Movie Review: “Point Break”

All those silly film critics, whipping out their Top Ten Lists without first catching “Point Break.” How COULD they?

Call it a hunch.

But after a year of blockbuster rehashes masquerading as “sequels”,  here at last is a remake that dares call itself that. The stunts are in 3D and are more especially when you’re in that flying suit, zipping through the Alps or looking down from the top of Venezuela’s Angel Falls.

It’s the New Age/Nirvana-seeking script that lets it down. And as moving as the action beats are, the actors aren’t. The stunt team races through the frame. The actors stand stock still and recite.

Luke Bracey is the new Keanu in this one. Johnny Utah is a motocross “poly-athlete” who loses a buddy in a reckless moment, and does what it takes to join the FBI to atone for it.

Some extreme athletes are pulling off daring heists — stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, riding dirt bikes and popping parachutes. And Utah’s boss (the under-used Delroy Lindo) doesn’t like it. Our new “provisional” agent has an idea. These crooks are following the path of an extreme sports/eco warrior guru who preached that one should pursue stunts that tell the “Life of Wind” or “Birth of Story” or “Act of Ultimate Trust.” There are eight stations of the cross in this ethos. Utah knows them.

Utah discovers his quarry at an epic, once-in-a-decade wave off Biarritz, France. Their leader is Bodhi, a thrill seeking spirit warrior who leads a team to the ultimate snowboarding/surfing/rock climbing/flying suit experiences.

Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez of “Joy”) believes in saving the planet. “We have to give more than we take.” So stealing from robber barons or closing an open pit mine or lumber operation is what he’s all about.

Utah intrigues him.

“Are you ready to let go?”

Deep cover, in this case, means risking his neck every day doing things no sane or under-trained person should try.

point2

Director/cinematographer Ericson Core does a great job capturing the big stunts — especially the climbing and flying ones. The surfing occasionally lets on that we aren’t seeing the real deal, or that love interest flower child Teresa Palmer might be able to surf — but not an 80 foot wave.

The casting does the film few favors. Ramirez is charismatic, but has none of Patrick Swayze’s mad twinkle. It’s a humorless film that makes you go “Wow” more than it involves you.

Kathryn Bigelow staged the greatest foot chase in film history in the original “Point Break.” There’s nothing to match that here. Bracey (“G.I. Joe: Retaliation”) is a buff, blonde stiff covered in tattoos. Palmer grins in every shot as if to remind us she isn’t her look-alike, she-wh0-never-smiles, Kristen Stewart.

It’s not a movie to think about. The Arabic millionaire  financing these stunts (not captured for Youtube), the promising but vanishing Robin Hood motif, the wacko way Utah keeps outguessing his quarry — none of it stands up to scrutiny. The enviro-agitprop is laughable.

“Nature will always find a way to make you feel small.”

But the 3D stunts are eye-popping, even if the new version’s cast and cut-and-paste script are not.

1half-star
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, thematic material involving perilous activity, some sexuality, language and drug material

Cast: Edgar Ramirez, Luke Bracey, Ray Winstone, Teresa Palmer, Delroy Lindo
Credits: Directed by Ericson Core script by Kurt Wimmer. A Warner Brothers release.

Running time: 1:53

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