‘Point Break’ is the 2015 remake of the 90’s movie of the same title, this time directed by Ericson Core, and sadly, falls very, very short of the greatness of the original.
The movie follows the story of Extreme Sports athlete Johnny Utah (played by Luke Bracey), a man who tragically lost his friend and fellow biker in wretched circumstances, a death that he was responsible for.
A recurring point I’m going to be making in this review is how obvious and predictable almost everything was; such predictability was evident right from the opening scene. There was not a speck of doubt in my mind that Utah would survive and his cautious, responsible and sane friend would be the one leaving this earth, resulting in a troubled character, searching for something larger and more meaningul than himself as a means to honour his dead friend; this happened, and he found a sense of solace in the FBI.
Once in the FBI, Utah unravels the connection between three separate criminal attacks that occurred around the world, claiming that they were the first three steps in the completion of the ‘Ozaki 8’. Gaining an unofficial clearance to go after the men responsible for these incidents, Utah manages to infiltrate their inner-sanctum and join their quest on accomplishing this phenomenon.
To save you from going to see this disaster, what you just read was the whole plot of the movie.
This movie struggled on so many levels. I was sitting there, rather bored, and as I was watching, I thought: is boring the appropriate word to describe this movie? Honestly, no. It was dull, dry, bland, monotonous and even tedious at times.
I just couldn’t connect myself to the story and it was a struggle to force myself to be interested. I mean, when the story is based on completing 8 stunts in order to achieve Nirvana, how could I be invested in it rather than sit there and laugh? Instead of a quest for Extreme Sports and experiencing surges and tremors of energy and embracing one’s inner passion for nature and the outdoors, it is a spiritual expedition…while I was watching, and even once it had finished, I was calmly and passively asking “why?” – passively because I didn’t even care.
One of the biggest flaws of this movie had to do with Utah’s involvement with the FBI.
There were rather swift changes that just ruined the pacing of the movie, beginning with Instructor Hall’s (played by Delroy Lindo) reluctance to even admit Utah to the FBI, to him quickly giving him permission to go halfway across the world to discover the truth of the attacks, and then, for a solid amount of time, any ties and involvement with the FBI vanishes. Of course, until a conveniently timed return of the FBI which leads them to the final act of the movie; yet another predictable instance.
The terrible characters made me question whether they were due to poor acting or poor casting, and I think the answer is both. None of the actors in this film showed that they have any talent; there was no sense of care or compassion for them, they were just pawns in a large game of stunts and an attempt at achieving epic visuals.
Johnny Utah was acted by Luke Bracey.
Bracey’s main work in the past has been in an Australian Television Series, ‘Home and Away’, a local Drama that is widely known as a calamity; a word suitable for Bracey’s performance. He showed no emotion, had annoying tattoos, occasionally struggled with his dialogue and was at the tip of the iceberg of why I didn’t like this movie. Previously a professional Motorcross Racer, once joining the squad in order to conquer the ‘Ozaki 8’, he automatically becomes an expert at almost everything he tries; surfing, jumping off cliffs, snowboarding, climbing enormous walls without a harness and even gliding through the air.
One of the great joys of watching the original Johnny Utah is seeing him learn how to do these stunts, sometimes struggling but eventually mastering. Here, Utah is somehow acquainted with surfing the largest wave going around, a wave so large and rare it occurs once every ten or so years. It just doesn’t add up. I’m not the biggest thrill-seeker, and the Utah character in this movie was my direct antithesis. He never had any fears or concerns for his safety, creating a false sense of reality, warping him into a fantasy, superhero-like character, as no matter what nature threw at him, he always survived, almost unscathed.
Next, is his love interest, Samsara (played by Teresa Palmer).
She irritated me to no end. As pedantic as this may be, I believe it is important, as it highlights how little effort the team behind the film went to train her; she is Australian, but her character kept speaking in a combination of American and Australian accents, sometimes even changing during sentences. She emerged at the most fitting times, offering comfort to the team after their stunts and missions, but we are never really given a proper explanation as to why she was there…only when it was suitable, of course. Working out and predicting her death was so easy, I called it about five minutes before it even happened.
Her first scene baffled me. It was straight after Utah had surfed that gigantic wave, a wave that swallowed him, and after around 10 seconds was drowning, falling, and needing to be rescued. However, that same night, immediately after an almost murderous experience, he leapt into the ocean, swimming to the very bottom with Samsara merely to place down a rock. If someone can explain how he couldn’t survive a measly ten seconds under water a matter of hours ago, but now he can magically swim for over a minute and being fine, it would be greatly appreciated.
Ray Winstone is a good actor.
He has had roles in a number of successful films, such as Scorsese’s ‘The Departed’, but in 2015’s ‘Point Break’ he just doesn’t bring his A-game. His character has no substance, and for the majority of his performance, he could very easily be part of an advertisement for the newest Volkswagen car.
Aside from all of this criticism, ‘Point Break’ flourished in its action scenes.
Beautiful landscapes, vivid and lively colours, awesome stunts. They managed to keep the movie together with these scenes. I must admit that during most of these stunts, my heart was pounding as I knew that with one little mistake, death was certain. I was nervous for the well-being of these characters, not because the movie managed to make me attached to them, but because I was fearful of the nature they faced. However, if those sort of stunts are what you love seeing, I’d recommend watching the awesome videos already available on YouTube, saving you almost two hours and the ticket fee.
Overall, ‘Point Break’ was far from being a masterpiece, struggling in many areas and only thriving in one.
The characters were boring (except for Steve Aoki – he was awesome) and the plot was sub-par. If you love riveting stunts and death-defying action, you will most likely enjoy portions of the film. Otherwise, if you are like me, you will probably leave feeling a bit dissatisfied. As a standalone film this was bad, let alone as a remake. This teaches us that bigger does not always equal better. Director Ericson Core found my own breaking point.
My Rating: 5/10
“Ugly is what we do.”