Point Break (2015)

(Video on Demand, April 2016) My memories of the original 1991 Point Break are hazy at best, but even approaching this 2015 remake nearly-fresh doesn’t do much to make it better. As a set of extreme sports footage loosely connected by a nonsensical plot, this version of Point Break is either impressive or dull depending on which aspect of the film is discussed. Reflecting its time, the version of the film is about spectacle more than plot: Director Ericson Core has managed to get some amazing footage in shooting the extreme-sports highlights of the film, whether it’s dirt-biking on Utah Mountains, surfing in Tahiti, wing-suiting in the Alps or cliff-climbing in Venezuela. At its most basic level, at least this Point Break has something to offer viewers on a purely visual level, and the fact that most of it feels captured without too many special effects feels like a plus. (The heavily post-processed coda is a bad exception, especially given how it concludes the film.) Unfortunately, there isn’t much in the connecting sequences, which barely warrant a look if you’re fast-forwarding to the next thrilling sequence: By taking the robbers/surfers of the original and making them super-extreme-supercool terrorists/adventurers, Point Break separates itself from reality but, perhaps more importantly, from the focus of the relationship between its two leads. Our supercool characters can seemingly master a dozen different specialties in time for their next death-defying stunts, in-between mounting complicated criminal activities that, frankly, don’t serve much purpose. It doesn’t take a lot to blow gaping holes in whatever this Point Break claims as substance, and regret that the emphasis on spectacle has effectively neutered the strengths of the original. Even the actors seem a bit lost: Edgar Ramirez, normally so effective, doesn’t have much to do here, whereas newcomer Luke Bracey doesn’t do much but being good-looking in the most generic way. For a film with a few dramatic turns, this Point Break doesn’t let emotional turmoil affect its characters longer than five minutes or so. The result may occasionally be spectacular, but there’s little doubt that few will cherish this remake for its handful of action sequences. The lack of an emotional centre will doom this film to a quick exit from pop memory.

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