Ah remakes, one of the multiple backed beasts of modern cinema. It seems that not a year can go by without a plethora of them (or re-imaginings as some directors and studios now call them). However, aside from a rare few (Carpenter’s The Thing), we all know remakes hardly ever really better the original but some of them can be decent or enjoyable updates, even if the film they are remaking is an undisputed classic or much loved favourite. Still, there are some occasions where an announced remake is so preposterously uncalled for that you are challenged into not even giving the film a chance at all. Ericson Core’s remake of Kathryn Bigelow’s Swayze/Reeves 1991 crime caper Point Break would most definitely fall into that category.
Obviously we should never say never- after all is the year that Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book floored us all- but off the back of terrible reviews, a lack of audience enthusiasm and disappointing box office, Point Break was certainly not sailing the waves so smoothly. Still, is there something here worth your time? Well, not loads. This film sees former daredevil and extreme athlete Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey) experience a devastating loss and seek out a career in the FBI. Aiming to prove himself, Utah comes to aid in a series of high-octane crimes by audacious risk taking criminals, who Utah believes are aiming to complete the Ozaki 8- a series of death defying trials, that are accomplished to honour nature. To prove his theory, Utah infiltrates the extreme sports community after a storm has drawn them to huge and rarely formed series of waves. There he meets a group of individuals led by the mysterious Bodhi (Édgar Ramírez), who Utah feels may have something to do with these crimes.
While being called Point Break, Ericson Core’s well-shot but utterly pointless film bares only slight similarities to Bigelow’s cult Thriller turned classic. True, a remake deviating from the original is not always a bad thing (Piranha 3D, The Italian Job) but this film fails to find a real purpose behind all its daring. The stunts and clear professionalism behind their construction are what really saves the film from utter disaster because this is a film that offers many a spectacular action sequence. In particular a free climbing scene that genuinely grips- no point intended. Sadly these isolated scenes are all that livens up a drab remake and are nowhere near enough to save it. Kurt Wimmer’s screenplay fails where W. Peter Iliff’s succeeded, in that the charisma, characters and plot are all entirely lacking here. Good stunts do not make a great film, you need substance behind the flash, see the recent Mission: Impossible films as an example, they have fantastic action and stunts but also a slick story and charming characters. If you rely on cool stunts alone, you might as well Google extreme sporting videos and in fact you would probably be better off doing so. Hell, they’d have better characters.
Point Break has potential to actually tell a worthwhile story of eco warriors and environmental extremism but it only merely nudges any ideology before then coasting along blandly until the next big stunt, with the plot being practically non-existent and the actual reasoning being even thinner. The characters suffer from the undeveloped screenplay, as audiences will be pining for the kind of attraction offered by Swayze, Busey and even Reeves. Bracey never really works as Utah and his performance feels wooden and unlively. Ramírez fares better and is probably the standout of the cast as an obsessively spiritual Bodhi, though he is far less interesting than he should be thanks to the script giving him no real purpose. The rest of the “characters” are reserved to glaring looks or smiles (Clemens Schick’s Roach, Tobias Santelmann’s Chowder, and Matias Varela’s Grommet), chatting about the minimal plot points (Teresa Palmer’s Samsara) or just pretty much standing there (Ray Winstone’s Angelo Pappas does a lot of that).
So, that is about all there is to say about this one. Point Break is not an absolute unmitigated disaster thanks only to some compelling stuntwork, made such by- not the tension of the film- but the work of the team behind, who are the only ones here that deserve top marks. Sadly any other potential is scuppered by a script that makes do with the superficial and forgets to inject any heart or even a main body to the movie. There is no point to Point Break and thus there is no point sitting through it. Wait for someone to upload the stunt-based action sequences to YouTube instead of sitting through the boring, often uneventful content that makes up the rest of the film.
Special Features: Deleted Scenes
POINT BREAK / CERT: 12 / DIRECTOR: ERICSON CORE / SCREENPLAY: KURT WIMMER / STARRING: ÉDGAR RAMÍREZ, LUKE BRACEY, TERESA PALMER, RAY WINSTONE / RELEASE DATE: 13TH JUNE
Expected Rating: 5/10