Ah, remakes. If there is one word that makes any film geek’s blood boil, it’s definitely that one. Which is totally understandable since Hollywood has been pretty remaking nearly every film in existence over the pass 10 years or so. Instead of having the knee-jerk negative reaction that most film fans usually do every time one is announced, I prefer to take the wait-and-see approach and be open minded towards them. Although I will admit that there are times where even I’m puzzled when certain films get chosen to be remade. One of the those being POINT BREAK, which is a remake of the 1991 Kathryn Bigelow action film that starred Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves. So what did I think of it? Read on and find out!
The film tells the story of Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey), a former extreme sport athlete who decides to become a FBI agent after the death of his friend in an accident a few years prior. While he is going through his training, the FBI are on the hunt for a team of criminals who stoled some diamonds and escaped without getting caught. After viewing footage of the heist and researching some other similar ones that also happened recently, Utah believes that the thieves may actually be extreme sport athletes who are attempting to do the Osaka 8, a list of 8 extreme trails that honour the forces of nature. When Utah figures out where they’ll hit next, the FBI decides recruits him to go undercover and infiltrate the group. Once Utah finds them, he meets their leader Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez) and is taken under his wing.
I should start off by saying that if you are a huge fan of the original 1991 POINT BREAK, it most likely that you will probably not like this film (which isn’t a surprise to many of you). The remake is pretty much what you expect it to be: an slicked-up, polished, mostly bland and soulless big budget action film that lacks both the personality and grit that made the original Kathryn Bigelow film a cult classic (I’m actually surprised that they didn’t title this new one POINT BREAK: EXTREME EDITION, which it technically is). While watching the film you can tell that the filmmakers behind it were trying to capitalise on the success of the FAST & FURIOUS series but unfortunately, they didn’t really get what made those films work as fun action films in the first place (which is kind of funny since the first film THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS was basically pretty much a quote-unquote remake of POINT BREAK already. So why even bother making an actual remake of it any way?). Plus it doesn’t help that the film can actually be rather unintentionally hilarious at times. Anytime the film makes a callback to a famous moment from the original, it just comes across as really cheesy (I’m not lying about this: when one of the characters tells the explanation behind the POINT BREAK title in this version, the audience I saw it with burst out laughing over how silly it was). Also some of the cast members didn’t bring much to their performances either. Ray Winstone (who played “Angelo Pappas”) looked really bored and the character lacked the memorable qualities that Gary Busey’s portrayal of the role so memorable. Unfortunately the worst performance in the film definitely Aussie actress Teresa Palmer as “Samsara”. Her approach to the role was really bizarre and every time her character speaks philosophical mumbo jumbo, it was really cringe worthy.
Now despite all the many problems with the film, I have to shamefully admit that I would be lying if I said that I found it boring. I’m sure that a lot of you out there who have seen it did probably did feel that way when you watched it, but there were some elements that I honestly didn’t mind. Edgar Ramiez was quite charismatic as “Bhodi” and he gives a better performance than the film deserves. I know that some people might find him a bit wooded, but I thought that Aussie actor Luke Bracey was decent for most part as “Johnny Utah” (granted he’s no Keanu Reeves, but he did fine with what he was given). Even though it does stick the original film’s plot quite closey, it does make some changes here and there that do make some parts different from the 1991 original. The main one being having the ‘Osaki 8′ (which is actually real set of actual trails) as a motivation for Bodhi and his gang’s crimes was an a silly but rather interesting inclusion from screenwriter/producer Kurt Wimmer (who also wrote LAW ABIDING CITIZEN, THE RECRUIT, SALT and as we as the remake of TOTAL RECALL), which was a change that actually didn’t mind. Plus using that as the motivation is a good excuse to make the film much bigger in scale and have many of the set pieces set at different beautiful locations across the world. Cinematographer-turned-first-time- director Ericson Core (who funny enough, was the cinematographer on THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS) staging of the film’s major action sequences were really surprisingly well done and actually did thrill me on occasion (although there were two fight scenes that I though we’re poorly done. Mainly ’cause they were shot in bad shaky-cam style). Sure some of set pieces can be a bit over-the-top at times, but I thought they were rather fun (the Avalanche scene was especially very silly). Also the film cinematography (also done by the director) was very stylish and each location was beautifully shot. Plus the you can’t go wrong with another strong score from Junkie XL.
Overall while the remake of POINT BREAK does have its good qualities (mostly on a technical level, particularly with the action), it’s a watchable if still rather average and unnecessary remake. Like I said earlier if you absolutely loved the original film, the new version doesn’t really offer anything that you haven’t seen done better before. However if your one of those people who has never seen the original and has a mild interest in seeing the new one, I’d say that it’s a rental at best. But believe me, it’s not a patch on the original POINT BREAK that’s for sure.
Reeview written by Bede Jermyn