from both Bigelow and Isham.

Sequel

A sequel has been planned for a 2009 release date. Early plot details are that the film will center around Bohdi and his new apprentice, and will be shot mostly on location in Singapore. The film is to be named Point Break Indo, and is to be directed by Jan de Bont.

References

External links


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