Arts

Nul point: The new Point Break remake like totally sucks, dude

It's the remake nobody was demanding – and, sadly, the 2016 version of Point Break fails to improve or even match Kathryn Bigelow's cult 1991 original in any way. David Roy endured this extreme sports-themed action thriller misfire starring Luke Bracey and Ray Winstone

Wingsuit flying is just one of the many extreme sports featured in the new Point Break

REST easy, Keanu: there's still only one Johnny Utah. The esteemed Mr Reeves will surely be walking with an extra spring in his step this week (barring any injuries occurred during stuntwork on John Wick 2, naturally) as the unexpectedly turgid remake of the 1991 film that launched his action career hits screens with a tepid splash.

Kathryn Bigelow's original was no Oscar-winner – however, at least its surfing-themed cop thriller antics offered solid entertainment for those willing to buy into the idea of Reeves as a gun-toting, board-riding undercover FBI hotshot infiltrating Patrick Swayze's grizzled gang of bank robbing beach bums.

The smartest thing about OG Point Break was that it never left the audience in any doubt that it was in on the joke. We knew it was entirely aware of its own ludicrousness right from the moment Keanu/Johnny Utah intones: "You're sayin' the FBI's gonna pay me to learn to surf?" with eyes a-twinkle – just one of many, many quotable lines from the original.

Typical OGPB (as we'll call it from here on out) dialogue exchange:

[FBI boss] "Do you think that taxpayers would like it, Utah, if they knew that they were paying a federal agent to surf and pick up girls?"

[Utah]: "'Babes'."

[FBI boss]: "I beg your pardon?"

[Utah]: "The correct term is 'babes', sir."

As well as being sharply written, OGPB also made some sort of crazed sense on its own terms: Utah is a straight-shootin' ex-jock thrown into a world of bodacious surf dudes/criminals.

Of course, his wetsuit-clad square peg quickly gets hooked on the adrenaline rush while developing a brotherly bond with Patrick Swayze's zen-like Bohdi. Cue intriguing bromance-based conflict of interests and surf/heist-based action goodness.

The folks behind the new Point Break surely wanted a slice of that sweet magic so bad it was like acid in their mouths.

But not this time: what they've come up with is more like acid in the eyes. In 3D.

Barring a couple of reasonable action sequences and an intriguing twist on the criminality at hand – this time, Bohdi (Edgar Ramirez) and co give away their ill-gotten gains to the poor (cue Keanu-esque "wow") – the new Point Break takes everything that was cool and fun about the original and replaces it with self-conscious seriousness.

This is apparent from the moment Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey, sporting Kurt Cobain hair, gym bunny physique and a major portion of the film's plethora of bad tattoos) announces to his superiors that he's a former 'extreme polyathelete' and no-one in the room immediately laughs, vomits or pulls their gun.

From there, it offers a globe-trotting slog through extreme activities like surfing, snowboarding, skydiving, wingsuit flying and, er, 'vertical freehold mountain climbing' (was it?) plus a load of new-age eco warrior mumbo jumbo cobblers that aptly named director Ericson Core and co actually thought people wouldn't roll their eyes in despair at.

There's no chemistry between any of the central characters – the crucial Utah/Bohdi, Utah/Pappas (a suitably shame-faced Ray Winstone) and Utah/love interest (Teresa Palmer) relationships are woefully uncooked – and we're never invested in Utah's quest.

Nor is there anything approaching the clever audience manipulation that had you sort of wanting Patrick Swayze's charismatic crim to get away with it all.

About the only upside to this execrable exercise in badly recycled ideas and hamfisted screenwriting is that it leaves you jonesing for a mind-cleansing re-watch of the original Point Break.

Just think of it as achieving inner peace through superior firepower, brah.

 

POINT BREAK (15, 113mins) Drama / Thriller.

Luke Bracey, Edgar Ramirez, Ray Winstone, Teresa Palmer, Delroy Lindo. Director: Ericson Core

RATING: ONE STAR

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