Remakes in the modern era have had varying degrees of success. Some, like Star Trek, seek to push away from its roots and move closer into the mainstream. Others, like The Dark Knight, seek to change our perception of the franchise itself and adopt a completely different tone from what came before. Point Break is the latter, seeking to make a more realistic, serious film than the fun and frivolous 1991 film.
Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey) is a motorcross rider who's retired from the game and, inexplicably, joined the FBI after an unintentionally hilarious accident. Just two weeks into his time in the FBI, Utah manages to crack a case involving stolen diamonds that's pulled off in an extraordinary fashion. Through a bizarre set of coincidences, Utah believes that a string of highly-organised and daring heists are linked to a little-known extreme 'polyathlete' and his ecological philosophy. Arriving in Biarritz with English-sounding FBI Agent Johnny Pappas (Ray Winstone), Utah begins to go deep undercover and ingratiate himself with the leader of the group, Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez).
That's basically it in terms of plot. Screenwriter Kurt Wimmer took the general outline of Kathryn Bigelow's film and loaded in the parlance of extreme sports, including nods to drink sponsorships, YouTube and GoPros along the way to make it seem relevant. The exact motivations for Bodhi and his group are now more closer to First World guilt than the original's Live Fast, Die Young mantra. In a way, the original's motivations made way more sense than this. You had Patrick Swayze playing a surfer who wanted to surf and how did he fund that? By robbing banks and using the proceeds to surf as much as he wanted. Here, the bland dialogue talks about bringing balance back to the Earth and living on / off the grid.What makes it even more bizarre is that the film is stringed together by extremely opulent parties - one on a super-yacht off the French coast and the other's in a mountain mansion with Steve Aoki DJing. Really. So that's giving back. In the midst of all this, Utah manages to spark up a relationship with Samsara (Teresa Palmer), who's been pulled from Rich Girls of Instagram and given terrible dialogue to make her seem genuine.
Like Keanu Reeves, Luke Bracey's character is all surface. There really is nothing go on behind the eyes whist we're supposed to believe that Edgar Ramirez's Bodhi is an ecological extremist who wants to change the world. Yet, he seems to have no trouble whatsoever with taking money from an Arab tycoon to fund his exploits. The story, essentially, doesn't make a lick of sense. Where the film shines is in its action sequences and, for the most part, they work. A fly-suit sequence is particularly well-staged and features onboard footage from one of the fliers. Another sees a chase up the side of mountain with freeclimbing. They're expertly staged and you can see that Ericson Core has a background in cinematography, having worked on Mel Gibson's pitch-black Payback and the first Fast & Furious film.
Sadly, these action setpieces aren't enough to sustain what's basically an unexciting mess of a film. The acting and screenplay are all completely sub-standard, the story just doesn't make sense and you can't help but compare it to the original as you're watching. Where the original acknowledged its ridiculousness, but still kept you entertained, this is so brazenly trying to be the serious counterpart. Instead, it just comes off as ridiculous.