When I heard that early 90’s movie Point Break was being remade I was confused. I thought the movie had been remade already coughTHEFASTANBDTHEFURIOUScough. Whenever I hear that some assholes are trying to remake a movie that I loved since I was a kid I worry. When I read that the guy (Kurt Wimmer) who wrote the script for the Total Recall remake was going to remake the script for Point Break I REALLY worried?
Did the people who hire this guy SEE the Total Recall remake? That movie is a textbook example of everything THAT IS WRONG with most contemporary Hollywood remakes. They took the name of one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s most entertaining movies and replaced it with a watered down sort of watchable (once) sci fi movie with a few wink wink references to the original film.
When I saw the trailer for the new Point Break movie all it did was reinforce the reservations I had about it. After watching the trailer and reading all the bad reviews the movie got I was pretty certain I was going to hate it. I felt confident that I didn’t need to watch it to know that it sucked. But I was lying to myself. I DID need to watch it to see if the movie was as bad as I imagine it would be. Which is exactly what I did as soon as I saw a copy of it at the public library.
Wimmer did an arguably better job with Point Break than with Total Recall. At least Mr. Wimmer managed to mostly stick to the basic premise of Point Break unlike whatever that new Total Recall movie was. Unfortunately, the filmmakers still made the rookie mistake with Point Break 2015 that so many remakes make: assuming that by doing everything on a bigger scale, fancier stunts, bigger explosions and so forth that you will automatically have a better movie.
Everything on the new Point Break movie has to be taken to THE EXTREME!!!!! Being President masks wearing bank robbing surfers isn’t ‘extreme’ enough to cut it in the new Point Break. Apart from mandatory WINK WINK homage scene that is. The Surfing Ex Presidents are replaced with a group of EXTREME POLY ATHLETES on some ridiculous worldwide (because having a surfing/action movie take place mostly in southern California is sooo 1991 Dude!) quest for enlightenment called the Ozaki 8. A quest that happens to include acts of robbery and eco terrorism. Never mind, that the Ex Presidents in the original were ALREADY sort of ‘poly amorous athletes’ themselves. That term poly athlete wasn’t really used back then (the original Point Break came out some five years before the first X Games) but those guys were also into sky diving and football and any sort of thrill seeking physical activity outside of surfing and robbing banks. Instead of robbing banks to support their unusual lifestyle the poly guys in the new Point Break (unfortunately they lack a cool group name like the Ex Presidents) live off some rich asshole ‘sponsor’ for reasons that the movie fails to elaborate on. The new Point Break, also (out of obligation) includes a surfing scene but instead of the beach (since that’s sooo 20th century) they decide to surf IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FUCKING OCEAN for no reason other than to one up the original. . The scene looked about as dumb as it reads on paper.
On the original Point Break, Johnny Utah (played by Keanu Reeves) was an all American ex college Football player fresh from the FBI academy and thrown into his first assignment. The new Johnny Utah is a world famous Poly Athlete who after a tragic accident decides to ditch the Extreme Athlete life to join the FBI. Another big distinction is that the new Utah is an FBI agent CANDIDATE.He doesn’t become an actual agent until near THE END of the movie. Yet for some reason, the FBI is A-o.k. with sending some kid who is kind of sort of but not really an FBI agent on some worldwide mission because he came up with a theory linking the (nu X Presidents) with the Ozaki 8? These people are asking a lot when it comes to suspension of disbelief.
Making the new Utah some kind of polyamorous extreme athlete from the get go ruins the vibe of the new Point Break. A big part of what was cool about the original was that Utah was a complete stranger to this world. So as Utah discovered this world of surfing, bank robbing and skydiving so did the audience. For the new Utah stepping into familiar territory as if it’s no big deal makes it a little harder for the audience to be engaged.
On the original Utah’s handler/partner Angelo Papas was played by Gary Busey (in one of his most memorable roles) who came up with the theory of the EX Presidents being surfers. Which led to Busey’s character Papas and Utah bonding as they engaged in the investigation while dealing with ridicule and red tape from the FBI. The partnership between Pappas and Utah was one of the things that drove the movie. But by having Utah come up with the theory of the Ozaki 8 instead of Papas it rendered the new Papas, played by Ray Winstone useless. Winstone is a great actor but he’s not given much to do in this movie other than look angry and collect his paycheck.
Another character that is wasted in the remake is the female love interest. On the original Point Break the female love interest Tyler (played by Lorry Petty) teaches Utah how to Surf and introduces him to Dirty Surfing Patrick Swayze. But since the new Utah was already a part of this world and it was Bohdi not Tyler who rescued Utah from being wiped out during the wink wink surfing homage scene, the new female love interest (who goes by the name Samsara) is just kind of there on the few scenes she has. It’s a shame since Tyler did play such an important part on the original.
Did I mention that the new Utah is REALLY SHITTY at his job? Apart from being able to sort of profile the villains in the movie he doesn’t do much in the way of actual ‘investigating.’ He stumbles into Bohdi and his crew practically by accident. The original Point Break Utah juggling between working the case and hanging out with his newfound buddies. There is even the classic scene in which Utah targets the wrong surfing criminal gang. The new Utah on the other hand forgets about his day gig and runs away with the circus for half the movie.
The new Point Break also makes the same fatal mistake the Robocop remake made: it tries sooooo hard to be taken seriously that it comes off corny. Forgetting that this type of movie IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN. The new Point Break is 8 minutes shorter than the original yet it feels like the longer film. Sure the new Point Break looks good and the action scenes and stunts are well executed. Except for using CGI on some stunts. That shit was lame. I’ll even admit that flying suit scene looked pretty cool but the movie still fucking drags. It spends too much time stressing over weak dialogue and tedious dramatic shit with not enough ACTION to compensate for the boring parts.
Not only is the new Utah kind of dumb ass but the Nu X Presidents come off as pretentious assholes with hipster beards and tattoos. They might do their share of thrill seeking shit but all the flight suits and fancy snow cabin parties in the world can’t hide the fact that these guys aren’t much fun to be around. The guy that plays Bodhi is a decent enough actor but isn’t given much of a story arch. On the original Point Break Patrick Swayze goes from friendly surfer dude to raging sociopath/potential cult leader in the span of two hours. The new Bodhi goes from being a quiet moody asshole to…a quiet moody asshole by the end of the film. You also never see Utah bond with Bodhi truly bond the way they do in the original. So when the big scenes where Utah shoots the air instead of Bohdi it comes off more as a WINK WINK homage than a memorable scene. Shiiit Hot Fuzz did a better job recreating that particular scene.
I might joke about it all the time bu it doesn’t change the fact that the first fast and the furious film was a better Point Break remake than the ‘official’ remake. Unlike the current remake fast and The Furious managed to capture a similar as the 91 Point Break. It was also able to slightly compensate for its lack of originality, wooden acting and weak dialogue by being ‘fun.’ One big difference is that Vin Diesel plays his sort of villain/adversary character more like a protective older brother than a surfer dude guru. He also doesn’t get killed off/lose his shit like Swayze’s Bodhi did at the end of Point Break. Which left the door open for an entire franchise that has little concern fort physics or gravity.
The new Point Break has more in common with a different Vin Diesel film. XXX to be exact. The one in which Vin Diesel plays an Extreme sports athlete/tv host who is ‘persuaded’ by ‘The Man’ to be a Super Spy. Secret Agent Diesel infiltrates a hip mercenary group who look like the Eurotrash offspring of the Spectre agents from the Sean Connery Bond movies. Except that they would rather hang out at loud clubs than fancy casinos. So the man needs somebody like Vin Diesel who can infiltrate into this sort of world. Like the new point break XXX tries to mixes Extreme sports stunts with conventional action sequences and a tendency for negro please moments. XXX was better though. It had Samuel L Jackson as M. People like to make fun of Diesel’s ‘acting’ but the guy does have a certain bonehead charisma that seems to work for what he does. That’s more than can be said about that one lead guy on the new Point Break movie