POINT BREAK (USA | Germany | China/12A/114mins)
Directed by Ericson Core. Starring Edgar Ramirez, Luke Bracey, Ray Winstone, Teresa Palmer, Delroy Lindo.
THE PLOT: After his friend is killed while motor biking the Spine Trail, Johnny (Luke Bracey) turns away from his life of extreme sports to become an agent for the FBI. Seven years later, as Johnny finally nears the end of his training, a gang of criminals use extreme sporting techniques to rob the rich and give to the poor. Knowing his name precedes him, and suspecting that the gang are trying to complete a series of eight challenges and ordeals, Johnny sets out to infiltrate the gang and take them down from the inside.
THE VERDICT: This remake of Kathryn Bigelow’s 1991 film seems fairly unnecessary since the original is so beloved, and has been lampooned and parodied many times over. The idea of bringing the story into the present day may have seemed like a good idea on paper but, aside from some impressive stunts and pretty underwater cinematography, this new screen version of the film is clichéd, hackneyed and laughably self involved.
Luke Bracey takes on the leading role of Johnny Utah and frankly, has very little charisma on screen. Édgar Ramírez fares slightly better as Bodhi, but is never really given a chance to develop his character. Elsewhere Ray Winstone turns up to be grumpy and shouty, Teresa Palmer gets to surf once as the love interest Samsara, and Delroy Lindo plays an FBI instructor who takes a chance on the plucky Johnny.
Kurt Wimmer’s screenplay adds the layer of the thieves stealing from the rich and giving to the poor to ‘give back’ to the planet for being able to pull the stunts they pull, as well as the idea that fulfilling eight ordeals will lead those that do to spiritual nirvana. This could have enriched the original story, but instead paints the gang of criminals and their adrenaline charged lifestyle as anything but aspirational, and in fact, rather self involved and smug. The film is also filled with terrible dialogue and faux-enlightened spiritual statements, such as “If a tree falls in the forest and no-one puts it on YouTube, did it ever really happen?”. All the film lacks is a speech from a preachy vegan about the benefits of following a plant-based diet.
Director Ericson Core, whose previous film was 2005’s ‘Invincible’, manages the action scenes fairly well, shooting them in an exhilarating way and making the scenery of the planet look beautiful and vast. This is where the fun ends however, with little chemistry between any of the leads and some rather terrible CGI undermining any charm the film could have had.
In all, ‘Point Break’ tries hard to update the original, but with terrible dialogue, vague notions of ‘giving back’ as the motivation and little chemistry between the lead actors, the film fizzles rather quickly. There’s some nice cinematography in there though.
Review by Brogen Hayes

Point Break
Review by Brogen Hayes
  • filmbuff2011

    Another week, another unnecessary remake. This time it’s Kathryn Bigelow’s 1991 cult film Point Break, which was so lovingly parodied in Hot Fuzz. Does the 2015 remix have anything new to say or add?

    The set-up is essentially the same as the original. Extreme sports enthusiast Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey) suffers a personal tragedy and quits the world of extreme sports. Instead, he joins the FBI whereupon he has to prove himself to his new boss Instructor Hall (Delroy Lindo). The FBI is investigating a series of daring robberies by a group of masked individuals. The twist is that the robbers are not taking the money for themselves, but giving it back to the poor. Johnny looks at the MO of the team and pieces together a theory that they may be attempting a series of death-defying challenges based on extreme sports. Hall sends Johnny off to Europe whereupon he meets gruff fellow agent Pappas (Ray Winstone). Together, they look into a group of surfers led by Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez) and which also features Samsara (Teresa Palmer). Johnny infiltrates the group and finds himself caught up in their daredevil antics. As Johnny gets deeper and deeper, is he losing himself and his main purpose?

    Reportedly made on a budget of some $105m and grossing just $9.8m on its opening weekend in the US late last year, there’s definitely a feeling of this remake aiming high and missing the mark by a mile. The most immediate change from the original is in the rating: what was once a film for adults is now a film for children. Aiming for the lowest common denominator is never a good thing: it didn’t work for the mediocre Total Recall remake, so why should it work here? The hard, gritty edge of Bigelow’s film is gone and instead it’s just bland, ineffective and very ‘meh’. It’s typical remake fodder. The change of locations from California to Europe was clearly an attempt by director Ericson Core to try something different. But the whole idea of new-agey surfers looking for spiritual enlightenment while robbing banks only really works in hippy-dippy California. Core’s only other feature credit is 2006’s Invincible. Is this the best director that the producers could find?

    Originally set to by played by Gerard Butler, who wisely bailed out, Bodhi is instead played by Ramirez. He’s a good actor, but feels miscast here. He’s too serious and doesn’t play up the sense of fun that the late, great Patrick Swayze achieved. Bracey is bland and unconvincing, in a Charlie Hunnam way. That said though, the film does have its moments. The action sequences are the only real saving grace here. Whether it’s a sky-high heist, flying through canyons or snowboarding down a mountain, there’s definitely some thrills to be had. Those sequences make up for all the mediocrity elsewhere. In the end though, to paraphrase a line from the original, Point Break 2016 is young, dumb and… not-full-of-fun. Fans of the original will wonder why anyone bothered to remake it. What next? A remake of Strange Days? No thanks. **