Reviewed by GREG KING
Director: Ericson Core
Stars: Luke Bracey, Edgar Ramirez, Ray Winstone, Teresa Palmer, Delroy Lindo, Matias Varela, Clemens Schick, Tobias Santelmann, Max Thierot, James Le Gros.
This is a fairly pointless and unnecessary remake of Kathryn Bigelow’s hyper macho, testosterone fuelled 1991 cult action drama about a naive young FBI agent who infiltrated a gang of bank robbers who were using the proceeds of their crimes to fund their extreme sports lifestyle. That film was held together by the bromance that slowly developed between Keanu Reeve’s FBI agent and Patrick Swayze’s charismatic bank robber, which brought some added tension to the proceedings and also brought about a moral conflict for its hero.
In this rather viscerally exciting but bland remake there is no such chemistry or rapport between the two leads, and Point Break 2016 suffers because of this. Unfortunately, this means that we don’t really identify with the characters, and the stakes this time around are not as high.
The villains here are a group of adrenaline junkies and ecological terrorists who are set on completing something called the Osaki Eight, a fictitious mystical epic spiritual journey that involves a series of death defying boundary pushing stunts that its creator even died while trying to complete. They are funding their quest by carrying out a series of spectacular heists from corporations that they regard as raping the earth and its resources and giving the money back to the poor.
Johnny Utah (played by Heath Ledger lookalike Australian actor Luke Bracey, from Home And Away, The Best Of Me, etc) is a cocky former extreme sports junkie turned rookie FBI agent. He is the first one to spot the link between the series of daring bank robberies and the ecological motivation from these Robin Hood like thieves. He is sent undercover to try and learn more about the criminals and their motivation. He finds himself drawn into this gang of extreme sports junkies and their quest by their enigmatic, rhetoric spouting leader Bodhi (played by Edgar Ramirez, currently also seen in Joy).
Point Break was co-written by Kurt Wimmer, who has previously written bland remakes of Total Recall and The Thomas Crown Affair, and his plotting here is rather muddled with some rather dull and one-dimensional characters and unintentionally cliche laden dialogue that elicited guffaws of laughter from the preview audience.
The director is Ericson Core, a former cinematographer who has worked on films such as The Fast And The Furious, etc, which in itself was a thinly disguised remake of Point Break. This is his second feature film as a director, following 2006’s sports drama Invincible, starring Mark Wahlberg. All Core seems to offer this time around is a heightened adrenaline rush – there are some incredible stunts here, including surfing a massive wave, snowboarding, skydiving, base jumping and motocross, but it all seems more like a series of exciting and impressive sequences in search of a coherent plot. At times it’s almost like watching a series of Warren Miller extreme sports videos. But Core’s uninspired cinematography and washed out palette renders them rather lacklustre, and removes any real sense of tension.
Bracey delivers a rather bland and unconvincing performance as Utah here, while Ramirez struggles to inject much life into the thinly drawn character of Bodhi. The support cast includes Ray Winstone, whose normally gruff and strong presence is wasted as Pappas, Utah’s fellow FBI agent, played with more gusto by Gary Busey in the original; Delroy Lindo as Utah’s gruff and at first incredulous FBI boss; Teresa Palmer in a thankless role as Samsara, the doomed love interest; and even a small cameo from James Le Gros, who played one of the bank robbers in the original film, now cast as the FBI director here.
Give this one a miss and track down the original instead!