Cinematic Thoughts for Cinematic Minds
Little hand says it’s time to rock ‘n’ roll!
If you have seen Point Break (which you most certainly should have, BBC One has aired it approximately 995 times) you’ll understand that it features what is quite possibly the most bad-ass plot that has ever been conceived in the history of action cinema. If you have somehow happened to miss one of the hundreds of showings of the film between 1991 and the present on network television, stop what you are doing; walk to the nearest mirror and have a good word with yourself. Then order the DVD from Amazon for about 20p or something.
The riot that is Point Break focuses on crackerjack special FBI agent Johnny Utah (never a name more drenched in virility since) and his delve undercover into the Californian surfing scene in hopes of infiltrating a gang of bank robbers who dress as the ex-presidents of the U.S.A. and steal money to “finance their endless summer!”, as Utah’s partner, Gary Busey, so zealously puts it. Michael Bay’s The Rock has quite a ballsy action movie premise, so did Face/Off, as well as Speed, which of course features another in-his-own-way inimitably glorious performance from Reeves. However, Point Break’s plot alone spectacularly blows those films out of the choppy Pacific seawater and actually lives up to its bombastic tagline – “100% Pure Adrenaline”. Well, sort of.
Utah aside, the real star of Point Break however is ‘Bodhi’, a blonde surfing guru portrayed by Patrick Swayze in one of his most iconic roles. Bodhi is a radical free spirit; his outlook on life is simply live it to the fullest, whether surfing it up, jumping out of airplanes (a feat which Swayze actually performed himself for the movie) or committing armed robbery for the rush of it just as much as doing it for the loot. He lives without rules and an adamant FBI agent is not going to change his mind-set.
Despite the murders he commits, the money steals and his skewed sensibilities, there is certainly a positive message buried within Bodhi’s actions. Without advocating donning a tux, a creepy Ronald Reagan mask and busting into a bank armed with 12 gauges with your mob of surrogate presidential successors, Point Break’s (more directly, Bodhi’s) moral message is to simply encourage you to let loose, have fun and do whatever it takes to achieve your personal euphoria. As Martin Scorsese once said it best, “Sometimes it’s good to rest, but not when you’re young. When you are young you should use all your energy when you have got it.” That’s essentially what Point Break seems to be saying, at least to me anyway.
By Point Break’s climax, Bodhi’s zest of life has infected the film, its characters and the audience like a sweet poison. Equilibrium is never truly restored and Bodhi is the reason why. *SPOILER ALERT* His demeanour even has a lasting effect on the seemingly automated Keanu Reeves as he manages to corrupt what Utah is an embodiment of – which is the very thing Bodhi’s opposes, authority. Even when Utah manages to track Bodhi down to Southern Australia where he is waiting for the hallowed “50-Year storm” for what many assume will be the final showdown, Utah still is not able to contain Bodhi as he resists arrest and is crushed by a 60ft wave. That’s the way I’d want to go… *SPOILER OVER*
That is why “I’d like to be” Bodhi. His attitudes and lifestyle represent a part of me, as well as an apex to which I would one day like to achieve in my life. Watching Swayze as Bodhi, you get the same unique vicarious thrill in watching bad people succeed you do when watching Linda Fiorentino in The Last Seduction or Verbal Kint in The Usual Suspects (sorry, more spoilers). To me, Bodhi resembles what Tyler Durden is to The Narrator in Fight Club; a version of me whose abilities and lifestyle exceed my capabilities due to, well, real life (except I don’t talk to him/me on a daily basis).
I know, Johnny. You want me so bad it’s like acid in your mouth. But not this time!