Friday, July 4, 2014

Ten Statements About....POINT BREAK (1991)

"I know what you're about a decade, some guy
named Diesel and another guy named Walker will have
the same confrontation back in LA."
"It’s not tragic if you die doing what you love."

1) Why do people get the idea that Keanu Reeves should play former quarterbacks?  The man’s Canadian; he played hockey, not football.  There are other sports he can be retired from.  Stop it.

2) You can easily see why Kathryn Bigelow was attracted to this script.  The movie is chock-a-block with surfing, skydiving and other activities that freely allows her to indulge in her perchance for painterly images.  Which is fortunate....

3) ...because seen without the sheen of early 90‘s nostalgia, this script by Rick King and W. Peter Iliff is rock stupid.  Shorn of its visual style, the story hits every cliche, the dialogue is exposition-tastic and the characterization struggles to be two-dimensional.  It’s always one step away from being a laughably bad movie.

4) If you want to see how handheld cameras can be used effectively for an exciting, clearly shot action scene, take a look at Bigelow’s shooting of the footchase between Patrick Swayze’s Reagan-masked Bodhi and Reeves’ Johnny Utah.  This is how you do it, Paul Greengrass.
"So, umm, in a second I should shoot away from my
suspect...right?  RIGHT?"

5) I do find it intriguing how the film sets up Bodhi and Gary Busey’s Angelo as two extremes of father figures for Johnny--and yet the expected roles of who Good Dad and Bad Dad is are inverted.  It does help that Reeves exhibits chemistry with both Swayze and Busey.

6) I am not surprised that Lori Petty is cast as romantic lead Taylor; she certainly has the same angular looks as previous Bigelow female leads as Jenny Wright and Jamie Lee Curtis.  She still provides a rather interesting contrast to Reeves as far as her acting style.  Her rather brassy presentation (which ironically makes her come off more ‘city boy’ than the laid back Reeves) stands out against all the characters around her.

7) Boy, has John C. McGinley’s Harp stepped straight out of Cliche Casting.  The script doesn’t even bother giving Harp a second emotion; he’s just Antagonistic Superior Guy whose purpose is to yell at and belittle Johnny.  Even in the first act where McGinley acts as Exposition Drop Machine, he seems ready to start spraying spittle at a moment’s notice.
"huh...that don't look like a hockey helmet."

8) I defy anyone to explain what the sky diving scene at the beginning of Act Three is doing where it is.  The one narrative beat that’s essential to the plot is handled at the end of the sequence that could be presented sans several minutes of elevated atmosphere porn.

9)  Boy, does The Fast and The Furious need to send this movie a present every Father’s Day....right down to the bad guy being allowed to do the thing he loves by our hero instead of being dragged in cuffs back to face the music.

10) You know, Anthony Kiedis may not have much to do in this film, but as an actor he makes....well, a pretty decent musician,  Maybe he should ask Flea for some acting advice.

Overall...a cliched, stupid action movie elevated (highly elevated) by the keen visual style of Bigelow.  If you can turn off your brain and ignore all the narrative silliness, you can enjoy this immensely.

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