Keanu Reeves in ‘Point Break’: Why Johnny Utah Is His All-Time Best Character

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Prior to becoming the face of The Matrix franchise, Keanu Reeves was known for his role as Johnny Utah in the 1991 action crime film, Point Break.

According to IMDb, Point Break follows an FBI agent who goes undercover to catch a gang of surfers who may be bank robbers, who are known as “Ex-Presidents” because they wear rubber masks of Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon, and Lyndon B. Johnson. Keanu Reeves’ Johnny Utah is the undercover agent. However, the character ends up developing a complex relationship with the surfing gang’s leader, Bodhi, played by the late Patrick Swayze. This relationship obviously complicates things.

‘Point Break’

  • Most Memorable Quote: “If you want the ultimate, you’ve got be willing to pay the ultimate price. It’s not tragic to die doing what you love.”
  • Theatrical Release Date: July 12, 1991
  • Directed By: Kathryn Bigelow
  • Starring: Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze, Gary Busey, Lori Petty 

The original budget for the film was $24 million and the film was pretty successful in theaters by making $83.5 million. The film also has a 69% on Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer. With the critic’s consensus reading, “Absurd, over-the-top, and often wildly entertaining. Point Break is here to show you that the human spirit is still alive.”

However, Point Break scores a 78% for the Rotten Tomatoes audience rating.

Keanu Reeves Notably Spent Two Months Learning to Surf While Prepping for ‘Point Break’ Filming 

According to Entertainment Weekly, Keanu Reeves actually spent two months learning how to surf as part of his preparation for filming Point Break. He and Swayze were taught by actor-surfer, Dennis Jarvis (aka the self-proclaimed “Surf Doctor of Hollywood”).  

During a 1991 interview with the media outlet, Jarvis said that both Keanu and Reeves and Patrick Swayze were basically all beginners when it came to surfing. “Patrick said he’d been on a board a couple of times. Keanu definitely hadn’t surfed before. I wasn’t concerned with if they could do a roundhouse cutback. They had doubles for that. My focus was on giving them the mannerisms of a hot professional surfer.”

Here is Why Keanu Reeves Loves ‘Point Break’ 

According to the South China Morning Post, Keanu Reeves revealed why he actually loves Point Break. “I loved that film and how Kathryn Bigelow had this incredibly cool vision of the kind of world she wanted to create. There was this terrific pulp aspect to the story. About an FBI guy who learns to surf to catch the bad guys. That film portrayed surfing with so much beauty and the passion for riding waves.”

Keanu Reeves then stated that many people have come up to him over the years to tell him that Point Break changed their lives. “It reminds me of how much passion I have for motorcycles. I know how they feel.”