For movie so infatuated with extreme sports, Ericson Core’s “Point Break” is a stagnant, airless remake lacking any reason to exist. Core’s film strives for so little that there’s no fun to be had in any regard.
A remake of the 1991 Kathryn Bigelow actioner starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze, this picture revolves around Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey, filling in for Reeves), a former extreme athlete-turned-F.B.I agent who infiltrates a gang of extreme athletes led by Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez, filling in for Swayze), trying to achieve total enlightenment with nature while also committing acts of eco-terrorism.
Watching this new incarnation it’s as if the producers saw the intense, exhilarating skydiving sequence in the original and said, “Lets do that for every scene!” The movie is one extreme sports spectacle after another: surfing mammoth waves, wingsuit flying, skydiving and snowboarding. All of these are cool stunts in their own right, but in the context of the movie, there’s no emotional weight behind them.
Within 30 minutes, the movie becomes tedious and repetitive; after the third sequence in which the characters snowboard down a mountain slope I wanted to throw things at the screen.
“Point Break” is so eager to the get to the next beat of action that it neglects story and character in the process. As action-driven as the original was, the focus remained on character: The bond between Utah and Bodhi took center stage and developed organically. In the remake, said bond is virtually nonexistent. And Kurt Wimmer’s screenplay doesn’t explore the philosophy of Bodhi and his gang in any real depth beyond surface-level platitudes.
The acting ranges from robotic to nonexistent. Instead of having personality or charm, newcomer Bracey stares intensely off into the distance. Meanwhile, Ramirez and Ray Winstone (as Utah’s partner, Angelo Pappas), two very talented actors, look as though they would rather be doing anything else. Both recite their lines without any enthusiasm, as if they’re being held at gunpoint.
Meanwhile, Theresa Palmer (as the film’s token female and love interest of Utah) is basically thrown under the bus.
Overall, no one looks like they’re having any fun, and that is perhaps the most offensive thing about this remake — it takes itself far too seriously. The original “Point Break” had a prominent streak of humor, recognizing the inherent goofiness in its premise (an F.B.I. agent going undercover to catch a gang of surfing bank robbers) and embracing it.
Not long after an advanced screening of “Point Break” that took place almost a week before its theatrical release, Warner Bros. studio announced it was canceling all further previews and media screenings around the country, a move that seems fitting due to the quality of the final product. “Point Break” is just a bland, paint-by-numbers action movie and a soulless advertisement for extreme sports.
(Rated PG-13 for violence, thematic material involving perilous activity, some sexuality, language and drug material.)