Point Break

I think I just witnessed the longest, most expensive Mountain Dew commercial. Edgar Ramirez, Luke Bracey, Teresa Palmer and Ray Winstone star in Point Break.

Point BreakCast of Characters:
Bodhi – Edgar Ramirez
Agent Johnny Utah – Luke Bracey
Samsara Dietz – Teresa Palmer
Agent Angelo Pappas – Ray Winstone
Grommet – Matias Varela
Roach – Clemens Schick
Chowder – Tobias Santelmann
Instructor Hall – Delroy Lindo

Director – Ericson Core
Screenplay – Kurt Wimmer
Based on characters created by Rick King & W. Peter Iliff
Producer – John Baldecchi, Broderick Johnson, Andrew A. Kosove, Chris Taylor, David Valdes & Kurt Wimmer
Rated PG-13 for violence, thematic material involving perilous activity, some sexuality, language and drug material

After losing his best friend to a tragic motocross stunt, Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey) decided to go back to school, get a GED, go to law school from there and earn a spot at the FBI Academy.

And the big twist there is that somehow an extreme sports athlete was able to do so completely under the radar.

Though still a trainee, Utah’s opportunity to prove his law-enforcing mettle arrives when a group of masked stuntman, led by Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez), begin pulling off a series of heists. Utah believes that this group is trying to complete what is known as “The Osaki 8” – a series of eight extreme ordeals that honor the forces of nature.

Given his background, Utah’s superior Instructor Hall (Delroy Lindo) gives him the green light to investigate Bodhi’s group. All seems fine and dandy, but as the ordeals become more dangerous and involve risking innocent lives, Utah must decide where his allegiance lies.

Remake or no remake, Point Break represents the worst kinda film possible. There’s very little to praise about it, and it’s not an utter atrocity worth ripping into; the most credit I can give it is that it exists, and by the time the end credits rolled, not a damn bone in my body wanted to review a single word of it.

The original Point Break from 1991 – which was Oscar-winning Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow’s breakthrough – has developed a massive cult following since its release. It’s one that I must honestly admit I’m not a part of, but I understand the adoration fans have the Patrick Swayze/Keanu Reeves led action flick. That film, though, at least had a sense of fun and adventure that I can appreciate, whereas this 2015 version, while stunningly shot, is a laborious, nonsensical snooze.

To the remake’s credit, director Ericson Core and writer Kurt Wimmer don’t just carbon copy the original scene-for-scene which a lot of the laziest remakes are guilty of doing. In the original, the late Patrick Swayze and his crew were bank-robbing surfers. This time, Bodhi and his gang are on a quest for enlightenment that involves them committing crimes in the name of “giving back to nature”.

The film’s sole bragging right is how good it looks. Of course, 24 years separated from the original film, the effects and action sequences are far more impressive than they were the first time. Core, serving as cinematographer as well as director, captures some impressive images such as some POV shots inside a breaking wave or a wingsuiting trip.

The problem is that Core is so caught up in making the film look good that he forgets to bring any sense of excitement to the proceedings. For all of the original film’s faults, it at least aimed to be a entertaining popcorn flick. Core’s version is far more serious in tone, but as a thriller it fails to be tense and suspenseful. Even more problematic is Bodhi and his crew’s philosophy which when you actually sit down and think about it, makes no sense whatsoever. They’re all about giving back to nature, but their “ordeals” involve them either indulging in a self-gratifying stunt, raining a large sum of U.S. currency on impoverished villages and blasting a gold mine to bits. How any of that pertains to giving back to nature is beyond me.

I’m sure Mother Earth is so grateful for you guys.

One of the biggest draws of the 1991 film was its two stars, Swayze the established star and Reeves the up-and-coming star. Like Swayze, Edgar Ramirez can act, and actually has more range the first Bodhi had. Ramirez puts in the effort, but isn’t given much to do other than pass the Matthew McConaughey School of Inordinate Shirtless Scenes. Luke Bracey, who was previously seen not looking anything like a younger James Marsden in last year’s Nicholas Sparks turd The Best of Me, manages to achieve the impossible by making Keanu Reeves’s limited range performance seem like the work of a thespian. Dependable character actors Delroy Lindo and Ray Winstone try to infuse what gravitas they can to their roles, but the stock characters they play leave them with only so much to work with beyond the cliche types they are.

While impressively shot and featuring a couple nicely staged action sequences, Point Break offers viewers very little outside of its technical merits, leaving them with nothing more than a story that lacks suspense and a zen philosophy that is idiotic at best. As a standalone film, it’s forgettable. As a remake, it manages to remove what strengths the original film had and amplify its weaknesses, giving the term “unnecessary” a whole new, dull meaning.

I give Point Break a D+ (★½).

One thought on “Point Break

  1. I didn’t think that much of the first one, so I dought I would have wanted to see this one, after reading your review, I know I won’t waist my time. One thing I like about your review’s , is your wit, it keeps getting better and better, or as you once said , it just does the work. Nice job. T. M .

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