Monday 25 January 2016

Point Break (not really)

"I believe the people responsible for these robberies are extreme athletes, like me."

What is the purpose of this film, why does it exist, why are people allowed to do this? These are questions I was asking myself once I had finished watching ‘Point …’ I can’t even say the name because this film is not ‘Point Break’, it is not a remake of Kathryn Bigelow’s film nor is it an original action film. It is lacking in depth, plot, character, emotion, charisma and exhilaration as it stumbles from one set piece to the next in a preposterous mess of a movie. And this comes from someone who is willing to admit that the first one is no masterpiece either.

Having suffered a career-ending accident that outs an end to his career as a moto-cross rider and YouTube sensationalist (that’s right, no football here) Johnny Utah (not really) takes up a career within the FBI (and disappointingly never announces it in over the top bravado) and goes undercover to track down a group of robbers who accompany their crimes with wild stunts.

To continue that sentiment, ‘Point Break’ is no masterpiece but it is without question one of the most enjoyably ridiculous action films ever made and it made such an effort to make you care about the characters within it and apart from a few nostalgic 90s references it still holds up just fine. So why would one bother to remake it, particularly in such an uninspired, bland and boring way?

Such a question does not have a straight answer and I fear it never will. Why did Hollywood decide to remake ‘Total Recall’ and ‘Robocop’ and why the hell are there rumours of remaking ‘Starship Troopers’ (why are all of Paul Veerhoven’s films being remade, seriously that’s three right there, what’s next ‘Showgirls’?), why is a remake of ‘Memento’ underway (how can that story be improved, how, tell the story in the correct order, change the ending, make it a different crime? What the hell can you do with that story in a remake?). I don’t know.

 I admit this is turning into more of a rant on remakes in general rather than specifically this film, the reason for that is due to the fact that there is barely anything to talk about. For starters Johnny Utah is not actually Johnny Utah, it’s just a nickname. Yep, that happens. To be fair the trailer has one of my favourite lines ever said in a trailer, ‘I believe the people responsible for these robberies are extreme athletes, like me’. The ridiculous sentiment is said with such a deadpan delivery and is somehow expected to be epic and dramatic is laughable enough on its own, but not in a good way, not in an ‘I am an F…B…I Agent!’ kind of way.

But back to Utah, he is a self-described extreme sports expert (if such a thing exists) who though he starts out on a motorbike is easily able to pose undercover in the gang of extreme athletes (what am I saying?) and is essentially perfect at everything. He can skydive, ski, surf and paraglide perfectly and instantaneously (even Keanu had at least one afternoon of training before he became a pro surfer). Utah is never challenged physically or emotionally within the extreme sports he is undertaking or the fact that he is infiltrating a dangerous crime ring and as a result we simply don’t care and are not invested within the action.

The crime ring in question is also one that I take issue with as the motive behind Bodhi’s crimes are unnecessarily heightened in stakes. Instead of just wanting to fund his excessively long beach parties this version of Bodhi is a crusading eco-activist trying to change the world with his unlimited amount of resources and money to finance his campaign against …. Every wrongdoer in the world. It’s never really expressed what Bodhi’s ultimate goal is and how exactly he thinks he can change the world. Ultimately he just comes across as a psychopath, and you still don’t give a crap.

The action scenes themselves aren’t filmed with any sense of flair or aptitude. At least it doesn’t rely on shaky-cam but there are a lot of sudden and rather jarring moments of editing that make it seem, somehow, much less exciting than it actually is (it’s a guy jumping out a plane, did we really need to emphasise any danger with that because I think it’s pretty obvious already).

This is a film that lacks soul, innovation or any sense of joy or happiness while watching it.

Result: 2/10

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