+++ Opinion +++
A young cop infiltrates a squad of adrenaline junkies on behalf of the FBI because they are suspected of spectacular thefts, in which surprisingly no one suffers significant physical damage. Once drawn into this subcosmos, however, the lawman falls in love with the milieu he has never known before – and forms a hearty friendship with the leader of the group he is supposed to betray. The moral dilemma becomes unbearable… But enough of The Fast and the Furious, we’d much rather look at a film with exactly the same basic idea – only we trade Vin Diesel for Patrick Swayze, Paul Walker for “Matrixstar Keanu Reeves and director Rob Cohen against one of the best action directors of our time.
Ten years before The Fast and the Furious, Kathryn Bigelow was already talking about male friendship, adrenaline, morality and family ties among petty criminals. And similar to her later Oscar winner “Deadly Command”, which many more people in this country know under the original title “The Hurt Locker”, the English title of this film is much more common: We’re talking about “Dangerous Surf”, which more and more film fans are simply getting to know as “Point Break”.
But regardless of the title, “Fast & Furious” parallels: Bigelow’s Action Thriller is a timeless piece of action cinema that remains highly recommended to genre fans. Tonight the film can be seen on Kabel Eins from 11 p.m. – and “Gefahrliche Surf” is also currently available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video for everyone with a subscription at no additional cost…
» “Point Break” on Amazon Prime Video*
We’ve already ticked off the plot, but what has to be said for everyone who doesn’t know “Point Break”: “Point Break” is not set in the illegal street racing scene. Instead, Patrick Swayze’s crook Bodhi and his gang are a squad of thieving extreme athletes who, above all unsurpassed class in skydiving and surfing are. Going by the gang name “Ex-Presidents” and wearing appropriate masks, they rob one bank after another to fund their freedom-loving lifestyle.
Bigelow takes great advantage of the extreme sports nature of her gangster characters. While the action scenes in the early Fast & Furious films are solid but nothing special and the franchise then veers into superheroic escapades, Bigelow’s 1991 blockbuster hits with great action scenes. The highlight here should be the rousingly filmed parachute jump sequences, which Patrick Swayze carried out to a large extent himself, instead of leaving the work entirely to a stunt double. Greetings from Tom Cruise! But the surf scenes are also grippingly staged and allow the cast to skilfully demonstrate their months of training.
And then of course there would be the chase scene between the two main characters, which Edgar Wright would later commemorate in “Hot Fuzz”., not only because it was filmed at high speed, but above all because Bigelow knows how to effectively underline the simmering emotions within her characters. Because good action scenes alone are perhaps half the battle, but the whole thing is only made complete by figures that move.
And in this regard, Bigelow’s action thriller is way ahead of both its 2015 remake and its Vin Diesel copycat. The “Point Break” remake is completely emotionless, while in the “Fast & Furious” universe a group of coolly exaggerated characters irregularly lapse into superimposed soap opera pathos. Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze, on the other hand, share a believable, intense chemistry that makes the obligatory moral dilemmas that Reeves faces as FBI agent Johnny Utah in the second half of the film so captivating.
A small curious note at the end: In Germany, “Point Break” or “Gefahrliche Surf” was a much smaller success than in the USA. In 1991, just under 700,000 people bought a cinema ticket, which meant the film didn’t even crack the top 40 of the cinema year. Probably also therefore in the dubbed version for the first “Avengers’ movie ironed out a nod to him: In the original, Tony names Stark Thor jokingly “Point Break,” alluding to the fact that his hairstyle is strikingly reminiscent of Patrick Swayze’s in the Bigelow classic. In the dubbed version, it becomes “Conan” instead, in reference to the film barbarians, who are much more successful in this country.
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