This week's paper piece
Aaaaaand the director's cut:
"Oh to have been lurking under the desk when this one was being pitched to the Hollywood execs. Might the scene have unfolded like this?
The writer creeps into the enormous boardroom and begins his spiel: 'I'm thinking Keanu Reeves....' – Mr. Burns-type reaches a bony finger towards the button marked "TRAP DOOR" - '.... as a super-sleuth FBI detective who goes undercover to apprehend a gang of uncatchable bank robbers'. The money-man taps the button and the screenwriter disappears through the floor. Hmm, perhaps a different approach was required: How about 'Keanu Reeves as a surfer. Gary Busey as a fat guy. Patrick Swayze as a hairy guy. Anthony Kiedis (Red Hot Chili Peppers front-man) as a guy who hops around?' [Dramatic pause] 'SOLD'. And there we have Point Break.
There are those who may attempt to intellectualize this film in order to justify its presence on their top 10 movies of all time list and they are foolish to do. Check out the tag-line: "100% Pure Adrenaline". Anyone who sits down with the DVD expecting their thoughts to be provoked and their synapses to be stimulated is more than a little naive. While there is the suggestion of depth and "message", this is nothing but the quintessential action movie - heavy on visuals and light on meaningful dialogue - NOT Mulholland Drive. And no less than perfect for it.
PB does indeed see a fresh-faced Reeves - in between Bill+Ted movies, perfect timing - as all-star college athlete-turned Federal Agent Johnny Utah (you really can't make this stuff up, although obviously SOMEONE did). He dons a wetsuit and grabs a long-board as he hunt down a gang of rubber mask-wearing wave-riders, calling themselves "The Ex-Presidents", ruthlessly robbing banks and pursuing "the endless summer".
It's simple. It's dumb. You gotta love it.
The surfer-role was one Keanu Reeves was surely born to play. When his character is summoned in to the field office to report on his progress, with the level of dead-pan none but Mr. Reeves is capable of, his response is simply: "I caught my first tube today... sir".
Through his immersion in the hedonistic world of boards and babes Utah finds himself torn between business and pleasure, falling not only for a foxy surf chick - an unnecessary tag-on that perhaps serves to counter all the testosterone on display- but for the life of the adrenaline junkie. He is drawn increasingly closer to his quarry until he's suddenly at the center of the action as a ruggedly studly Bodhi (a post-Ghost Swayze) and his crew take bigger and bigger risks. Supporting characters are disposed of and impossibly cringe-worthy lines are delivered: "Fear causes hesitation, and hesitation will cause your worst fears to come true." a particularly amusing example.
120 minutes of exhilaration: surfing, skydiving, bank robberies, car chases and Messr Keanu going "Dude, woah, shit!". With all these political movies out Point Break is the perfect antidote; as deep as a puddle, as undemanding as can be and for me, as satisfying and straight-forwardly fun as cinema gets. Maybe I'm too young to say this but, they just don't make 'em like they used to."