A charmless remake that's packed with extreme-sports action, and somewhat promotes eco-terrorism
When a movie's release is being moved a few times before premiering in Asia first instead of the United States itself, it's usually because the film sucks, even in the eyes of its own producers, and this film is a perfect example. It's a remake that nobody asked for, directed by cinematographer Ericson Core (Invincible) who only did directing once almost 10 years ago, with the script written by Kurt Wimmer who co-written of the horrible Total Recall remake (2012), and it stars unfamiliar actors who simply do not possess the onscreen quality required for such a genre.
The original Point Break released back in 1991 stars young Keanu Reeves as Agent Johnny Utah and the late Patrick Swayze as Bodhi. While it's understandably quite a tall order for Luke Bracey (The November Man, G.I. Joe: Retaliation) and Edgar Ramires (Deliver Us from Hell, Carlos) to outcharm the duo in the same roles respectively, there's no excuse for performances that are worse than Reeves'. And it's not all the cast's fault. The poorly paced the film allows no screen time for the actors to express personality or emotions. Or maybe the acting is so bad that they decided to not include those sequences in the final edit. This is quite evident from the very opening scene where Utah fails to save his brother from falling off a cliff during a motocross challenge and there's not even a slow, sad closeup shot of Bracey's face. The film moves on quickly to the title and story begins a few years after that accident.
Although the general undercover plot remains the same, there are a few things that's significantly altered from the original film as well, and none of it is good. Here, Utah is a former YouTube extreme sport sensation who joins the F.B.I. for no real motivation and the first case he gets just so happens to be related to extreme sports. Utah is sent to a foreign country to infiltrate a group of eco-terrorists who're responsible for several major bank robberies. Like the original, Bodhi is the leader of the pack but instead of trying to live outside of the political system, this remake's crazy gang is after the Ozaki Eight, a fictional set of trials comprising of highly dangerous extreme eco-sports to "be one with, and appreciate the nature" (as opposed to the surfer thingy in the original) that nobody survived attempting, each followed by Robin Hood-like deeds, some of which requires killing.
The character Angelo Papas who was Utah's F.B.I. partner in the original film is reduced to an even smaller role portrayed by Ray Winstone (Noah, The Departed) who serve almost no purpose at all while Utah's original love interest Tyler Endicott is replaced by a complete new character named Samsara played by Teresa Palmer (Kill Me Three Times, Warm Bodies). If there's supposed to be any romance between them before they predictably slept together in an exposition scene, it's rather given and forced than developed with purpose. One of the biggest disappointment is also the lack of heart for the character Bodhi. The most crucial element in the undercover genre is the relationship between characters, but here it all seems superficial.
The film's tone is probably darker than the cheesier original, but cheesy works back then and making it this dull and dry only suck all the fun from it. There's also no thought-provoking political subtext like in the original, instead its theme is more environmental, like a totally poor excuse for extreme-sports and YOLO-lifestyle action. While the action sequences include many cool and fun different extreme sports from high-wave surfing to windsuit flying to steep-hill snowboarding to free climbing that are all well shot with breathtaking wide angle visuals and GoPro first-person views, the logic is so far out that even jumping off an airplane without parachute was more believable. The bad influence is so strong in this one, it feels like the movie is literally shaking hands with terrorism and murder.
Malaysia censorship: Nothing seemed to be cut for the press screening and since it's classified '18' here, I don't think anything would be censored for public screening either.
Second opinion: My girlfriend hasn't seen the original film and yet she finds herself speechless about this film as it didn't make her feel anything for it at all.
Verdict: The 24-year-old original film is still far superior than this pointless remake.
Rating: 1.5 / 5
Based on: 1991 film "Point Break"
Genre: Action thriller
Running Time: 113 minutes
Director: Ericson Core
Screenwriter: Kurt Wimmer
Cast: Luke Bracey, Edgar Ramirez, Ray Winstone, Teresa Palmer
Malaysia Release Date: 3 December 2015
Local Distributor: TGV Pictures
Production: Alcon Entertainment, DMG Entertainment, Taylor/Baldecchi/Wimmer Production, Studio Babelsberg
Follow me: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Google+