08th Jun2016

‘Point Break’ (2015) Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Luke Bracey, Edgar Ramirez, Ray Winstone, Teresa Palmer, Matias Varela, Clemens Schick, Tobias Santelmann, Max Thieriot, Delroy Lindo | Written by Rick King, W. Peter Iliff, Kurt Wimmer | Directed by Ericson Core

point-break-dvd

Now I’m not that adverse to remakes and reboots as some and, if I’m honest, the 1991 version of Point Break is not as special to me as it is to others – in fact Bigelow’s film never really gelled with me, so I approached this redux with a really open mind. Turns out I shouldn’t have bothered!

Taking its cue from Kathryn Bigelow’s original movie, this remake of Point Break once again tells the story of Johnny Utah (Bracey), a young FBI agent who infiltrates a cunning team of thrill-seeking elite athletes – led by the charismatic Bodhi (Ramirez) – who are suspected of carrying out a spate of crimes in extremely unusual ways…

However Ericson Core’s version of the film also introduces the concept of the Osaki 8: eight extreme sports challenges that no-one, apart from this film’s villains of course, have ever completed. Which means – for the audience – we get some incredible looking action/extreme sports sequences. But that’s all this Point Break has going for it.

As is typical of a remake there have been changes to the original story: whereas the original film had characters that were committing crimes to fund their adrenalin-filled hedonisitc lifestyle, Core’s version has the bad guys become some sort of moral crusaders, committing crimes Robin Hood style and giving away their loot to those less fortunate. Combine that with the ideals behind the Osaki 8 – completing the challenges in search of spiritual enlightenment – and the badass villains are more like desperately uncool hipsters.

And that sets the tone for the entire film.

The characters of this remake of Point Break (and I use the term remake loosely) are trying despearately to be cool and so is the film. The set-pieces look amazing but there’s no tension. It’s like the filmmakers are saying “check this out, doesn’t it look awesome, please liek us” but without providing the audience with any emotional connection to the characters – so there’s no real sense of danger at any time and no reason for audiences to be invested in the film at all.

That lack of emotion extends to the cast too – not one person in this film seems to be invested in the story or their character. This is the epitomy of people performing for a pay cheque and, seemingly, phoning in their performances. But when you’re starring in a  remake a film that is a beloved as Point Break there has to be as sense of futility. Especially given the odd changes to the story – Johnny Utah for example is NOT Johnny Utah, instead that a nickname given to the character by his motorcross buddies. And that odd (almost erotic) relationship between Utah and Bodhi is totally gone, replaced with a bog-standard cops v robbers plotting. Even the mentor/mentee relationship between Utah and his handler (originally played by Gary Busey) is gone – though to be fair Ray Winstone’s character, Pappas, is the most likeable of all the films cast.

A surprising misfire, especially given the involvement of Rick King and W. Peter Iliff who wrote the 1991 film, Point Break is the kind of remake that gives good remakes a bad name. Don’t waste money on this one – wait for Netflix or better still, when it hits one of the obscure movie channels on Freeview.

Point Break is released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 13th, The film is available on VOD now.

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