Hollow rehash of Kathryn Bigelow’s seminal actioner, with Luke Bracey and Edgar Ramirez
Kathryn Bigelow’s original 1991 action film, which saw FBI agent Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) infiltrating a gang of bank-robbing surfers led by Bodhi (Patrick Swayze), was a silly thrill-ride, loved by indulgent audiences and becoming a prototype for the Fast and Furious franchise. A remake was inevitable, and director Ericson Core deserves some credit for updating the set-pieces to suit the BASE jumping extreme sports world of today. Unfortunately, that’s where the re-thinking ends, for the new Point Break is a shrivelled imitation of its muscle-bound predecessor in every other way.
The new Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey) is an adrenaline junkie, broken up about the death of a pal in a pointless dirt-bike accident. Utah joins the FBI and is immediately hot on the trail of Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez), who is masterminding a series of Robin Hood-style stunts – like depositing a cargo of dollar bills onto Mexican villagers, or dropping diamonds onto the starving of Mumbai. Utah attempts to impress Bodhi with his surfing prowess and, although Bodhi recognises the danger, he allows Utah to join his gang, as they attempt even more ridiculous feats.
Despite his admirable commitment to delivering action, and serving as his own cinematographer to shoot the stunts in 3D, Core never gets to grips with what made the original work, with bland leads and phoned-in support from Ray Winstone and Delroy Lindo. By setting the action on an international scale, the new Point Break loses the flavour of the California setting, replacing it with nondescript globetrotting, and even the gimmick of the gang using masks of political leaders goes for nothing here. Shorn of political subtexts and vacuous in terms of its characterisation, Core’s Point Break is in free-fall from start to finish, leaving the stunts looking like nothing more than pumped-up adverts for energy drinks.
General release from Fri 5 Feb.