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edge staff writer


Pointless Break

December 29, 2015
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Remake lacks soul, substance

Even in a film landscape when sequels and reboots rule the realm, one would think that it would be clear that certain movies simply don't need to be remade. Alas, this is Hollywood, where the prospect of cashing in on fond memories has become a legitimate business model. If people liked it once upon a time, odds are good that someone will remake it.

Which brings us to 'Point Break.'

There's a fair contingent of people who hold a fond place in their hearts for the Kathryn Bigelow-directed, Swayze and peak Keanu-starring 1991 original. Unfortunately, this new version lacks the spirit of that film it's little more than a series of (admittedly impressive) extreme stunts strung together with snippets of unfortunate dialogue and some business about achieving enlightenment through base jumping.

Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey, 'Me Him Her') is an aspiring FBI agent. He's also a former extreme polyathlete (yes really) a guy who's really good at multiple extreme things like motocross and snowboarding and rock climbing and stuff. The powers that be aren't sure that Utah has what it takes to be an agent.

But when a mysterious gang starts committing crimes and escaping via extreme feats, the FBI decides that Johnny Utah might be the one who can find out more about them. So, with an ornery British agent named Pappas (Ray Winstone, 'The Gunman') backing him up, Utah heads to Europe to try and track them down.

When he meets a fellow polyathlete named Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez, 'Joy') and his crew a group devoted to completing a series of extreme athletic feats known as the Ozaki Eight Utah thinks he might be on to something. But the reasons behind their actions intrigue him so much so that it becomes unclear which side he really wants to be on.

Or something. It hardly matters; it's the action sports nonsense that is clearly the sole reason that this movie exists.

'Point Break' has some superficial resemblance to the original film, but this version is essentially written to the stunts. Said stunts are undeniably impressive the surfing and wingsuit sequences are particularly cool but stunts do not a movie make. The narrative is thin and the dialogue is clunky. Seriously, at one point someone actually has a line about 'the point where you break' it's that kind of movie.

As for the cast, well ... they don't measure up well. Bracey is OK as Johnny Utah, though he feels a bit Johnny Bravo to me; he's here because he fits the costume, more or less. Ramirez is a bit better, but he has more than a few moments where he goes for intense and comes off as just a little thick. The rest of the gang is made up of scruffy, tattooed dudes who seem more or less interchangeable. There's a love interest, kind of, though she's pretty much a plot device. I found Ray Winstone to be delightful; his visible lack of crap-giving actually worked better than any other performance.

I'm not going to sit here and tell you that 'Point Break' was a great movie far better ones have already suffered the indignity of being remade but you have to admit it had soul. It was ridiculous and cornball and above all else fun. This new version tries so hard to show you extreme fun that it never feels any fun at all. The world it operates in is less 'reality' and more 'energy drink commercial' the lack of perspective is practically cartoonish. Sure, there's some mumbo jumbo about connecting with the Earth or whatever, but this movie is about little more than woo-hooing yourself off the top of a mountain.

Basically, 'Point Break' 2015 bears markedly little resemblance to 'Point Break' 1991. Other than names and a few insignificant points, it is its own movie and it is the worse for it. This Point Break has been Point Broken.

[1 out of 5]

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