Directed by Ericson Core. Produced by John Baldecchi, Broderick Johnson, Andrew A. Kosove, Christopher Taylor, David Valdes, and Kurt Wimmer. Written by Kurt Wimmer. Release date: December 25, 2015.
I don’t know if any of you have seen the original Point Break lately, but I did before seeing the new one in order to get a better idea as to why someone would remake it. It wasn’t that good, but it had a little bit of an undeniable charm that helped me understand why it has achieved its cult classic status in the years since its release. As to why anyone would remake it? “Money” is the only reason, since the original still “holds up” as well as an early-’90s action movie can do, and the first Fast and the Furious movie was basically a remake of it anyway – just with cars taking the place of surfers.
The remake replaces surfers with generic extreme athletes. Our lead is a retired extreme athlete named Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey), who quit the extreme athlete life after his friend died and, seven years later, became an FBI agent. Well, a provisional one. Coincidentally, there are a bunch of extreme athletes pulling off crimes, and Utah is the only one who (1) can figure this out and (2) can infiltrate the scene and figure out who’s behind the crimes. He’s able to do this despite being retired for seven years. Because who needs to train to be an extreme athlete? Well, the movie instructs us that there are 8 “impossible” extreme challenges, and they’re so difficult that someone can train an entire (sporting?) lifetime just to do one. Guess how many Mr. Utah does by the end of the film? (Hint: It’s more than one.)
So, Utah starts doing extreme sporting things, finds himself befriending a gang led by Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez), and soon has to pick between his FBI life or that of the extreme athlete who wants to achieve nirvana and also wants to give back to the Earth by stealing from the wealthy, or maybe taking down a corrupt system, or something else because what is screenwriting? The “bad guys'” whole point is muddled in some philosophy that would struggle to enlighten a cat – and not even a smart cat; one of the stupid ones that thinks lasagna isn’t delicious.
Oh, and the whole “making a choice” thing? You know, the crux of the narrative in both the original and The Fast and the Furious? It doesn’t actually come into play here. Utah never once wavers from the “right” path, and the one line of dialogue that ensures to ask him to pick a side happens … after he’s already picked a side. That’s right: the Point Break remake is too incompetent to even steal material directly from the movie it’s copying. How much do you have to suck at making a remake to completely miss the purpose of the original, while failing to replace it with anything even close to meaningful or, at least, interesting?
An incompetent movie from start to finish, Point Break will go down in history as one of the worst and most unnecessary remakes ever.
What Point Break ultimately does is give us a bunch of “extreme” sporting events that wouldn’t even make the X-Games highlights on ESPN. They’re some of the least intense scenes of this nature that I’ve ever seen. They’re so choppy, so poorly filmed, and so unengaging that they’re more likely to lull you to sleep than give you any sense of exhilaration. Do you need to care about the characters when we’re watching them dive several thousand meters to the ground? Well, if they’re poorly shot and edited scenes, it turns out that you do.
I dare anyone to try to care about Johnny Utah. Luke Bracey, a poor man’s Charlie Hunnam, is so bad in the role that he makes Keanu Reeves look like a great actor in the original. They replaced Keanu Reeves, someone whose idea of charisma is saying “dude” a lot, with someone who’s even worse than Keanu Reeves. Edgar Ramirez isn’t as terrible, but all the philosophical garbage he has to spew doesn’t give him much of a chance. The supporting cast – which consists of Nikolai Kinski, Teresa Palmer, Ray Winstone, Tobias Santelmann, Bojesse Christophe, and Matias Varela – is so bland and largely pointless that they may as well not even be there.
But, then again, by the time the movie concludes, Johnny Utah has accomplished so little that he may as well not even been in the film. The climax is supposed to be this great show of respect, but it just drives home that Utah is one of the biggest on-screen FBI agents failures in recent memory – or maybe ever. This is despite him knowing pretty much everything instantly, being exceptional at every challenge put in front of him, and facing no repercussions for monumentally messing up. Point Break wants Johnny Utah to be a star more than Vince McMahon wants Roman Reigns to be a star.
An incompetent movie from start to finish, Point Break will go down in history as one of the worst and most unnecessary remakes ever. It fails at even delivering its most basic promise: fun extreme athlete action scenes. And once you get past those, you get a terrible protagonist played by an actor with less charisma than Keanu Reeves, philosophical ravings that are less profound than those coming from your local stoner, and a plot that can’t even properly copy and paste itself from the original film. Its only highlights come in the form of unintentional comedy but for, the most part, this is a dull and atrocious waste of time.
Bottom Line: An utter disgrace, Point Break is one of the worst movies of the year and a complete failure.
Recommendation: Go watch the original or The Fast and the Furious. Somehow, they’re both way, way better than this piece of cinematic garbage.[rating=0.5]
If you want more of Matthew “Marter” Parkinson, you can follow him on the Twitter @Martertweet and check out his weekly movie podcast.