Point Break Ericson Core
Published Dec 25, 2015It's hard to imagine someone watching future Academy Award-winner Kathryn Bigelow's surf-heavy, action crime thriller Point Break and wanting to recreate it with a lot less action scenes and a lot more action sports, but that's exactly what Invincible director Ericson Core and Total Recall screenwriter Kurt Wimmer have done with this 2015 remake.
While the Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze starring-original was a testosterone-fuelled action flick that also acted as a cinematic critique of everything that was wrong with American culture — and particularly the West coast version of it set at the start of the '90s (i.e. alpha males, a false sense of freedom in capitalist society and Anthony Kiedis) — this Point Break strips all of that away in favour of a plot filled with simple exposition, Brain Farm-lite cinematography and an overall lack of the best parts of its predecessor.
Filling in for Reeves and his rough-around-the-edges take on Johnny Utah is Australian actor Luke Bracey. As in the original, Utah is an up-and-coming FBI recruit with an athletic past (this time he's a freestyle and competitive motocross athlete, as opposed to a college quarterback) who joins the force after his adrenaline junkie ways costs a friend his life.
When word gets out that an unknown gang of criminals (who, much to the chagrin of hardcore fans of the original film, only wear masks of ex-presidents in one initial scene) are robbing a number of financial institutions around the world and donating funds to the less-fortunate, Utah puts two and two together and shares a hunch with his higher-ups: they're a bunch of poly-athletes attempting to honour their leader's (Édgar Ramírez) former teacher by testing the forces of nature through a set of trials named after him called The Ozaki 8. Considering his history of death-defying feats, Utah (reluctantly) is the man chosen to bring them down.
But, save for two memorable scenes, this Point Break has little in common with the former version, and ultimately comes across as a watered down answer to the far superior, more potent original.
This is a movie fuelled by Monster Energy drinks and informed by a few too many hours spent watching ESPN2, with most of the minimalist narrative unfolding between radical escapades (snowboarding, surfing, rock climbing and wingsuit flying) and celebrity cameos from some of the world's top extreme athletes, seemingly in an attempt to solidify its position in alternative culture and somehow make the movie more legit (Who knows why Eric Koston and Bob Burnquist are in a movie with practically no skateboarding?).
Visually, the film has a lot going for it, at least at first, employing a super glossy, HDR-like sheen for its numerous, impressive action scenes. But after a while it seems like you're watching a TV whose contrast is set a little too far to the left, and its green-y, grey hue starts to feel like you're watching the movie through a bottle of SoBe Mr. Green.
Ultimately, Core and Wimmer have created a film that somehow left the charm of its source material on the cutting room floor (including FBI Agent Angelo Pappas, first played by Gary Busey, who injected ample amounts of comedy into some of the original movie's so-serious-they're-silly scenes) and ends up overcomplicating the proceedings by giving the film's villains a more broader purpose than simple financial gain and giving the finger to Western society (if the original story wasn't far-fetched enough already, watching a bunch of dudes act like they're trying to qualify in every category of the Gravity Games is just ridiculous).
Point Break is a strange beast that attempts to connect with both a younger audience and those who fondly remember seeing the original story unfold the first time around, but somehow ends up missing both marks. Expect it on Spike TV in the near future.