Friday, December 25, 2015

Point Break Review (2015)

For movie so infatuated with extreme sports, Ericson Core’s “Point Break” (a remake of the 1991 Kathryn Bigelow actioner staring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze) is extremely dull—a stagnant, airless, remake lacking any reason to exist. Some movies can be so bad they’re entertaining. Core’s film strives for so little that there’s no fun to be had in any regard. The 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, Wing suit 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. You’re better off just staying home and watching clips on YouTube.
Within thirty 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; who needs three-dimensional characters when we have cliff jumping…or snowboarding…or snowboarding off a cliff! As action driven as the original is the focus remains on character, the bond between Utah and Bodhi takes center stage and develops 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 (“you see lines, we see truth”).

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 literally 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 (we’re not having any fun) and that is perhaps the most offensive thing about this remake-- it takes itself far too seriously.  Near the beginning of the film, in a room full of other F.B.I agents Utah says (about the culprits of the eco terrorist acts): “I believe these crimes to be the work of…extreme athletes,” a ridiculous line of dialogue delivered with a straight face. And that's what this movie feels like most of the time: a ridiculous movie presented with a straight face. The original “Point Break” has 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 I attended an advanced screening of “Point Break” (almost a week before its theatrical release) Warner Bro’s announced they would be cancelling all further preview/media screenings around the country, a move that seems fitting due to the quality of the final product. “Point Break” is a bland paint by numbers action movie and a soulless advertisement for extreme sports. The last truly awful movie of 2015. 


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