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Friday, December 16, 2016

POINT BREAK (1991)

Just your basic bank robber pic . . . except the gang disguise themselves in Hallowe'en masks as Ex-Presidents and spend their down time ride, ride, riding the wild surf at the beach as Zen Surfer Dudes. And hey, it’s all cool, until an FBI agent, with the traffic-stopping good looks of the young Keanu Reeves, infiltrates the happy little commune by wooing an ex-lady pal of main dude Patrick Swayze. As silly as it is irresistible, until ZERO DARK THIRTY/’12, this was actually Kathryn Bigelow’s only big grosser, and it’s not hard to see why, even as you giggle at W. Peter Iliff’s idea of snappy dialogue; inane plot turns; and the chemistry-free, off-putting love affair Keanu gets stuck with. (Tori Petty’s surfer-babe really sets your teeth on edge.) As action pic, it’s is a mix of super-charged excitement, and off-hand stumbles; Bigelow excelling on tricky camera maneuvers, flubbing the easy stuff. But Patrick Swayze, at the tail end of his brief heyday, makes a princely Lord of the Board; Gary Busey runs roughshod (in a good way) over every cliché as Keanu’s high-maintenance partner; and the mystifying Mr. Reeves his irreplaceable sui generis flat-voiced self. (Don’t underestimate the guy, he can rivet attention slowly chewing on a doughnut.) Just don’t forget to store your brain in long-term parking before you hit the play button.

DOUBLE-BILL: The much reviled redo (POINT BREAK/’15, not seen here) swapped out surfing for Extreme Sports; few bothered to watch.

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