A hare-brained wild ride through big surf and bad vibes, Point Break acts like a huge, nasty wave, picking up viewers for a few major thrills but ultimately grinding them into the sand via overkill and absurdity. What it lacks is subtlety, logic or any redeeming grace. ‘Too much testosterone here,’ says a femme surfer (Lori Petty), walking disdainfully away from a crude party. Comment fits.
Keanu Reeves plays a 25-year-old ex-footballer turned FBI agent who is assigned to penetrate the Southern California surf culture in search of some highly successful bank robbers. Partnered with a cranky veteran fed (Gary Busey), who naturally doesn’t like him, Reeves has to first learn to surf, then gain the trust of a radical dude named Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) who mixes mystical vibes with fearless thrill-seeking.
Script [from a story by Rick King and W. Peter Iliff] tries to ride on the cockeyed relationship between these two rocketheads, but since they spend most of the pic trying to throttle or maim each other, it’s not very interesting.
Director Kathryn Bigelow (Blue Steel) affects a hyperkinetic, agitated visual style that generates plenty of excitement. Actors, especially John McGinley as an FBI boss, behave as if injected with rocket fuel. One wonders if their heads had to be unscrewed from the ceiling after each take.