Film Review: Point Break (USA, 2015)

There are plenty of people who’ve seen the original 1991 Point Break film starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. If you’re one of them, and you’re curious about the remake starring Édgar Ramírez as Bodhi and Luke Bracey as Johnny Utah, you might want to leave your expectations at the door and view this film through fresh eyes. This ain’t like the original.

Directed by Ericson Core (The Fast and the Furious, Payback) and written by Kurt Wimmer (Salt, Total Recall), this remake should pack an impressive amount of action onto the big screen, and should be a worthy remake of an entertaining cult classic.

It’s no way as good as the original, but not for lack of trying. What this film misses in a cohesive storyline or star power charisma, it makes up for in gasp-worthy stunts and pretty cool landscape shots. In fact, the whole film looks amazing, but falls a little short of truly entertaining.

Johnny Utah, an ex-motocross and extreme sports athlete, becomes an FBI. His first mission is to bring down a group of fellow extreme sports athletes who are hell-bent on completing the Osaki 8, a series of crazy-ass stunts that can only be done around the world, worse lucky, that will bring them closer to some sort of enlightenment. Johnny goes undercover to become one of them, but as he gets closer to the leader of the pack, an enigmatic man named Bodhi, he realises that the path to enlightenment is paved with some pretty serious criminal offences.

Sounds intriguing, yes?

It kind of is, really. The Osaki 8 sounds like a pretty cool premise for any thrill-seeking eco-warrior to base their life’s purpose on. Home grown talent Bracey (Home & Away, G.I Joe: Retaliation) interestingly looks like a next-gen Heath Ledger and Ramírez (Joy, Deliver Us from Evil) is hard to ignore in a dark and brooding kind of way. The film is set across some pretty stunning locations and, if anything, this film will make you want to GET OUT MORE, go travel, see the world, appreciate it in all its beauty, which is exactly what 2015 Bodhi would have wanted you to do.

The film looks great; It really, really does. But beauty is only skin deep in this case, and there’s not a whole lot to go off once you get past the surface (and you get past it pretty quickly).

There’s not a whole of connection between the characters, unlike the original film. Bodhi and Johnny are not the spiritual brothers Ericson Core would have you believe. You are itching for the gang to have a real defining bond, to be a little fleshed out, but it’s not really there. There’s a charm missing from the characters, even Utah’s partner, Pappas (Ray Winstone) kind of mumbles and grumbles his way through his lines.

Fellow Aussie Teresa Palmer plays Samsara, Johnny’s love interest, but that’s about it. She spouts some lines about peace and love and doves and rainbows and shit, and Core and Wimmer could’ve amped up her free spirit character a little more (she looks perfect for the role, all bedhead and tanned skin) but … they failed to.

The same could be said for Ramírez’s Bohdi; He looks like a world traveller, his accent denotes a European heritage at least, and his portrayal of Bodhi could have been one of intrigue, but again, we are left with nothing to hold on to about this man. His love of the Osaki 8’s core values are admirable, but we’re not really sure why it’s so important to him. Wait, not that we’re not sure, we’re not really asked to care.

Bracey’s portrayal of Johnny Utah doesn’t fare any better. Again, he looks the part, but his portrayal lacks any of the charisma the original Johnny Utah did in the 1991 version of this film.

The backdrops and stunts, however, are nothing to be sniffed at. Filmed in locations such as Switzerland, India, Venezuela and Mexico, the camera made use of the beauty of these areas, with the action sequences using pro snowboarders, big wave surfers and the like to their advantage. There is a truly magnificent scene involving wingsuits and a fantastic free-fall for about 5 minutes that looks unbelievable on the big screen.

Overall Point Break, shot by shot and scene by scene, promised a whole lot more than it delivered. Fans of the original film will be disappointed by this remake, but what’s worse is that those watching this who have never seen the original may also be a tad disappointed.

Review Score: TWO STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Duration: 114 mins

Point Break is screening in Australian cinemas now

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