“We’re going to liberate it.”
Ah, Point Break. To be wild and free. Young and reckless. Sulky and stupid. Any combination of angsty associated adjectives suit it well. However, “remake” is not one of them, and while technically matching the description, the movie doesn’t expand the story. We didn’t need this film again, or a disastrously inferior version at that. Like most movies now, when compared to the plucky kitsch of 80’s and 90’s capers, Point Break simply takes itself far too seriously. Where’s the fun or the self-aware silliness? The hang ten lifestyle seems to have become that of a freebooter. I advise you to tuck and roll away from this one.
This time around Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey) has traded in being a former college quarterback for thrill-seeking extreme sports. You name it, he does it. Tragedy meets a close friend, Utah throws in the towel, and decides to enter FBI Agent training. Instincts and habits are hard things to flush, so when he sees three criminals escaping robberies through daring physical feats, Utah has only one line of thinking. “Whoaaa…They’re extreme, like me!” Sticking closely to the original’s script, he infiltrates the group and gains their trust, as well as finding a pretty little complicated lady (Teresa Palmer) along the way. The adrenaline junkies long to complete the Osaki 8, a series of death-defying acts to honor the forces of nature. Doing so is their form of spiritual enlightenment. Do not attempt this at home though, because the result is anything but a blissful Nirvana.
Édgar Ramírez plays Bohdi here with a harder front and more grit. And he’s good too. But Point Break, with its heavy saturation and chloroformed personality doesn’t know how to forget the rules and freely play by its own jurisdiction. Add in Ray Winstone as Utah’s partner/handler plus Bohdi’s cronies and what you get are some sorely one-dimensional bastards. Kathryn Bigelow’s original take has rightfully become a cult-classic because of the personalities of its two leads. With them the frame was a warm and luxurious getaway. As a direct contrast, Ericson Core sacrifices the charm. Granted, some of the escape footage is outstanding, but by ignoring to first establish the people we might as well be watching expressionless mannequins. The high-flying stunts need a human safety net, and without it Point Break crashes.
The translation to 2015 tries to be so much more: bigger set pieces, loftier trains of thought, daring and explosive and solemn. And yet, expanding the scope is its biggest detractor. It strips away a sense of time and place. First time around? Well, that was idealist surfer dudes traveling up and down the Southern California coast hitting banks. And here it’s worldwide theft by highly skilled Robin Hoods. Which one sounds more intimate, more defined, and you can picture it in your head? If you answered anything but “the original” just guess again. 2015’s Point Break doesn’t remake anything at all really. It rehashes, chasing that big break of a wave before it ever learns to calmly gain its footing. Or, for that matter, maintain its balance. Headfirst into the reef it goes.
“It’s about spiritual enlightenment?”
Rating: 1 out of 5