Just under the wire, I’ve got another nominee for my Ten Worst List of 2015. I’ve never seen Kathryn Bigelow’s original Point Break (1991), though I have a friend who swears by its enjoyability. Regardless, I see no reason it should’ve been remade (as if that’s ever stopped anyone), and I’ve got no idea what it did to deserve a movie this bad in its stead. The closest comparison to this movie is Rob Cohen’s xXx (2002), which played like some stunt show you’d find at Disney World. Point Break is much in the same mold: lots of things happen, but damned if I can remember what. Though, in its favor, xXx had enough sense to be stupid. Point Break is serious business, as illustrated by the film’s flat, greenish-gray color palette and stone-faced cast of emotionless bros. Things happen, sure, but what reason is there to care? The characters, the plot and the action itself exist within their own vacuum. Things happen onscreen in some discriminate order, and that’s about it. Meaning, Point Break is a movie by definition only.
Instead of Keanu Reeves as the film’s hero, Johnny Utah, we get Luke Bracey. Apparently, this is the fifth movie I’ve reviewed that features Bracey, and I can’t remember seeing him in any of them. He’s the smirky type of heartthrob with no personality. If you remember the Puttermans — the family of plastic-skinned robots from those old Duracell commercials — he could be one of them. Anyway, Utah is a former “extreme poly-athlete” who quit all this snowboarding and dirt bike stuff after the death of a friend and joined the FBI. Luckily for Utah, there’s a need for his very specialized skills, since some other “extreme poly-athletes” are running amok and attempting to complete a confusing, convoluted and contrived series of challenges put forth by a dead eco-activist.
Utah sets off to infiltrate the gang, which is headed by Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez, Joy), whose greatest challenge to Utah is who can have less personality. Bodhi probably wins. He’s wholly humorless and talks in vaguely philosophical terms about finding yourself and living life. Even for an anarchist and anti-capitalist, there nothing interesting about him, and the theoretically moral ambiguity of his crimes is never truly explored with any depth. He’s mostly there because Patrick Swayze played a guy named Bodhi in the original, so I guess there should be a Bodhi in this one too.
Not that it matters. His whole purpose is to push the film into its various setpieces, which go on far too long and mostly consist of people going down some steep embankment or falling from something. The whole bank robbery dynamic of the original film is mostly overlooked, so the action literally serves no purpose. The idea, I think, is for these moments to really build on the characters. But everything’s so drawn out, the acting so flat and the characters so inessential that it just makes a long movie longer. Would it affect anyone on this planet if this movie didn’t exist? I doubt it. Rated PG-13 for violence, thematic material involving perilous activity, some sexuality, language and drug material.