Surfers that rob banks.
To nab the culprits behind a string of bank heists, brash young G-man Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) poses as a wave rider to infiltrate a group of surfers who may have pulled off the robberies in this high-speed cult favorite. But after gaining the trust of the gang’s charismatic leader (Patrick Swayze), Utah gets swept up in their heady lifestyle — and is soon forced to decide where his loyalties lie. Gary Busey plays Utah’s testy partner.
That premise right there makes this film seem like a parody of itself and one that isn’t to be taken too seriously at all. But after two viewings already, this guilty pleasure never stops to entertain.
I might just have to point it out right now because in case you couldn’t tell already but this film is pretty cheesy. The dialogue here is all that macho, hammy bullshit that we hear in plenty of film’s that just drip with cheese and a lot of the time you’ll actually find yourself laughing at parts you really aren’t supposed to.
I mean for a second let’s think about this for a second, there’s this cop named Johnny Utah who basically learns how to surf, within a day. I don’t understand that one and neither do I understand the idea of the masks for the bank robberies considering you probably can’t see too well with them on anyway. I don’t know little stuff like that was pretty dumb but I think after you read the premise you’ll come to expect that already.
However, if you can get past all of that, this is a bangin’ film for many reasons, but the main one being director Kathryn Bigelow, who is yes, a chick. Bigelow knows how to film action the right way because she gives a lot of great scenes that are full of tension, style, and just overall bad-assness. I still don’t know what to call this; either a heist film, action movie, or a thriller, but if you look at it, you can also call it the first “extreme sports” movie that was ever made really.
There’s a couple of cool action sequences such as a chase scene through the under-belly of L.A. which was pretty cool, two awesome skydiving sequences, and a shoot-out scene that really has nothing to do with the plot, but still awesome. The action here is all-over-the-place but at the same time totally awesome because even though the dialogue and script may be terrible, the action will hold you over by how intense and stylish it looks.
Now when it comes to the acting it’s pretty good because the two lead actors they have here are just so cheesy, that it’s actually awesome. Keanu Reeves plays Johnny Utah (seriously?) and does his usual act where he says all of his lines with that “I don’t really know how to read my lines” voice, and that total over-play of some pretty bad jokes. However, I don’t really think Keanu is a bad actor because the one thing I will say about him is that even though he isn’t good by any real means, he still hasn’t gone around saying how good he is, or how he deserves an Oscar so badly. So for the most part, Keanu isn’t that bad here and he’s not really bad overall, just lame.
Patrick Swayze is always amazing in everything he does and he plays the surfer guru named Bodhi. Swayze just dreaps with coolness and honestly it may seem like I’m totally over-exaggerating a role about a surfer dude but Swayze plays him so well and has us love him but at the same time not know if we can actually trust him. As always, Swayze never stops to impress. Let’s also not forget that we have Gary Busey trying to play the steady FBI agent to Reeves’ wild-cat persona. It’s not that believable but Busey just fun to watch here and really made me laugh at times I didn’t expect to.
Consensus: The script is pretty horrendous and has it’s fair share of cheap, dumb lines, but the action is awesome, the story gets more fresh as it goes along, and the acting is actually pretty good for what it’s worth eventually adding up to a great guy’s movie directed by a woman.