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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> August 2001 >> Point Break

Point Break

Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
4 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
August 2001
IMDB Name:
Point Break (1991)
Kathryn Bigelow
MPAA Rating:


There is a certain point past which action movie cliches lose their effectiveness. You can only see so many chase scenes, both in car and on foot, before it looks like nothing so much as an excuse to hire lots of stunt guys. Once in a while, a movie makes all of the old tricks look worthwhile again, and Point Break joins the ranks. Even though "Cops" should've rendered me totally immune to the chase through the suburban neighborhood, Point Break made it exciting with the simple question of the prey's identity. Most astonishing, even though I'd seen a full movie's quota of action by the three-quarter mark, the movie still had scintillating scenes almost to the end. I feel bad for the audiences in the Summer of 1991 who would've missed Point Break amid the excitement over Terminator 2, which beat it into theaters by less than two weeks. T2's opening weekend gross beat Point Break's entire U.S. run.

Point Break also makes the list of movies that don't make Keanu Reeves look like an idiot. Although he doesn't quite have the steely reserve he used so well in Speed, Keanu never looks out of depth bringing the character to life. Incredibly enough, this is the first time I've seen Patrick Swayze in a movie, having escaped both Ghost and Dirty Dancing. As a new-wave surfer, he's perfect. John C. McGinley revitalizes the old castigation-happy law enforcement superior with deliciously incisive yelling.


The biggest disappointment in Point Break is the ending. There must've been a point past which all of writer W. Peter Iliff's creative energies had been expended and the story not resolved. The dialogue, especially Johnny's, goes from acceptable to unspeakable in the blink of an eye. The final fight scene has nothing on that which preceded it, and it doesn't move the plot anywhere. If the scene hadn't been made necessary by all the foreshadowing of the location, it would be entirely superfluous.

The Little Things

During the aforementioned chase on foot, I wondered how long it would be before the chase moved into L.A.'s famed flood- control channel. As Tony DiPasquale would say, I was not disappointed.

Other Opinions

Copyright 2001 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.