Point Break Review
25 years on and it’s still chock full of bravado, machismo and bromance.
It may not have Keanu Reeves or Patrick Swayze but this remake of Point Break does have surf, snow and free fall adventure.Suffering the loss of a close friend during a motor cross stunt that goes horribly wrong, extreme poly athlete Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey) leaves the world of extreme sports behind him in favour of a world of crime solving within the FBI. Following a string of robberies where the perpetrators take on a Robin Hood like guise, off loading their spoils to those in need, agent-to-be Johnny discovers that he is the only one really qualified to take on the case and goes undercover to try and bring them in before their next goodwill heist. The original 1991 film was written by Rick King and W. Peter Iliff and directed by Kathryn Bigelow.As with a lot of older films, the general consensus is that remaking them will not only enable a new audience to enjoy the story but the results will be able to reflect the modern, and technologically advanced, times in which we live. So, twenty five years after the original Point Break, Ericson Core has taken up the challenge of remaking the nineties classic as his second feature film, based on a screenplay written by Kurt Wimmer (Salt, Equilibrium, Law Abiding Citizen). With such a huge fan base and, I hasten to say, a cult following for the original this task was undoubtably hindered from the get-go and had a lot to live up to.
Adapted from the original screenplay, Core’s Point Break follows a similar storyline with just enough changes thrown in to make it come across as a bit more serious and not a complete carbon copy of the 1991 film. As with the original we have Bodhi, this time played by Edgar Ramirez, an extreme sportsman who, along with his super-cool hip gang, is trying to complete the Ozaki 8 - eight death-defying challenges, each one riskier than the last, which upon completion will lead to Nirvana. Making up Bodhi’s crew are Grommet (Matias Varela), Roach (Clemens Schick) and Chowder (Tobias Santelmann). They’re all super trendy surfer types, sporting beards and tattoos who become weary and somewhat jealous of Utah who, once he's proved he can hang with the big boys, gets taken under the wing of the enigmatic Bodhi.
Taking on supporting roles are Delroy Lindo who plays Utah’s FBI instructor and Ray Winstone as Pappas the UK field agent sent in to watch over Utah while in Paris. Both roles are decisively small and only really function to ensure Utah is kept in check and in line as they are both slightly paternalistic in their approach towards him. Teresa Palmer plays Samsara, Utah’s love interest but she mostly comes across as irritating and slightly pointless. However, whilst the majority of the acting is believable enough, it’s by no means ground breaking and I sincerely doubt there will be any acting awards being dished out for these performances. Bracey’s acting was fairly average, it wasn’t terrible but he doesn’t exactly have you rooting for him at any point throughout the film. The only real stand out actor was Ramirez, not because his performance was brilliant or anything but because compared to the rest, he just played the part of a cool and mysterious Eco-warrior quite well.
There is an attempt to replicate the rebellious spirit and lust for life from the original film but it somehow gets lost along the way.
Visually the film is quite breathtaking in places and Core did the cinematography himself, something he appears to be a bit of a dab hand at, with experience working on films such as The Fast and the Furious and Daredevil to name a couple. There are stunning shots of some truly remarkable and beautiful places around the world and credit where credit is due, some of the sporting stunts are amazing and filmed well. It does play out like an X games competition in places and clearly the focus is all on the sport as it does take up a huge amount of screen time with surfing, snowboarding, wing suiting and free climbing to name a few; leaving the script to push the narrative along just enough to remind the audience that they are in fact watching a film.
I was in two minds as to whether or not I should re-watch the original Point Break - which I love dearly - but I decided against it because I thought I would spend the whole time comparing this remake to the original version. And aside from one distinctly memorable and iconic moment from the 1991 version (and the names of course), I was able to enjoy Core’s reimagining for what it was. I do think that Core could have made this feature as a stand alone film without any obvious reference to Bigelow’s Point Break which would have avoided the comparisons and no doubt the outrage at yet another remake. Nevertheless, regardless of what I say here, there are going to be those who hate this film and will already have their minds and judgements made up, but my advice: don’t think of this as a remake, and try not to watch the original before seeing it.
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