Point Break (2015)

Point Break (2015)
  • Time: 114 min
  • Genre: Action | Crime | Sport
  • Director: Ericson Core
  • Cast: Luke Bracey, Édgar Ramírez, Teresa Palmer, Ray Winstone


A young FBI agent infiltrates an extraordinary team of extreme sports athletes he suspects of masterminding a string of unprecedented, sophisticated corporate heists. Deep undercover, and with his life in danger, he strives to prove these athletes are the architects of the mind-boggling crimes that are devastating the world’s financial markets. Filmed on four continents, North America, Europe, South America and Asia, “Point Break” presents extraordinary feats performed by the world’s top extreme sports athletes, and involves some of the most daring exploits ever committed to film. Extreme sports featured include snowboarding, wingsuit flying, free rock climbing, high-speed motocross, and surfing 70-foot waves.


  • I don’t consider Keanu Reeves to be the world’s greatest actor. But in all honesty, he gives one of the best performances of his career (next to Speed) in 1991’s favorable hit, Point Break. 24 years later, “Break” is being remade with Aussie Luke Bracey in the Reeves role. Sad to say though, Bracey doesn’t equal Keanu’s charisma or wide-eyed intensity. And the same goes for 2015’s reworking in general. But hey, I’ve seen a lot worse of these second-runs to come down the pike. Case in point: Did anyone remember the modernized version of Poltergeist from last summer? Me neither.

    Not coming off as shot-for-shot, not changing any of the persona’s names, not using the same locales (the original was set in surrounding L.A. while 2015’s version goes all over the globe), and directed by cinematographer Ericson Core, new crop Point Break focuses on extreme motocross star-turned-FBI-agent, Johnny Utah (played by Luke Bracey who appears to be channeling the lead singer of the grunge band Puddle Of Mudd). You see Utah feels responsible for the death of his best friend (years ago, buddy Jeff perished from a cliff via a motorbike mishap). He needs “structure” in his life so he vehemently decides to join the Bureau. His first assignment: Go undercover, accumulate enough evidence, and capture Bodhi (played by Edgar Ramirez) plus his merry band of badasses. In the original “Break”, Bodhi and his crew wanted to quote unquote, “rob banks to finance their endless summer, whoa!” Cut to present day and surfer/snowboarder/fight club member Bodhisattva wants to conquer the Ono Osaki 8, a series of ordeals that honors the forces of nature. This somehow involves committing a lot of felonious activities (who knew). Now with the newfangled version, helmer Core provides cinematography that harbors a real silvery look. And if you’re afraid of heights, it’s best to look away during many a scene (I talked about these same aspects in my previous review of The Walk).

    Anyway, as mentioned in the first paragraph, I stated that there are far worse remakes than the new Point Break. The two films are surprisingly dissimilar making this current reboot pretty much its own vehicle. In fact, if the original never existed, I would probably garner Point Break circa 2015 a higher rating. So OK, does that mean I’m gonna recommend it? Not quite. The original from 91′ is epic. It’s stronger in that it gives you the urge to view it multiple times (a cult classic is what I’m saying here). There are quotable lines of dialogue (“back off Warchild, seriously”), visceral gunfights staged by director Kathryn Bigelow, fleshed out characters, doses of mild humor, nuggets of snarky dialogue, original concepts, strong acting from the leads (Reeves and the late Patrick Swayze), and one bitch of a parachute-free, skydiving sequence. 2015’s “Break” doesn’t exactly contain these traits. Yeah, it’s filmed well with a more straightforward narrative and scenery that if you pause it, looks like postcards. Plus, the action sequences are decent in that they’re carried out with veritable aplomb. But Point Break redux (that’s what I’ve decided to call it) sledgehammers lousily, a certain something. We as an audience, don’t want to be diverted from important plot points to see extreme sports for the sake of extreme sports. This isn’t X Games mind you, it’s a movie. Bottom line: I give modern-day Point Break a strong two and a half star rating. I paid six dollars and attended a matinee screening to view it. Not a classic but I have zero regrets.

    Of note: As I took in the slickly, up-to-date (Christmas Day) release that is Point Break, one of its characters constantly annoyed the bejesus out of me. That would be Angelo Pappas. In 1991’s original, he was Johnny Utah’s agent partner, a kooky, cigar-chomping blowhard with a devil-may-care attitude and an appetite for sloppy, meatball sandwiches. Gary Busey played him as though he was playing his own, eccentric self. Cut to 2015 and we have Ray Winstone as Pappas. Again he’s an agent. He’s scruffy, grumpy, and lights up the ol’ tobacco. This time though, Angelo does almost nothing. Yeah he makes a phone call or two and judges Utah from afar. But in the grand scheme of things, he doesn’t even get in on the action like Busey’s Pappas gleefully did (he never manages to pull out his weapon). Next time don’t sleepwalk through it all Ray. Also of note: I know I talked about Luke Bracey (earlier) not being right for the role of sunny bro Johnny Utah. He can act though. All you gotta do is check him out in 2014’s The November Man. The dude shines co-starring alongside Pierce Brosnan. This is merely just food for thought.

    Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars

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  • Pure high-octane drivel, the Point Break remake does what most remakes hope to avoid – it makes one long for the original. The 1991 bromance actioner, directed with flair by Kathryn Bigelow and starring Keanu Reeves as an undercover FBI agent infiltrating Patrick Swayze’s gang of bank-robbing, shaggy-haired surfers, was ridiculous fun and everyone included was self-aware of the cartoonishness of it all.

    Fun is sorely missing in the remake, which deviates from the original only in its expansive embrace of all manner of extreme sport and in its positioning of its Robin Hooders as thrill-seeking eco-terrorists rather than go-with-the-flow people funding their surf and sand lifestyle. Director and cinematographer Ericson Core’s take certainly does not lack for visual thrills. In fact, stripped of its non-action sequences that are really more breathers than attempts to propel the story forward or deepen the characters, one is left with a film that plays like a highlight reel for the sports on display. One would hardly be surprised if it came to light that ESPN, Red Bull and GoPro had funded the film.

    An exciting freestyle motocross scene jolts the start of the film and introduces the adventurous Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey), whose recklessness in pushing the limits results in the death of his best friend. Flash forward seven years later – Johnny has put his past behind him and is focused on becoming an FBI agent. His superior (Delroy Lindo) isn’t quite convinced of his potential but is swayed when Johnny’s extreme sports background helps him connect the dots to a seemingly random series of daring heists. Johnny believes the criminals are extreme sport enthusiasts who are trying to achieve the Ozaki 8, eight ordeals designed to honour the forces of nature. If all eight challenges are accomplished, then nirvana is achieved.

    Johnny’s theory gets him assigned to the case and he and British agent Angelo Pappas (a welcome but underused Ray Winstone) situate themselves in Biarritz, where Johnny catches the attention of the daredevil gang’s leader Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez) by surfing the same mega-wave that Bodhi has already claimed for himself. The sequence is not only one of the remake’s many nods to the original, but is a breathtaking one in its own right. Bodhi rescues Johnny after he’s pulled under the wave and it isn’t very long before Johnny is part of the gang as they take on one extreme feat after another. If the motocross and big-wave surfing sequences were too ho-hum, then how about base jumping, sheer-face snowboarding, and wingsuit flying? Don’t worry if your pulse races, the hippy-dippy and thoroughly nonsensical dialogue will slow it right back down.

    As adrenalised and often outstanding the action sequences are, the exhilaration eventually wears off due to Core’s unvarying pacing. Action scenes, like any other scene, have their own rhythm and range of notes, and Point Break plucks at the same chord for every one of its action sequences. There’s no tension, no sense of danger, and that lack is fatal.

    Speaking of lack, Bracey has yet to prove that his acting skills are nothing but a hair above non-existent. Ramirez is darkly charismatic and wisely carves out his own version of Bodhi. It’s not a better version, but at least he does something different. Teresa Palmer, as Johnny’s love interest Samsara, apparently thinks she’s still in Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups, so whispery and twirly is her performance, though “performance” is used in the broadest possible sense here.

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