Point Break review

The original, 1991 Point Break – starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze, and directed by Kathryn Bigelow – has developed somewhat of a cult following since it was released. Which is puzzling, because apart from some amazing stuntwork, it's a distinctly average movie. And much the same can be said about this 2015 remake.

This one follows a very similar plot – a bunch of guys wearing mask depicting former US presidents (although one wears a Barack Obama mask) are robbing banks and stuff, and FBI recruit Johnny Utah (Bracey) thinks he knows what's going on. The hunky tattooed daredevil convinces boss Hall (Lindo) that he knows what the gang of extreme athletes is up to. The heists are not about the money, but are about completing the Osaki Eight - eight ordeals that are supposed to bring them enlightenment, and their environmentally-linked heists are actually a way of repaying the Earth for what they take from it. Hall buys Utah's theory and sends him undercover to infiltrate the group, with the help of the FBI's London-based agent, Pappas (Winstone).

This film would have worked much better as a sequel to the original film, rather than an almost beat-for-beat remake with loads more extreme sports thrown in. And that's the biggest plus here. All the stunts - from surfing giant waves and extreme snowboarding to extreme motocross, wingsuit flying, skydiving and rock climbing - are brilliantly executed and visually stunning, thanks in no small part to fine cinematography from director Core. But the script is poor, with some dire dialogue and no real emotional core to any of the characters. Both utah and gang-leader Bodhi (Ramirez) feel like cardboard cliches, while it seems that the only reason Palmer is even in the film is to have sex with fellow Aussie Bracey.

It's beautiful to look at, and exciting in all the right places, but a decent plot and some well-drawn characters would have helped to make this Point Break stand out from the growing pile of mediocre remakes.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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