Monday 24 July 2017

Point Break movie review - Surf's up in this vacuous and pointless remake

Point Break
Point Break

Chris Wasser

‘The only law that matters is gravity.” That’s what it says on the Point Break poster. Honestly, I’m not even sure if it’s a tagline, or director Ericson Core’s modus operandi. It could be both.

1*

The point — if you’ll excuse the pun — is that Core has only gone and made a film that nobody asked for. A curious remake of the 1991 cult actioner in which Keanu Reeves played a rookie FBI agent, tasked with infiltrating a gang of handsome, criminal surfer chaps (led by Patrick Swayze), you have to wonder why it is that the lads behind this new and unimproved Point Break even bothered.

Lest we forget, the original was grand. By comparison, this rickety and hilariously misjudged effort looks like one of those migraine-inducing, adventure-themed promo clips you’d skip on YouTube. Something to do with an energy drink or a ‘fun run’, perhaps.

Cashing in on the resurgence of The Fast and the Furious franchise (which, incidentally, started off as something of a Point Break imitation, replacing surf boards with motor engines), Point Break 2.0 knows exactly what’s it aiming for, with former F and F cinematographer Core tearing up the narrative and clattering the audience over the head with one death-defying stunt after another. And that would be fine, had the guy remembered to hire a few proper actors to front the world’s most expensive — and dim-witted — piece of extreme sports propaganda.

The story goes that Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey) used to ride motorbikes and climb cliffs. Now he’s in the FBI, and for some reason, his boss (Delroy Lindo) has decided to allow the young fella to follow up on a hunch that a series of international heists the Feds are investigating might be connected. In fact, it could be the work of a group of chiselled, European adrenaline junkies whose mission in life is to complete ‘The Osaki 8’; an extreme sports bucket list/Robin Hood-esque quest that grants the ‘winner’ spiritual enlightenment, or something.

Delroy’s ass is on the line, but sure look it, Utah has already got a cool haircut — send him undercover! So, Utah grabs his boards, teams up with another FBI agent (Ray Winstone, barely even trying), forms a bromance with a surfer bloke named Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez, filling Swayze’s shoes), has his way with a hippy chick named Samsara (Teresa Palmer), snowboards down a mountain or two and completely forgets his mission — as does the screenwriter, from the looks of it.

A vacuous and insipid excuse for a thriller that only remembers to check in on the storyline whenever its leading man, Luke Bracey (bearing all the charisma of a marionette), runs out of breath, way too much of Point Break is devoted to the 3D set-pieces. Hmmm, could it be that the director is trying to distract us?

True, some of the stunts are pretty spectacular, but the finished product (humourless and badly-edited) makes Channel 4’s The Jump look like high art. Never mind the gaping plot holes — there’s not a redeemable character in sight (you’d miss the Keanu lad).

As for the dialogue, well, there’s a whole lotta hippy nonsense going on. Take, for example, this wonderful nugget of wisdom from Bodhi: “If a tree falls in the woods and nobody puts it on YouTube, did it really happen?” I believe the word you’re looking for is ‘jaysus’.

Herald

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