VERSUS: Point Break vs The Fast and the Furious
A young hot-shot law enforcement agent goes undercover with some extreme sports guys/street racers who may or may not be committing robberies and making off with the loot. The cop/federal agent is a California surfer boy type who also falls in love with the young lady who runs with the gang. The deeper he gets into the job, the closer he gets to the gangs leader, Bodhi/Dom. The two strike up a connection as they drift closer and closer to the edge; pushing the limit and feeling the ultimate adrenaline rush. He’ll need to take extra special care not to get too close and fall into a life of crime like the members of the crew.
If that description sounds familiar it’s because it’s been done a half dozen times and has led to some successful movies in recent years with Point Break and The Fast and the Furious. One of those movies I love with a passion. It created several stars and a director who is one of the tops in Hollywood. At this point I could still be speaking of either movie but I’m gonna let you in on a little secret; I love Point Break, and I loathe The Fast and the Furious. While I’m unfamiliar with the inner workings of both the surfer/extreme sports culture and the street racing way of life, I find that I relate more closely to the boys in Point Break as I just don’t give a shit about putting a 2 foot tall spoiler on a Honda Civic and making it sound like a dirt bike. So knowing what you know now, let’s compare the two movies a little more closely.
Johnny Utah was a former QB for The Ohio State University Buckeyes. After blowing out his knee he became a F.B.I. agent and was attached to a robbery scheme where a bunch of guys are knocking over banks dressed in tuxedos wearing latex masks of former American Presidents. As cool as that sounds they are still committing pretty serious crimes and the feds send Utah undercover to try and infiltrate the surfer culture so he can find the men responsible.
Brian O’Conner is a police officer with a history of racing who gets tapped to go undercover to try and find a gang of men responsible for a string of robberies involving some pretty suped-up cars. Brian gets into the crew of Dominic Torreto and begins earning the trust of the team (while also banging Dom’s sister). He gets close to Dom and begins to question where his loyalties really lie.
Cool black shirts guys…
The two characters don’t even compare in my mind. Johnny Utah gets into a number of gun fights; he jumps out of a plane without a parachute, he plays football on the beach by campfire light, and he night surfs while making out with Tank Girl. Brian O’Connor drives a Toyota. Oh, and he likes his tuna fish sandwiches without the crust. Point goes to Utah for sure.
One other big difference that I see in the two movies is that in The Fast and the Furious Dom is really seen as a good guy even though he is committing these crimes. Bodhi, on the other hand, while charismatic and free-spirited and whatnot, is never seen as a “good” guy. Utah takes him down just like any other criminal. He does have the one moment after the foot chase scene where he isn’t ready to shoot him and instead fires into the air (a classic scene), but by the end of the movie he realizes that he has to go down. The way that Bodhi exits the movie makes the film all the more badass in my mind as well. Brian’s moment with Dom comes at the very end too. After they’ve killed a couple of guys and wrecked several cars and destroyed public property, Brian just lets Dom the murderer go and walks away. Good luck explaining that whole situation to your superiors. I bet they lock him away and he loses his job. What? They made like 7 sequels….oh shit. I guess it doesn’t matter if in the process of being undercover you actively assist in a robbery, kill a man, destroy a bunch of property, and then let the man you’ve been chasing go after he just killed a guy. Got it. I have to go with Bodhi on this one.
Bad boys cross their arms…
As far as the ladies go Point Break’s only contribution is the fine actress Lori Petty. I remember her as the little sister from A League of their Own or from that Paulie Shore movie but she plays a pivotal role in PB. She is the one who teaches Johnny Utah how to surf and helps to legitimize him and bring him into Bodhi’s circle of peeps. She isn’t the sexiest of the actresses but she plays the role well and has value as a character.
The Fast and the Furious have two main chicas who dominate the film when it comes to eye candy. I’m speaking of Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster. Both of them are smoking hot here and while neither really play a huge role in the film (Rodriguez is Dom’s girl and could have easily been a male character, Brewster had like 6 lines in the movie and slept with Brian on their first date) they still win this match-up based on their tanned, toned, and totally hot bods.
You could say that I’ve never been a fan of the Fast and Furious franchise and you wouldn’t be wrong. I can’t believe that it’s had so many sequels and guys like Paul Walker and Vin Diesel have made a career by just doing these movies. I admit that I do like Diesel. Not so much in this movie, but I dig the Riddick character and I think it’s great that he did the voice of Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy. The guy is a big nerd and he’s proud of it so it’s pretty cool to see him succeed in a franchise that actually deserves it. I recently re-watched the original The Fast and the Furious for the purpose of trying to enjoy it more than I had when I was 18. It didn’t work. Maybe it was because I went into it with preconceived notions or maybe it just isn’t my cup of tea, but you can see that from the very first paragraph of this article that TFATF is almost identical in nature to Point Break. So why do I not like it? Well, I guess it because the whole “look how sweet my VW Jetta is” never really did anything for me. I agree that the Charger that Dom drives at the end is badass but driving around in a green Nissan with dragon stickers on the sides is not badass. Some people are going to disagree with me and that’s ok, but I’ve definitely seen worse movies and I’m planning on checking out the other films in the franchise. Except for Tokyo Drift, I did see that and it was a piece of shit.
In the showdown between Point Break and The Fast and the Furious…the winner is: