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Point Break

Year: 2015
Production Co: Alcon Entertainment
Studio: Warner Bros
Director: Ericson Core
Writer: Kurt Wimmer/Rick King
Cast: Edgar Ramirez, Luke Bracey, Teresa Palmer, Ray Winstone, Delroy Lindo

I knew this movie wasn't well received but I was surprised by just how badly reviewed it was. Yes, there are definitely issues with quality, and maybe it was a bad idea to remake a classic of the action era to begin with, but I couldn't help feeling some measure of goodwill towards this version for trying to elevate the idea and do something different.

That it failed to generate any real spirit or charisma makes me wonder what the original had that makes it so classic – maybe just longevity? Keanu Reeves is certainly no Shakespearian actor (and was even less so then), and it was a cool if pretty B movie action romp. Maybe it was just something unexpected.

By contrast, Aussie Luke Bracey as too-pretty tattooed rebel FBI agent Johnny Utah and Edgar Ramirez as spiritualist criminal Bodhi are pretty hatstand – even compared to Reeves and Patrick Swayze, who were no great shakes back in 1987.

This time, the feds (led by Delroy Lindo in angry Basil Exposition mode) notice that the robbers they're trailing seem to be into all extreme sports rather than just surfing, and former extreme sport enthusiast with a past/novice recruit Utah (Bracey) twigs that they're doing the Ozaki eight, a mythical set of achievements across extreme sports those in the know are determined to chase and conquer (yes, I checked too – it was made up for the movie).

The other difference is that this time, Bodhi and his gang are eco- and social warriors, their robberies intended to redress imbalances in riches and the environment imposed by evil corporations.

Thus ensues the story we know, of Utah going undercover as an extreme sports nut in order to ingratiate himself into the gang led by Bodhi and take him down. But instead of big wave surfing, we're also treated to mountain motocross, a flight suit flight, rock climbing and snowboarding.

The action scenes – staged, designed and executed between director Ericson Core and a host of real life ambassadors for each sport (like Laird Hamilton and wingsuiter Jhonathan Florez, who died later while training) – are the best thing about the film, but a big enough screen will give you the same thrills watching a few YouTube videos much quicker.

That leaves secondary concerns like story, character and plot to fill in the gaps, and that's where it falls down. It's all done earnestly, but there are a few too many clichés it can't help but fall back on, and everything else is done with so little humour or enjoyment it's kind of a trial going along with the characters.

Maybe the execution of this version makes the aspects that did work about the first one clearer. Just like Star Wars and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice were both essential sci-fi action films, the former (like the original Point Break) was done with tongue slightly in cheek, a slightly camp charm and a sense of humour even while taking itself seriously. This version just seems dour and emotionally colourless.

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