UK Release date: 22nd November 1991
Watched on Sky+ Wednesday 4th January 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
Another film I’ve seen a few times before but one that never really stuck in the memory banks. Time for a refresher? You betcha! Another one shown on TV and so it was a case of set the recorder and await a suitable window for a viewing. As you can probably guess, that window opened up this evening (despite the best efforts of the weather and the gods of sod’s law to prevent it!). I must say, for the most part I enjoyed it, although I did find it tended to drag a bit towards the end. More of my thoughts after this brief summary.
Rookie FBI agent Johnny Utah gets assigned to investigate bank robberies in California with veteran, Pappas. Their boss, Ben Harp, is less than impressed with the pair but assigns them to the ‘Ex-Presidents’ case. A series of robberies where the perpetrators all wear rubber masks with the faces of ex-Presidents of the United States. Pappas has a theory that the men behind it are surfers and so Utah goes undercover in an effort to find them. He first meets Tyler, a girl, who teaches him to surf and eventually becomes his girlfriend. She introduces him to the surfing culture and a group of her friends led by the charismatic adrenaline junkie, Bodhi. Utah comes to respect Bodhi while constantly on the look-out for the ex-presidents. When one line of enquiry fails to pay off he begins to come to a realisation… I will leave it there or the Spoiler Police (Surfing Division) will confiscate my board (again).
The cinematography in this film is great! Not just the surfing scenes; there’s skydiving and a great chase sequence around the back yards of some houses that I really enjoyed. The performances were all good, although I did still see Keanu Reeves, who plays Johnny Utah, as his character in the ‘Bill and Ted’ films from his younger days. If he had been a couple of years older then I think he may have been a little more believable. Patrick Swayze, on the other hand, as Bodhi, was perfect for the part (IMO). Honourable mentions must also go to; Gary Busey, larger than life (as ever) as Pappas, Lori Petty as Tyler and John C. McGinley as Ben Harp.
I like the plot of this film, but it does take a little time to get going at the beginning and, as I’ve already mentioned, it does seem to drag a bit at the end. I do like the way all the main characters are well rounded and we get to know a little about their back stories. This does help when we are supposed to care about them. Over all, I pretty much enjoyed this one and I’m quite happy to deem it recommended.
My score: 7.4/10
IMDb Score: 6.9/10 (based on 48,620 votes at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 67/100 (based on 52 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 47/100 (based on 114,764 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
Ben Harp: Special agent Utah! This is not some job, flipping burgers at the local drive-in! Yes! - your surf board bothers me! Yes! - your approach to this whole damn case bothers me! And yes! - YOU BOTHER ME! And Pappas! Oh, for the love of Christ. How the hell did I even let you talk me into this whole bone-headed idea to begin with.
Pappas: Harp! We are working under-cover. It takes time. We've produced a few...
Ben Harp: NO! No no no no no no NO! Let me tell you what you've produced... Over the last two weeks, you two have produced exactly squat! SQUAT! During which time the ex-presidents have robbed two more banks. Now for Christ's sake, does either one of you have anything even remotely interesting to tell me?
Johnny Utah: I caught my first tube today... Sir.
Pappas: ...last time you had a feeling I had to kill a guy, and I hate that... It looks bad on my report.
Nathanial: Lawyers don't surf.
Bodhi: This one does.