It should be said that the poster for Point Break is indicative of the film’s quality. Said poster is a picture of a wave with the words “Point Break – find your breaking point”, literally explaining the entirely obvious wordplay of its own title. It wouldn’t be unwise to assume that this is not an intelligent film.
Like the original Katherine Bigelow film, it centres around a young FBI agent who suddenly finds himself in deep waters with a group of extreme sports athletes who are also international criminals. The twist in this modern retelling though, is that instead of being surfers with an eye for money, they are a group of polyathletes with a weird eco warrior philosophy behind their crimes.
And while the story may sound familiar, director Ericson core has captured none of the original’s brilliance. Led by Keanu Reeves, the 1991 film was a fantastic blend of ideas for a very specific time. Like a cross between Michael Mann’s Heat and John Milius’ Big Wednesday, it combined action and nature wonderfully. In a post Reaganite era it was also refreshing, looking at a new ideology or way of life for the young people of the west coast. It introduced a new and rather intoxicating Zen philosophy mixed with surfing, shattering it with the element of crime and violence.
In contrast, 2015 Point Break has none of this intrigue. Playing out as a cavalcade of set pieces and people jumping off of things or driving over things, it is a bizarre production that seems akin to a YouTube playlist entitled “stunts”. There is no depth of thought regarding the ideology of these characters and the time in which they live in. In fact, while the film tries to say they are a group of eco warriors, it also tries its utter best to undermine this throughout. Characters jet off on their private planes to numerous exotic locations, have yacht parties, drive fast vehicles and fly in helicopters. Instead of being ecologically aware soldiers in the battle for Earth’s health, they are vain, illogical machismo cardboard cut outs who rely on making bold physical statements that people on the internet will see. While the audience is bombarded with this pseudo philosophical story about them trying to be at one with Earth’s forces and “read the flow”, the impact is actually far blander. These characters are not individuals created with the concept of saying something important about the preservation of the Earth; they are an empty product of the Instagram generation. If not doing stunts or saying vague statements about our role in the universe, they are at parties or doing stuff that sexy young people might do.
As if to add gross insult to serious injury, this bonanza of dull action sequences and sexy young people doing sexy young people things is severely hampered by atrocious writing. The amount of expository dialogue is sublimely misjudged, only taking ten minutes to announce the whole plot of the film. Every line reeks of cliché, predictability and poor characterisation. The chiselled abs of FBI’s Utah (Luke Bracey) and the quasi messiah Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez) mixed with the weak dialogue makes for cardboard people. This leaves the audience utterly devoid of sympathy when Utah does eventually have to do his duty and bring in the criminals – despite his strong bond with them and the ‘radical’ parties they’ve been to together.
A hopeless mixture of Hollywood machoism, boring stunt sequences, poor CGI and weak dialogue, Point Break is a film completely lacking in quality. It is a pointless remake.