Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Point Break (2015)

So back in 1991 there was a relatively small-ish action flick with a smaller than average budget that took cinema audiences by storm (no pun intended). Whilst the film was never a genuine masterpiece, it was undeniably fun with great characters, great action and the odd moment of uniqueness/originality, it struck a cord with adult males of the time. As with everything these days Hollywood thought it wise to remake this now cult action thriller, remake it bigger!, bigger stunts, bigger action, bigger greenscreen and CGI, what could go wrong?

The original premise of this movie saw a small team of young men robbing banks in their unique manner, wearing grotesque rubber masks of ex-American Presidents, and generally acting like fools or clowns. They only steal cash and never hit the vaults, in and out within 90 seconds. They would then use this money to travel from place to place, riding the waves, season to season, the unique hook being the men were all surfers. Each of them were adrenaline junkies that never really bulked at a challenge, they all lived life in the fast lane. Their leader Bodhi, was no different essentially, accept he was more philosophical about it, more spiritual and believed in the human spirit over the daily grind, 'the man', a bit of a hippy dare I say. Enter Johnny Utah, a young straight laced FBI agent who goes undercover to infiltrate the surfing world, to try and weed out the ex-Presidents gang. Does Utah succumb to Bodhi's life of criminal enlightenment? will he fall under his spell? Yeah it all sounds terrible doesn't it, a bunch of surfers that rob banks so they can surf some more, well for this remake they take everything but merely amp it up to eleven.

So that's the plot, well its the plot of the original movie but this remake is virtually the same so, two birds with one stone. Right first off this movie starts out of a ridiculous note, unsurprisingly. These modern age CGI fuelled remakes do not surprise me anymore with their constant lack of coherent structure. Point in case the opening (CGI) stunt, Utah and his mate are zooming across the top of a rocky, desert ridgeline (Caineville, Utah) on motorcross bikes. They both fly towards the edge of a massive cliff that drops away hundreds of feet into a canyon, on the other side is a singular rock structure not connected to anything, its a lone rock surface standing tall in the rocky terrain. Utah makes the jump on his bike, from cliff to cliff and stops just short of the opposite edge, his mate doesn't and falls, but who cares. My point here being, its completely insane, over the top and fake (presumably?), why do we need that? why do we need to see such a stupid stunt? just to prove this character is cool? Its just being big for the sake of being big, its typical of modern movies.

Moving onto the characters, oh boy! OK so to look at this Johnny Utah I can see what they were trying to do here, the guy in question (Luke Bracey) does look a bit like Reeves did in the original movie with the hair, and he does seem just as wooden as Reeves did too (although I'm sure that wasn't done on purpose by the actor). Then he takes off his shirt, yikes! like...what in Belushi's balls has he got all over himself?? The man is covered in random, rather lame looking tribal tattoos, plus he has something across his chest, no clue, the silhouette of a mountain range?? Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a solid piece of art on ya body, I myself have lots of work, but this looks awful and it just seems like another pathetic attempt to appeal to the teen crowd. But wait! oh yeah...they're all covered in tattoos because...modern age hipster style, amazed they weren't all wearing skinny jeans. Yep, all the main characters are covered in shitty looking tattoos and they all (and I mean all) have beards, what the literal fuck! To cement the fact these guys are all roided up, uber tanned and covered in oh so cool ink work, the director kindly provides us with a topless, man on man, sweaty, hairy, illegal street fight scene just to prove there is no possibility these guys are soft, and there is definitely no homosexuality going on...or is there?

I guess one alteration that pissed me off here was the goal of Bodhi and co, they don't have one. In the original film they use the money to travel around and surf, selfish but hey, it worked. They weren't particularly ultra evil of anything (accept for Rosey), just bad, they robber but didn't kill, Bodhi made sure of that as he had a spiritual, fair personality. In this film they are kinda the same but it gets lost fast toward the finale when they have a big shoot out and kill loads of cops. There goal is also very vague frankly, they supposedly use the money for their extreme sports actions, but at the same time we also see them giving their loot away to poor people, they actually end their raids by setting the money free so to speak. So how do they afford what they do?? Also some of the raids they take on are so flippin' technical and dangerous, you'd think they were a team of fecking Navy SEALs or SAS! are these guys just robbers or secret agents? But yeah, essentially the main goal here is for these guys to complete some mysterious extreme sports trial which sees you completing 8 extreme sports feats in different areas. So you have a water based trial, an air based, earth see where they are going with this. Apparently they do this for balance, they think the 8 trials are a gift from the Earth, they are going to give back to the Earth through these trials, give back what was taken, to balance everything out. So in the air they steal money from a plane and skydive to escape, they stop some trucks loaded with gold from a mine and use dirt bikes to escape etc...But then there are some trials they do just because its fun? like the free rock climbing and surfing etc...whatever.

Most of the stunts we see are genuine and very impressive there is no doubting that. The film was shot on location around the world and it is stunning, although it feels more like a tourist video for people interested in doing extreme sports on their holiday. Nevertheless there are scenes that take your breath away such as the free rock climbing which always makes my palms sweat with vertigo fear. The surfing is vivid and in your face with beautiful bright greeny blue seas set against perfect weather conditions (and tight ass shots), although surfing takes a back seat here, its a one scene deal. The wingsuit sequence is most definitely an extreme sports award winner if this were an extreme sports competition, or generally, and the snowboarding, while it looks pointless to me, is impressive to watch. There are also some amazing intro shots of various locations such as mountains in Switzerland, waterfalls (Angel Falls) in Venezuela etc...

Look don't get me wrong, what you see here is impressive stunt wise, kudos to all involved. The problem is that's all this film is about, its literately sequences of extreme sports with an action film plot fitted in around them. You jump from location to location in a heartbeat, one minute they are up in the air, the next they're on bikes, then they're up a mountain...holy BMX! The sequence where they attack a group of trucks leaving a mine is awful! Firstly they are attacking innocent workers, secondly what's the bloody point of this? and thirdly, they trigger a bloody avalanche to destroy the trucks! (a CGI avalanche which they outrun on their bikes...ugh!). If it wasn't for Utah all those truck drivers would have been killed, how does that fit into Bodhi's peaceful hippy ideology? Then at the end they have to rob this bank...which just so happens to be at the top of a mountain with only one route up and down, because of course.

In short this is completely as you would expect (for someone of the right age that is, 30 years plus). Its big, real big, big mammoth balls big...and glossy, don't forget glossy. Everyone has a beard and tattoos, the stunts are so over the top you wonder why these robbers aren't famous sports stars, plus they all act like they're in some sort of weird-ass cult. There are moments of horrendous greenscreen, I mean really obvious greenscreen, the cable car sequence felt more like an old Bond movie, whilst the finale at sea was laughable. The plot is muddled and unsure what route it wants to take, scenes of near death are just inane (Utah running across railway tracks almost getting slammed by an oncoming train which he apparently didn't see or hear), and they actually copy the classic moment from the original where Reeves fires his gun into the air, screaming with frustration and rage (no surprise, it fails to live up to the original there). This film has no purpose or reason to exist, its another dire remake straight from the Hollywood remake factory, and it sucks, plain and simple. If you want to see a movie called 'Point Break' (maybe too young to know any better?) then I highly suggest you stick to (look up) the 1991, Kathryn Bigelow original. On the other hand if you like extreme sports...and that's it, then sure, knock yourself out with this.