Cinema Dispatch: Point Break

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Point Break and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Ericson Core

When Star Wars and Creed are bringing back beloved franchises in spectacular fashion, it takes a lot of nerve to try and sneak this movie right in the middle of it.  The original Point Break is one of those movies I’ve been meaning to see for a really long time, but never got around to for one reason or another.  Still, from what very little I know about it and from how the trailer for this remake looked, it definitely seemed like a shaky proposition to try and bring it back like this.  Still, I’ve been surprised by plenty of movies this year and I certainly don’t have the last movie to compare this to.  Could this be a solid remake of a minor action classic, or will this be yet another movie to throw in the pile of unnecessary remakes along with the likes of Total Recall whose writer coincidentally wrote this movie as well?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows an FBI agent who as far as I can tell is ONLY referred to by his nickname Utah (Luke Bracey) that is brought in on a case that involves EXTREME thieves that are pulling some Robin Hood shtick with rich corporations.  The first of their crimes that the FBI is made aware of is the group driving motocross bikes through the twentieth story of a diamond sorting building and stealing all of them before crashing through the windows and parachuting to safety.  How they got the bikes all the way up there and how they weren’t caught once they landed is left a mystery, but let’s just say they escaped by sheer manly bro-force.  The reason why the FBI (or at least this one boss of his played by Delroy Lindo) wants Utah on the case is because the guy was an extreme sports practitioner before joining with the FBI.  That is… before the accident.

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“Remember when I was in the Point Break remake?  That was a dark time in my life…”

Anyway, Utah is able to figure out that group of criminals is trying to complete the Osaki 8 which is apparently a series of suicidally stupid challenges that this one dude came up with and died trying to complete.  Now I don’t believe the challenges have anything to do with the robberies but instead on how they escape, but then these challenges are so vaguely defined (to the point that the last one is a mystery) that it’s not really worth the brain power to figure it out.  When Utah takes his findings to the FBI brass though, they don’t believe him… for some reason and so he has to secretly go under cover (with the help of the boss who brought him in in the first place) to infiltrate the group and stop them from completing whatever it is they plan to do next.  Leading the group is of course Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez) who’s some sort of eco-terrorist/extreme sporting/sociopathic douchebag, but I guess we’re supposed to think he’s badass or something cuz he can surf some sick waves.  Utah does eventually get into the group somehow, but they don’t seem to be in a hurry to complete the next phases of the Osaki 8 and instead just seem to be testing Utah’s resolve.  That or they just spend all their time hiking and snowboarding.  Will Utah be able to bring these criminals to justice, or will Bodhi convert him to their cause?  Can Utah easily slide himself back into the role of an extreme white boy, or will the tragedy in his past hold him back from fulfilling his mission?  CAN WE AT LEAST GET A KEANU REEVES CAMEO IN THIS!?!?

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Behind the scenes footage explaining what happened to the one hundred million dollar budget.

This movie is absolutely obnoxious.  Having never seen the original Point Break I have no idea how it compares to that, but this remake takes itself WAY too god damn seriously.  It feels like a gritty reboot of something more fantastical what with its ponderous dialogue, random moments of Fight Club style violence, and incredibly indulgent cinematography.  It does manage to look very good considering how many shots of giant mountains and bodacious waves we get, and the stunts they showcase are pretty impressive to watch, but the problem is that all these fantastic vistas and scenes of choreographed action are populated with douchebags and it just kind of ruins the experience.  Levity and self-reflection was so sorely needed in this (which I assume HAD to be in the original considering it starred Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze) and their notable absence here just makes the movie feel like an unbearable slog through eco-warrior jargon, bullshit moralizing, and absurd characters who don’t seem to realize how much of a walking talking cliché they are.

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“Dude.”     “Dude?”     “Dude!”     “Duuuuuude…”

Our key players here are Utah (the FBI agent) and Bodhi (the leader of the EXTREME terrorists) and neither one of them are all that endearing.  Utah is pretty whiney and doesn’t take his job seriously enough for us to want to root for him to continue his so called investigation.  He’s part of Bodhi’s gang for most of the movie, but we never see him be an undercover cop at any point during their adventures.  He doesn’t secretly take pictures or send Ray Winstone details that could be useful for the investigation (at least as far as they bother to show us in the movie) and instead just hangs out with them on their dumb white boy escapades.  Hell, for all intents and purposes, this dude gets someone killed, and despite Bodhi’s psychopathic speeches about personal responsivity, it’s hard to imagine the FBI would have anything to do with the dumb kid after pulling a stunt like that.

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“I’m ready for my promotion!”     “Yeah… we need to talk…”

Speaking of Bohdi, the dude is unbearably self-righteous and the movie has no qualms about lionizing him for most of its running time.  The philosophy he’s exposing throughout this movie is absolutely self-serving and ludicrous, yet the movie never implies that it’s anything other than a misguided interpretation of some greater view of the world that most ‘normies’ will never be able to understand and he just keeps spouting stupid shit like “We don’t live off the grid, we live ON the grid” to make him sound astute and insightful when it just makes him sound like dingus.  Hell, even calling it “misguided” is a bit of a stretch considering where the movie ultimately takes his story which is UNBELIEVABLE hokey and makes no sense unless you’re actually SUPPOSED to believe that Bodhi was a righteous dude.  The mother fucker is a CULT LEADER at best and gets so many people killed for very selfish and frankly insignificant ends.  The guy’s plan to “give back” to mother nature doesn’t actually amount to anything and is just a front to fuel his adrenaline high and exploit weak minded people for shits and giggles.  He doesn’t plant trees, raise money for wild life preservation groups, or even film his stunts so that he can raise awareness or something.  Nope.  Just rob people and blow up mountains.  Wait, he blows up a fucking mountain!?!?  HOW THE FUCK IS THAT HELPING MOTHER NATURE!?!?

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“WOOO!!!!  MOTHER NATURE FOR THE WIN!!!”

I guess the actor does a good job of portraying the Serious Hippy archetype, but the movie does a terrible job of framing him and his actions within the context of the story.  The entire middle act of this is comprised of extended stunt sequences that have nothing to do with the FBI storyline and only seems to exist to show off exotic locals and radical stunts.  Since these have NOTHING to do with robberies and Bodhi is our guide through these amazing set pieces, it gives him way too big of a platform to just monologue to the audience about humanity’s insignificance and how no one is responsible for other people’s actions and how people are stupid if they feel guilt.  Now to be fair, the movie does have one saving grace (on top of the stunts and the visuals) and that’s the lead-up to the third act.  Once Utah reveals himself to Bodhi as a narc and they clearly take opposing sides in this little conflict, the movie takes a breather from glorifying Bodhi and it takes some time to show us what’s going on from the FBI’s point of view.  Utah begins to act like an actual federal agent for once and there’s a decent bank robbing scene that not only incorporates the extreme sports aspect of this effectively into a thrilling police chase, but it also has a REALLY strong emotional gut punch at the end of it that does a great job of setting up the thematic stakes for the final confrontation.  For once, Bodhi seems to have shown his true colors and Utah is not gonna fall for his shit any longer.  Unfortunately, what this is all leading up to is a pretty disappointing resolution to the story, so the effort at the end of act two feels a bit wasted.  Bodhi eventually gets his way (I think), and Utah never seems to realize just how toxic the dude’s view of the world are.

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#NotAllExtremeAthletes

Aside from my problems with these two and the way the movie portrays their conflict, it’s a typically subpar movie across the board.  The plotting is glacial as the second act just stops the story dead in its tracks due to the saggy second act and the absolutely absurd first act which is chock full of exposition that makes absolutely no sense.  The side characters are hilariously cliché including the black chief who says “*insert authority figure here* is gonna have my ass!” (I didn’t even know that trope still existed) and Ray Winstone who looks like he downed a fifth of scotch before each take.  I’d almost say these two are intentionally funny, but the movie takes itself WAY too seriously for this to be the case.  Hell, the love interest is pretty much a non-presence here and her characterization is so generic hippie that she might as well have been replaced by Tree Hugger, only we’re supposed to take her seriously.

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“Do I get a part in this movie?”     “Sort of.  Just say some shit about crystals or the ocean or something.”     “Really?  In 2015 you’re having me do this shit?”

I don’t know who was asking for a Point Break remake, but even those who were interested are probably not going to like what we got here.  It’s slow, it takes itself way too seriously, and despite some strong cinematography and well done stunts, it’s not all that fun to watch because the characters partaking in these events are not compelling in the slightest.  It has much better effects and set pieces than some of the other low rent action movies this year such as Hitman Agent 47 and The Transporter Refueled, but those movies worked to the extent that they did because they knew how to have fun with their crazier moments.  I guess the lesson here, other than don’t remake shit for the sake of remaking it, is to at least bring some levity or self-awareness to the whole affair.  People really are sick of Grim and Gritty reboots which take the stance of what worked in the original was stupid and childish.  When you go in with that attitude, you get movies like Transformers, Fantastic Four, and now Point Break.  Don’t go see this sullen and joyless exercise in hack film making when there are so many better movies out there right now, including lovingly realized revivals of great films.  Just forget this remake ever happened, just as I will once I’m done writing this review.

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If you like this review and plan on buying the movie, then use the Amazon link below!  I’ll get a percentage of the order it helps keep things going for me here at The Reviewers Unite!  In fact, you don’t even need to buy the item listed!  Just use the link, shop normally, and when you check out it will still give us that sweet, sweet, percentage!  You can even bookmark the link and use it every time you shop!  HOW AWESOME IS THAT!?

Point Break (2015) (Blu-ray)

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3 thoughts on “Cinema Dispatch: Point Break

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