100% Pure Boredom
What makes the original “Point Break” work is not the script. The 1991 “Point Break” directed by the future Oscar winning director Kathryn Bigelow works because of its intense and thrilling action, directing, and the appealing charisma charged cast of Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. In the hands of lesser talents “Point Break” could have easily fallen apart. The 2015 remake of “Point Break” doesn’t have a good script either. However unlike the 1991 original, the remake doesn’t have two great leads to fall back on, exciting directing or much intensity. The result is a lackluster film that represents a failure to strength the weaknesses of the original without adding much of any new interest in its stead.
This review isn’t going to turn into a constant barrage of the new 2015 version of “Point Break” simply because it’s a remake. The original is far from perfect despite how amazingly entertaining it is. I was in full support of the update and believed a new vision could be interesting for the property (despite the fact we sort of got that with 2001’s near rip off with cars “The Fast and The Furious”). Even the trailer held my attention and was impressed by the amount of practical stunts and effects. When watching the movie it is clear that a lot of thought went behind those stunts and daring action sequences. In an age when most film fans complain at the overuse of computer generated effects and green screen a few films have come along fall back to a more traditional way of filmmaking. “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ,while did have plenty of CGI, still put a lot more of emphasis back the practical.
The 2015 “Point Break” falls into that camp with a wide array of incredible practical stunt work and display of dangerous “Extreme Sports” (with a lot of the professionals in those sports lending their talents to the movie). Director Ericson Core has a good grasp on how to capture the sports in action. Wind surfacing, motorcycles, surfing, and base jumping are only some of the events captured on screen. While the original “Point Break” stuck close to just surfing (and a random sky diving scene) this update ups the ante with multiple different sporting avenues.
Bigger doesn’t always measure better though. Core has a knack for capturing these daring sports in a commercial like manner, but he never captures the danger of them. As I was watching the movie all I saw was an impressive stunt work show where the professionals preformed their stunts to perfection. I never saw danger or winced once. It becomes boring after a while.
While the action bores, the story cringes. The script moves at a horrendous pace. To take a step back, for those who don’t know the story of “Point Break” here it is. An undercover cop infiltrates a gang of criminals who seems to have a pattern of robbing people but don’t take much for themselves, giving it out to the very poor. The group are attempting a sort of enlightenment as each robbery challenges the forces of mother nature, making them one with the Earth. The FBI agent named Johnny Utah (although that’s not his actual name in the movie) was once an “Extreme Athlete”, making him the perfect cop to go undercover in this ring. Slowly though the closer he gets to these people the more the line is blurred between right and wrong.
As I mentioned before the movie moves at horrendous pace. Everything is rushed. One of the primary story plot points of this movie is the relationship between Johnny and the leader of this group, Bodhi. To create the tension of Johnny’s confused state of priorities, where does he stand and who does he follow, the FBI or his new family, you have to buy into the relationship between these two characters (played by Édgar Ramírez and Luke Bracey respectively). There is a line that Bodhi says to Utah that told everything I needed to hear, “I thought I could save you brother”. This line doesn’t give me any insight into their actual relationship rather some insight into the failure of screenwriter Kurt Wimmer. First off there is no chemistry between the two actors (Luke Bracey somehow comes across even more wooden then Keanu Reeves and with far less charisma) and second off the relationship did not develop. The scenes the pair shared were mere exposition scenes that ended up amounting to nothing. There was no connection, which made the moment where Bodhi says, “I thought I could save you brother”, all the more empty.
The motivations of Bodhi were kept simple in the original. Here, the philosophy is suppose to be some extensional enlightenment and becoming one with the Earth. It’s never explained very well nor is it very intriguing. The cult like appeal of the original Patrick Swayze character was because he was very likeable, and his philosophy made sense. Even though you knew what he was doing was wrong you still sort of buy into his actions and felt drawn to the lifestyle. You almost wanted to be him. The cult of Bodhi here, in 2015, is literally a cult. It feels almost like a religion. The cult is no longer relatable though and the characters are so boring they might as well be paint drying on the wall. Ramírez is not likeable or interesting as Bodhi. Which leads to myself scratching my head wondering how Utah was drawn to him in the first place?
By the end we are left with, boring action, bad writing, poor acting and a stunt show that we could have just seen on YouTube anyways; making this feel like a complete waste of time. Quite frankly this remake gives such a bad name to remakes that someone should probably remake the remake to set things right.