At the intersection of buddy cop movies, surfer movies, self-aware action movies, hardcore bromance, and sheer adrenaline-fueled insanity sits one film: Point Break. Released in 1991, the film has remained an unforgettable pop culture touchstone for over 25 years. What's the secret to it's success? Blowing minds while making almost no sense whatsoever.
That isn't a criticism. If anything, it's an accomplishment. This film has a lot going on: FBI office drama, bank robbing, presidential impersonation, romance, philosophy, meteorology, vague mysticism, friendship, skydiving, a Red Hot Chili Pepper, and the ultimate surfer quest for the perfect wave are just some of the things going down on screen. Point Break was an early film for Kathryn Bigelow, who went on to direct films like Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker, which earned her the first Oscar given to a female director. But even back then, Bigelow knew how to juggle an intricate plot, stage high-impact action sequences, and let her stars shine.
And boy, do Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze shine! Theirs is a cat-and-mouse bromance that defies expectations at every turn. Reeves puts his air-headed Bill & Ted days behind him as the hotshot FBI recruit who is working undercover, while Swayze captivates as a surfer who will stop at nothing for the next big thrill. That we root for each of them to succeed, knowing that ultimately they both can't win, is a testament to the performances and their dynamic together.
But a complicated plot and serious star power is enough to mask some of the more wtf aspects of Point Break. Whatever you may think you remember about it, we guarantee you're still missing out on some of the weirdest things in Point Break - things you may never have noticed before, but will make you appreciate the film more than ever!
After rescuing Tyler and letting Bodhi get away, the film jumps ahead a number of months. Johnny shows up in Australia, knowing that Bodhi wouldn't be able to resist the big waves of the fabled 50-Year Storm that he'd always talked about. And sure enough, Johnny is right. Bodhi is right there on the beach, ready to head out into the treacherous surf.
Johnny explains that he's been on Bodhi's trail the whole time, tracking him through Mexico to Fiji, Sumatra, and, finally, to Australia. Which is a cool story, except: Why would the FBI pay to send Johnny, a guy who implicated himself in the Ex-Presidents' crimes, got his partner killed, and didn't bring down Bodhi the first time, halfway around the world for the better part of a year just to redeem himself? Wouldn't they have fired Johnny after the mess he made of things in LA? And if the FBI wanted Bodhi that badly, wouldn't they send someone who hadn't already lost the dude once?
Also, why did Johnny bother tracking him? He could have saved the FBI a whole lot of money and just gone straight to Australia in time for the storm, since he always knew he'd find Bodhi there. The rest of the search was a waste of time. And in the end, Johnny STILL lets Bodhi get away, relying on the waves to kill him, and then throws his badge into the surf, effectively quitting his job.
After all that work, he doesn't even arrest Bodhi. So was his goal to save face at work or watch his bro-crush die? Johnny Utah really was the "blue flame special" after all. Even if we're still not sure what that means.
Ok, so Johnny Utah kept his real name when he went undercover to infiltrate the surfing community, fine, but that wasn't the only aspect of the operation that doesn't seem well thought out. He joins two stakeouts with his FBI colleagues, which makes sense because he's working on the investigation... except are kind of a conflict of duty considering his undercover status at the time! Seriously, what if somebody recognized him and got away, and then started telling the other surfers?
In fact, his cover DOES get blown - when he chases Bodhi on foot after a robbery, and Bodhi recognizes him. Isn't the first rule of undercoverness not to blow your cover until you're sure you've caught the bad guys? And ideally don't shoot your gun into the air and scream "Aaaargh!"
So Bodhi, in his Reagan disguise, outruns Johnny Utah thanks to the ol' knee injury acting up. But here's the clincher, he obviously recognized Johnny, who, unlike Bodhi, was not wearing a mask at the time. And naturally Bodhi goes and tells his crew and they all concoct a plan to deal with their former friend/current FBI agent. Step one: Take him skydiving.
Yup, they show up at Johnny's doorstep unannounced and insist that he go flying with them, then they jump out of a plane using parachutes that they packed. And here's the kicker: Johnny agrees to it! Is it because he somehow doesn't realize his cover is blown? Or is it that his bromance with Bodhi is so deep he's willing to risk it? All of it defies logic.
Let's start with one of the biggest, weirdest aspects of the movie: Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) doesn't seem to understand how undercover works. Pretty sure the first thing you do when you go undercover is pick a new identity. But not Johnny! When he's asked to infiltrate the surfer community, he starts by trying to learn how to surf. Which is a solid first step. Unfortunately he almost drowns immediately and a beautiful surfer named Tyler (Lori Petty) rescues him from the waves.
So he tracks her down and introduces himself... USING HIS REAL NAME. While his instincts were right about using Tyler, she is the perfect person to teach him to surf and introduce him to the surfers, he probably should have nailed down his alias first. He made up a fake backstory involving his parents dying, and a fake career as a lawyer, but didn't come up with a fake name to go with it. For that matter, why would a bunch of bank-robbing surfers trust a lawyer? He probably should have spent a little more time thinking that one through.