If You Want to See Point Break, Take Our Advice and Go Back to 1991
Point Break: Rated “PG-13” (1 hours, 54 minutes)
Starring: Edgar Ramírez, Luke Bracey, Ray Winstone, Teresa Palmer, Matias Varela
Directed by: Ericson Core
The Past is Present
Back in 1991, FBI agent Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) and his senior partner, Angelo Pappas (Gary Busey) took up after a team of too-cool surfer, daredevil, bank robbers lead by the very charismatic Bodhi (Patrick Swayze). That film was wildly frenetic, action-packed, total rush that was nothing short of a high-energy, testosteroned- fueled impact-ladened thrill ride that has stood up to the test of time and is every bit as watchable now as it was 25 years ago. Which of course made someone in Hollywoodland think that it was ripe for a remake.
Point Break (2015)
Stop doing Remakes
(Unavoidable aside, why do Hollywood suits keep remaking great/classic films? They were already awesome. Why not instead take a solid, but slightly-missed-the-mark film that had great potential but could be remade better with more accomplished actors, a better writer or director, modern technology, or a closer adaption to the source material.)
Point Break (2015)
Picking the Correct Version
Well, that was then and this is now, and yes, this is a (somewhat) ham-handed remake of that film, so let’s get this out of the way right now; Ramírez and Bracey despite their admitted talents, are no Johnny Utah and Bodhi, and try tough he might, director Ericson Core is no Kathryn Bigelow.
Following the money
The Same as it Ever Was
Well, for all intents and purposes, while the story is essentially the same, with the action having been (slightly altered) amped up to an unbelievable degree, and (unfortunately) this remake suffers from a weak re-write that caused it to become essentially dumbed down and was (in our most considered opinion) more akin to an over-extended GoPro YouTube video with smattering of dialogue tossed in to keep viewers interested during the “slow” (read “actionless”) periods.
A Little Bit of History
This time out we get a bit of a pre-Bodhi history for a young Johnny Utah before he signed on to the FBI. After the death of a friend during one of their über-extreme sports quests, Utah turns to the Bureau, once there he gets involved in a case where he infiltrates a team of extreme sports athletes whom he suspects of masterminding a string of unprecedented, sophisticated corporate heists. Going deep undercover with the group, he attempts to prove that the athletes are the architects of the mind-boggling crimes that are devastating the world's financial markets.
Gravity, the Only Immutable Law
The Ozaki 8
As we get into it, we discover that the new Bodhi and his crew are attempt to complete something called the Ozaki 8 which is defined as a teaching methodology where performing eight extreme ordeals in order to honor the forces of nature garners the performer of such feats good karma, or some other vaguely Eastern mythology. So Utah hooks up with Bodhi’s crew as they perform stunning feat after another — which, while admittedly quite impressive, simply weren’t enough to sustain a full movie. To be sure, while we did like the Ozaki 8 aspect of the story, it really didn’t hold up in quite the same fashion as did the original Bodhi’s motivations. Further, the ’91 Bodhi was a far more interesting character than his post-Millennial replicate.
Climbing to new heights
The Original is So Much Better
Truth to tell, we never did like the ending of the original Point Break as it seemed contrived, forced and a tad hokey. Plus, we always felt that in spite of his high-minded ideals, Bodhi never actually deserved the “heroic” ending he received onscreen (and, for the record, neither did his current-day doppelganger). So while this film is pretty to look at, it simply doesn’t measure up to the original — thus going back to our long-held belief that remakes tend to never quite measure up to the originals. So, our recommendation is that while you might want to see all of the eye-candy stunts of this film, what you really want to do is get your hands on a copy of the original and watch that one instead. If you haven’t already seen it, you’ll thank us, if you have, you’ll thank us anyway.
© 2016 Robert J Sodaro