Point Breaking Point: a Point Break re-make? I want in (UPDATED)

An updated post I wrote in Sept 2011: Thoughts on Point Break and ideas for the re-make, which is unfortunately going to happen

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I can’t believe it. Well, I can- but part of me just flat out refuses to do so. They’re re-making Point Break. Or sorry, they are re-booting it. I knew it would happen. It had too, especially when you consider the widespread popularity of surfing. When I see dudes in Iowa everywhere rocking Billabong gear, then it was easy to see how Point Break– a movie that has (WARNING: UNPOPULAR OPINION ALERT) simultaneously become better and worse over time, was bound to come back into our lives.

What will this re-boot be like? And more importantly, will anyone ask me what I think?

Cause it’d be awesome if they did.

If you haven’t seen Point Break (which is kind of unbelievable, especially now, seeing as how many times it’s on various Encore channels almost daily, in addition to the occasional airings on Versus) I will give you a quick rundown of what it’s about.

Johnny Utah, played by Keanu Reevers, is a FBI agent and former college football star. He blew out his knee in the big game and has quickly become somewhat of a prodigy in the FBI. He ends up in California and is partnered up with the wild and crazy Gus Pappas, played by Gary Busey, who is a wily veteran of the department with a penchant for wearing bad Hawaiian shirts and eating fast food. Pappas is currently the only agent tackling this pesky bank-robbing case. Who is behind all of these robberies? Well according to Pappas, it’s surfers. Goddamn surfers. Why you ask? Patterns! Surf wax! Tan lines.

So Utah goes undercover as a surfer, rents a ridiculous surf board, gets lessons from a local hot chick with a dark past, gets punched in the face by the lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and ends up befriending the same crew of dudes he has been tasked to bring down.

The bank robbers wear masks of former presidents. Pappas calls them the ex-Presidents. It’s a race against a time because once the surfing season ends, they vanish, looking for epic waves and other extreme shit- whatever was cool in the early 90’s, stuff you might have seen Dan Cortese do on MTV Sports. Eventually the Ex-Presidents and their Zen master leader Bodie (Patrick Swayze) find out Utah is with the FBI. So they do what any crew of criminals would then do- they go ski diving. Utah jumps out of a plan without a chute, they end up in the desert, most of the dudes die and Bodie runs away to Australia. Utah eventually finds him on the beach, waiting for the fifty year storm. The movie ends with Bodie attempting to surf the massive surf and getting tossed around by the waves and Utah, rocking a stellar Canadian tuxedo, tossing his badge in the ocean.

Oh yeah, Pappas died too. Roach shot him. Then Roach died. Pretty much everyone died except for Johnny Utah and Lori Petty’s character.

So that’s Point Break. There’s some more too it, but that’s the gist of it. Besides the Bill and Ted movies, it’s the only movie that Keanu is actually okay in- but that could be attributed to the fact that he’s essentially playing himself. As for Swayze, most of his lines don’t really make sense. He rambles off dialogue that feels like it was written by an over-ambitious fan of Jack Kerouac. Supposedly Point Break is based on the book Tapping the Source. I read Tapping the Source. I have my doubts. They both have surfing. That’s about the only connection.

For years, I’ve wanted to re-write Point Break because at its core I think it’s an interesting movie and surfing is cool, bank robberies are cool, and diving in a pool for cinder blocks is cool. I think if you made the dialogue more real and less cliché and made the Ex-Presidents less of a gang of stereotypes and more a gang of interesting dudes- it could be a fun movie. I mean one of the Ex-Presidents’ names is Grommit. His name is essentially Stereotypical Surfer Number 1. There’s room for improvement there.

The name Johnny Utah would stay, but I think Bodie would have a different name because Bodie is played out. The bank robbers would still wear president masks because that’s a fun twist, however there would be one member of the Ex-President who is a little crazy, a little hard and serves as the ying to Bodie’s yang- like Jem in The Town does with Ben Affleck’s character. And there would need to be more conflict within the Ex-Presidents when they find out that Utah is a Fed. That’s glossed over in the original and they should react more strongly to it, especially considering they’ve formed a mild relationship with Utah. At least one member of the gang should want to kill Utah. At least one, if not two. Dissent is interesting.

One of my issues with Point Break is that the only real voice of the bad guys is Bodie. I’d like to learn more about them, as I think a gang of surfers who finance their worldly travels by robbing banks is a lot more interesting than a flat love story or a C plot about fellow FBI agents shitting on Pappas and Utah for thinking surfers were behind the robberies. I’m not saying bad guys are more interesting than good guys, but I do feel that Point Break would be a more compelling movie if it were less about Utah and more about Bodie and his crew. All that bullshit that takes place at the FBI,where they don’t believe in Pappus and Utah, I’d cut that. But I’d still want Utah walking into the FBI office with a surf board. However, I wouldn’t want the local FBI field director chewing him out for it. The bank robberies were suppose to be this major string of crimes; a big case that was apparently so big it went above local jurisdiction so the FBI had to get involved. I don’t think it makes sense to then have the head of the FBI in California berating the two officers on the case for simply doing their job and following leads.

I want scenes were the Ex-Presidents are plotting out their bank robberies. I want to know where they get their getaway cars and maybe even there should be a scene where they buy their guns for a particular robbery. There should also be a car chase because car chases are cooler than foot chases and I’d cut the scene where Utah has the chance to kill Bodie but doesn’t. That doesn’t make sense. If Utah had reservations about killing Bodie, why would he keep going with the case? Why would he even be running after him in the first place? Utah is risking his life to get this guy. He has the chance to kill him, or at the very least wound him, and doesn’t. No sir. That doesn’t pass the smell test, the eye test or any other test you could think of.

And then there’s the ending- why does Utah quit the FBI at the end of the original movie? Because it interferes with his surfing? Because Pappas is dead? Because the case is over? The answer? There is no real reason. I think he just did it because in the under-developed world of the original Point Break, it made sense. But in the re-make, if Utah does quit the FBI, he needs to do so for some profound reason. Maybe he learns that he will always be chasing the Bodies of the world and that’s an empty existence. Or maybe he realizes, after spending time with the Ex-Presidents and learning to appreciate their passion for surfing and seeing how far they’ll go just to catch a wave, that there is more to life than chasing down crooks for the government. Maybe he feels he could do more with his life. Either way, Utah needs to be more definitive in his actions.

I don’t know if anyone in Hollywood will read this blog- I doubt it. But I wish they would at least give me the chance to re-write Point Break. If you’re going to re-boot a movie that is beloved by a generation, then a member of that generation should be given the first crack at penning the script.

Bodie’s not coming back, but Point Break is. I want in.

Feature Photo: Richard Foremen

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