Want a surefire way to fuck up a remake of one of the most entertaining, self-aware, and goofy movies of the nineties? Raise the stakes from point go, coat it in a layer of grit, have it take itself seriously, replace legitimate stunt work with CGI, and cast leads that completely lack any sense of charisma. If Ericson Core was looking to create a big-budget sinkhole, Asylum level piece of garbage he’s onto a winner, if he was shooting for anything else, he’s fallen humorously short. As it stands, this iteration of Point Break effectively serves as a blueprint of exactly how not to reboot an action film – a frustrating reminder of the idiotic excesses and failures of the Hollywood hate machine.
Following exactly the same plot trajectory (and virtually the same scene outline) as Kathryn Bigelow’s original (with the addition of a sequence justifying Johnny Utah’s entry into the FBI), Point Break follows Utah (Luke Bracey) – don’t worry, they make sure you know it’s a nickname because a last name like Utah is just ridiculous – as he infiltrates a gang of elite extreme sportsmen who pull off epic cash and diamond heists in their downtime, redistributing their riches amongst the “poorest communities” of the world. After engaging with suspects Bohdi (Édgar Ramírez), Grommet (Matias Varela), Roach (Clemens Schick), and Chowder (Tobias Santelmann),1 it becomes apparent that the four are following the “Osaki 8” – a set of eight extreme challenges to align the mind, body and soul so that one can reach a state of nirvana – pulling off heists on their way. It’s a dumb plot, but solid enough to craft into an entertaining action flick – in fact the first 20 or so minutes of the film flirt with the idea, hinting that something worthwhile may come out of Core’s mess in a sort of burlesque, “this is garbage” sense – however the self-seriousness of the whole affair, coupled with the atrocious dialogue, terrible soundmix, absolutely cardboard acting, and woeful effects work make this near unwatchable, not to mention the ridiculously fluctuating pacing, rushed third act that feels like its missing scenes, and lacklustre cinematography that fails to even capture the poorly tattooed, muscley eye-candy that is our leads effectively.
I’ve got to be frank: this film has some of the worst composited CGI of anything to come out in the past decade, made all the more offensive by claims from Core that there is “essentially no greenscreen, C.G.I. work at all”. Bullshit. Every single stunt scene is littered with fake looking, poorly rendered, unrealistic garbage (look no further than the cash in the cover image) and most shots of extreme behavior looks completely falsified. If what you’re after is extreme footage of amazing feats on the big screen, you’d do far better to open up YouTube and sit close to your monitor or television. Some of the surfing shots – including the hilariously grey looking, way too over-the-top finale – look almost bad as the cut and paste work in Totally Unicorn’s “Cool Dads With Cool Sons” music video and the pivotal base-jumping sequence is littered with scenery clearly added in post-production. It’s shocking that this film wasn’t dumped on VOD and the comically large budget of $105 million (not including advertising costs) wasn’t written off considering the shape of this film are in – it’s hemorrhaging money anyway. It’d be unfair to suggest there are no heart in your throat moments, however the grand total of nearly 20 seconds of this (far less than you’ll get from this 3 minute video of Russian teens rooftopping) across a 114 minute runtime… trust me, you can do without it.
The concept of a Point Break remake itself is not a bad one, and there are a number of ways in which this film could have been improved. The addition of the Ono Osaki character and his Osaki 8 isn’t in and of itself a bad decision, and adds nice justification to the extreme sports update, however this didn’t need to lead to a raising of the heist stakes from point go. The film would have worked fine with a group of extreme sportspeople, pulling off low level bank heists purely for the rush of it and Osaki’s mind, body and soul mantra doesn’t actually require a fleshless subplot involving the financial liberation of those in poverty to work. If Core had actually done what he had claimed, with the film relying on unsimulated stunts rather than dodgy CGI we’d have a much stronger product. In fact, Core should have been bypassed altogether with directors like Neveldine/Taylor of Crank fame – who Core is clearly attempting to ape – behind the camera instead. Maintaining the tone of the original’s script would have worked wonders here – hell, it’s the glue that holds Bigelow’s original together – as would have casting villains that, like Patrick Swayze, actually have charisma.
As it stands, Core’s Point Break is a dull, misjudged and far from exhilarating trash pile, worthy only of the $5 DVD bin it will find itself in by the start of next year. Throw the original on and give this one a miss, you’ll probably get more excitement out of a wander up to the grocery shop for vegetables than a trip to the cinema to watch this durge pit.