Despite similarities in premise and characters, the original Point Break is a very different movie than this 2015 remake, directed by Ericson Core. Kathryn Bigelow’s 1991 rendition of the film is a clever, action-laced crime thriller, whereas this new movie can really only be described as two hours of extreme sports pornography. From a tonal perspective, the original film has a much more comedic undercurrent, allowing a certain level of self-awareness to be present, a gift that this remake doesn’t receive. There are pointed references to the original throughout, but for the most part, this movie feels like a completely separate story tailored to fit the Point Break label.
Both films follow a “Before; During; After” structure, but the remake’s construction is much more convoluted. The story surrounds Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey), an ex-extreme athlete and aspiring FBI agent. When Utah connects a series of corporate charity-heists, he goes undercover to find and take down those responsible. In the process, he finds out that these criminals are attempting to complete the ‘Ozaki 8’, a fictional set of trials that are supposed to ‘connect’ the participants to nature. From here the film struggles to find a balance between the undercover agent storyline and the quest towards nirvana. These conflicting focuses occasionally work in the film’s favor, but for the most part just make the pacing seem out-of-sync.
While the structure leaves something to be desired, Point Break doesn’t waste the opportunity it gives itself to show off some breath-taking imagery. Shooting in locations all over the world, the film covers all of the major extreme sports, making for a few intense and intensely beautiful sequences. Director Ericson Core, known for the photographing The Fast and the Furious (2001), took on double-duty as the cinematographer, and makes sure the movie looks great, if nothing else. The usage of 3-D in the film is actually very well done, due to several instances of sharp contrast between the foreground and background.
The biggest problem with the action sequences is the insistent focus on the individual rather than the collective. Many of the characters constantly preach about the necessity to become ‘one’ with nature, yet the movie ignores this thesis and constantly showcases each individual character. The problem is that the audience loses out on context, and none of the characters are nearly developed enough to seem distinct. By being able to tackle such impressive stunts, the characters seem more like superheroes than people. Because the characters are so powerful and interchangeable, when one of them is in danger it seems completely manipulated by the film’s score and editing.
Point Break is really stupid, but in a bold way. It’s interesting to think about how the action sequences were shot, but that’s about the only thinking that should be done in relation to this movie. Viewed in context to the original, Point Break is best watched by someone who has not seen the original. But that person should probably just watch the original instead. 4/10.