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Point Break Review

"Have you ever had this sinking feeling? "
Academy Award winning director Kathryn Bigelow’s Point Break remains a guilty pleasure for many who watched as Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves journeyed on the beaches in the early 90’s. Bigelow’s edition was fun, cool and did not take itself too seriously. Even with some of the over-the-top writing and acting, it still manages to hold its own within the extreme-sport genre. To reproduce this cinematic magic is like trying to ask lightning to strike in the same place twice. 

point_break_2015_movie-wideOver two decades later, new director and cinematographer, Ericson Core (Invincible), takes his troupe of extremists on this globetrotting adventure to some of the most picturesque places in the world to perform their exploits of snowboarding, wing suit flying, motocross and extreme surfing. The new version of Point Break begins with a tragic event which causes Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey) to turn away from his life of being an extreme poly-athlete to being an FBI agent. He endures seven years of university, law school and law enforcement training and is trying to find his place within the Bureau. The opportunity to utilise his unique skill set in his new profession comes during a briefing about a unique heist that is carried out by some extreme athletes. After studying their patterns, he determines that they are attempting to achieve the Osaki 8, a teaching that includes doing eight extreme ordeals to honor the forces of nature. With this in mind, the young FBI agent tracks down the group and manages to work his way into the inner circle. Through this familiar atmosphere and lifestyle, he comes to the point of needing to determine where his loyalties lie. Does he follow the magnetic leadership of Bodhi (Édgar Ramírez) and his band of merry men or stay true to the world of law enforcement.            

point_break_trailer_still From the opening sequence, this instalment of Point Break feels like a documentary about these extreme athletes. It explores the mental, spiritual and physical experiences of this unique athletic community. Even if the viewer has limited experiences with this Red Bull existence, the lifestyle message of self-justification and self-indulgence shows it’s insatiably unforgiving nature and the lonely existence that most of the participants live. This presence a problem for the filmmaker, because this is not meant to be a documentary, but an action-adventure. 

Ericsson Core tries to provide depth to the storyline and attempts to beef it up by intensifying the severity of the stunts by placing his actors and stuntmen in situations that defy logic and the laws of physics. With a nod towards the original story, the young director travels to these captivating locations and attempts to rely on nature, stunts and pop-theology to drive this tale through to the end. Core tries to provide credibility and depth by including environmental and spiritual components, but these layers weigh down the whole experience, making this action-adventure an unforgivably, lethargic ride. Because of the convoluted message, this edition of Point Break takes itself too seriously. Bracey and Ramirez did not have enough charisma or cheekiness to provide the needed levity to allow this narrative to remain above the waves. Journeyman acting support came from Ray Winstone (Noahand he did provide some humorous moments, but he could not salvage this sinking ship. Unfortunately, great scenery and over-the-top stunts cannot mask a poorly executed story and takes the audience from ultimate extremes to lethargic apathy. point-break-remake-trailerThis rendition of Point Break was not extreme, enjoyable or entertaining, but it did provide a multitude of talking points for extreme conversations afterwards. So, the suggestion would be to pull out a copy of Point Break (1991) and remember that this had solid origins and then enjoy the conversations about the environment, how to connect with God and how far would you might take things to the extreme. 

  • The cinematography
  • Strong stunt sequences
  • The storyline
  • The pacing
  • The writing

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Russell is an American ex-pat who has been transplanted in his new home of Sydney. He is a reviewer for Insights Magazine and the blog Russelling Reviews. He moderates events called Reel Dialogue (reeldialogue.com) which connects the film industry with the general public.

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