It takes a very special director to make scenes of sky-diving, free climbing, big-wave surfing and BASE jumping something to yawn at. Yet Ericson Core must be that kind of miracle worker, because “Point Break,” his update of the 1991 cult classic, is basically a cavalcade of extreme sports, but with less drama than a highlight reel.
Written by Kurt Wimmer, the remake has the same basic architecture of the original. There’s still an FBI agent named Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey, taking over for Keanu Reeves), who goes undercover to investigate a string of crimes. And Johnny still gets starry-eyed after meeting a brawny, mystical anarchist named Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez, standing in for Patrick Swayze).
Yet this is a completely different movie, because Wimmer and Core seem to believe that what people loved about the first “Point Break” wasn’t the cheesy dialogue or the bromance-induced moral conundrum, but all of the adrenaline.
A rush, it turns out, only goes so far. A little more character development, for example, wouldn’t hurt.
In the updated version, Johnny used to be an extreme poly-athlete, specializing in dirt biking and winter sports. But an accident years ago shifted his priorities, and he wound up in the FBI. Still, his tattoos are evidence that he can only put his past so far behind him.
In his new career, Johnny has been monitoring a group of Robin Hood-esque criminals who carry out over-the-top heists, such as robbing a bank on the top floor of a skyscraper, then breaking through the windows on motorcycles and parachuting to safety.
Johnny has it all figured out. These criminals are less interested in the money than in completing the “Ozaki Eight,” a series of death-defying trials that honor the forces of nature. It’s up to Johnny to infiltrate the group and try to stop them before their next job.
That is, if he doesn’t fall for Bodhi first – in a purely platonic way.
Some of the visuals are truly spectacular, most notably a sequence in which people wearing wingsuits sail through the air around the Alps after throwing themselves off the Jungfrau. But where the earlier film was punctuated by action, this too self-important version is the opposite. The story is an afterthought.
Cast: Luke Bracey, Edgar Ramirez
Director: Ericson Core