A remake of the 1991 cult classic of the same name Point Break takes some bullet points from the original but also makes the plot more about extreme sports and eco terrorism.
An international coterie of bank-robbers-slash-athletic-sports-freaks – everything from fight club to BASE jumping off Everest – perform a series of calculated robberies. In the first case they give a haul of diamonds to citizens of a Mumbai slum. Their intentions are revolutionary as they are trying to perform eight daredevil tasks that involve nature, and which they believe will bring harmony back to the planet. They don’t keep the profits of their crimes because they’re financed by a Euro trash slacker who likes to invite them to his wild parties.
The Kathryn Bigelow helmed original centered on a group of bank robbers who also ride the wild surf. In the new Point Break the bad guys snowboard down dizzying mountain peaks and rock climb the ridiculously straight vertical wall of Angel Falls in Venezuela, the world’s highest waterfall. There’s some surfing too.
Bodhi (Édgar Ramírez) and an accomplice skydive from a high altitude jet into the Cave of Swallows, the largest cave shaft in the world located in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. They have just emptied the plane’s cargo, millions in uncirculated bills, over an impoverished village. They only pull their parachutes after they’ve gone below ground level. Great stunt but how were they planning on getting back out?
Director Ericson Core, also the film’s cinematographer and with a background as director of photography on action films, seems the perfect choice since much of the film revolves around capturing the visceral thrill of action stunts.
The new Point Break seems perfectly packaged for non-discriminating audiences programmed by a decade of the intimacy provided by Go-Pro cameras. Just as the original became a cult film because of its unique take on a bromance amidst high caliber actions scenes the current Point Break will achieve a perhaps succinct but no less profound cult status because of its breathtaking stunts. Performed by leading experts in skydiving, wingsuit BASE jumping, vert skating and such the film just beckons X-sports enthusiasts.
If only the editing of the stunts as well as the logic of the script were above the average flotsam that it is. Perhaps if the whole eco terrorism angle had been addressed with the passion of an activist film like The East there would be more gravitas to the proceedings. The action sequences are good if you like Youtube videos of stunts but they lack the refined cinematic thrust that top-notch directors bring to the action genre.
As it is, Point Break wavers towards being a modern reboot of a classic film that seems to want to break free of its structure to become something better and then succumbing to being a pale imitation of the picture it sought to emulate. At one point Utah (Luke Bracey) has to recreate the scene from the first Point Break where he empties his service revolver into the air rather than into Bodhi. The whole sequence comes off without passion. In the ’91 Point Break that moment came off after an incredible chase sequence through several houses. In the contempo PB the moment occurs after some nicely stage albeit pedestrian motorcycle moves. It means very little, is not a gotcha moment, and comes off like a cover song from a second rate band.
Speaking of songs the film’s composer Junkie XL provides some much needed respite in the form of a propulsive score not unlike his tracks for Mad Max: Fury Road. Junkie XL also composes music under his real name Tom Holkenborg, like his score for Black Mass.
— Michael Bergeron