Whatever your attachments to the 1991 surfing, bank-robbing, buddy-cop, romance, skydiving, Zen meditation Patrick Swayze-Keanu Reeves classic Point Break—some would call it an ironic cult classic, some (named AP Kryza) would call it a cinematic milestone—one thing you can never call it is dull.
Which is what makes the decision to remake it as a globetrotting, bloated, extremely serious adventure is somewhat baffling. It's as though somebody took the original, stripped it of its charm and character dynamic, then let it soak in a bucket of Mountain Dew, Red Bull and Axe body spray, then plopped it onscreen, dripping and bulging for all to see.
Once again, we have Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey, making Reeves seem like Orson Welles), a young FBI agent with a chip on his shoulder who infiltrates a gang of mysterious, adrenaline-addicted thieves led by the charismatic Bodhi (Edgar "I'm no fucking Patrick Swayze" Ramirez). Utah gets in too deep, drawn like others to Bodhi's mysterious charm. People die. Things blow up. Athletes do extreme things.
But outside the basic outline, Point Break 2015 shares very little with its predecessor. Say what you will about Kathryn Bigelow's original: At least it had characters with motivations who seemed to buy into their bullshit, which made the dynamic action around them sensible and fluid. Here, we've got a bunch of cardboard bros trying to execute eight trials of increasing extremeness in order to…honestly, it's unclear, because Kurt Wimmer's script is littered with shit about eco-warriors and enlightenment, but it's hard to hear any of the exposition over the roars of revving dirt bikes and the throbbing of the characters' veins.
The film seldom takes a break in the action (there is, however, a nice little homesteading brunch sequence…on top of a mountain!), racing between dirt bikes and bank robberies, more dirt bikes, skydiving, wind suits, free-climbing, big-wave surfing, bare-knuckle boxing and pretty much everything in between, all while the characters stare longingly at each other without a bit of humor. It's just…all so serious. Extreme sports have never been so dull.
This is a film in which lines like "Sometimes whaling ships are stronger than ideas" are uttered with the utmost sincerity, where no action can be executed without 15 camera cuts, and where people think absolutely nothing about scaling the side of the world's largest waterfall just because they got bored with the foot chase they were engaged in. It's ridiculous. So was the original. But shit this ridiculous should layer a little fun in with its nonstop thrill-seeking.
Critic's Grade: D+