'Point Break' Review: I'd Rather Jam A Surfboard Up My Ass
I’ve often wondered about the thought process involved when film makers make truly terrible films. I’m not talking about trash like Asylum productions, or any of the infinite horror movie sequels out there. Nor am I talking about lowest-common-denominator dumb flicks, either. I’m talking about Hollywood films with known actors that will be released internationally, that the creators seem to be taking seriously. Like, for example, the 2015 remake of Point Break. It’s so hard for me to imagine that during the production of this dour, poorly scripted, humorless, wholly unengaging burning shitpile of a film, at no point did director Ericson Core or screenwriter Kurt Wimmer simply pause and say, “my god, this is a fucking awful thing that we are creating, and we should stop. We should stop and we should move to the mountains to be alone and think about our sins.”
I just don’t understand why that never happened.
Point Break is absolute shit. It’s a poorly-edited extreme sports Youtube video with a hot mess of pretentious philosophical gobbledygook mixed into it, all part of a hastily cobbled-together story that has no sense of stakes or value. It tells the story of former extreme sports athlete Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey), who after the death of a friend hangs up his extreme boots and joins the FBI (you know, as one does). He becomes tasked with tracking down a group of extreme polyathletes who are committing a series of Robin Hood-style crimes wherein they rob massive amounts of money but then dump it into poor communities. The thieves are led by the elusive and mysterious Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez, who deserves better), who is seeking enlightenment by completing a series of impossible trials that give back to the earth and make him and his cohorts closer to oh my god, this story is so bad. It is SO bad. It’s pretentious horseshit, stylized to be some sort of enlightened eco-anarchist naturalistic oh-so-deep philosophy, except that it’s nothing but the cast speaking a series of lazy, cliched, pretentious fortune-cookie aphorisms that sound like they come from those annoying viral memes that the weird kid you went to high school with posts on Facebook. If I had to hear one more character talk about their “path” I was going to hurl a chair through the screen. There is even a moment when the cast talks about pushing themselves to their limits and someone says something along the lines of “It’s how we reach our point. Our point of breaking,” followed by contemplative stares and knowing nods. Jesus Christ!
Despite being a remake of a pretty solid, if dated and cheesy action flick (thanks in large part to director Kathryn Bigelow and some fun performances by actors like Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, Lori Petty and Gary Busey), the new Point Break is startlingly boring. It wants to be deeply contemplative in its pacing, but it suffers from a terrible combination of hideously overwrought and melodramatic story writing, and some of the least engaging performances I’ve seen since The Loft. Bracey is almost surreal in his woodenness, as if he’s channeling Reeves except without any of the inherent charisma that makes Reeves bankable. Ramirez is a fine enough actor, but given the atrocious dialogue, there’s no actor alive or dead that could have salvaged his character. There’s a bizarre love interest (named “Samsara” because of course she is) played by Teresa Palmer who speaks only in breathy, sighing proclamations about paths and the universe. But the movie’s greatest sins are not bad acting (which it has in spades) or terrible dialogue (of which there is a cornucopia), but rather that it has nothing to tether its pieces together. Utah infiltrates this tightly-knit brotherhood far too easily, and they spend a few scenes doing extreme things like snowboarding and flying in wingsuits, but there’s never any real sense of bonding or excitement. It’s a dull, humorless movie and it’s hard to find a sense of true friendship or a greater understanding of how people create these deep bonds when there’s no real, honest interaction. A series of pithy lines of dialogue about the earth is not character development, and a lovely mountainside is not a plot.
Point Break wants to just throw some attractive people, a few lovely vistas, and some garbled philosophical nonsense at you and pretend that makes a movie. The few action sequences are brief and lazily assembled, so it’s not even exciting. The extreme sports moments are edited to death, so you’re better off watching actual Youtube videos or playing a Just Cause or Far Cry game if you want to see exciting surfing or wingsuit footage. The acting is terrible. The writing is trash. So once we’ve taken all of those things out, we’re left with next to nothing, an empty husk made of the remnants of a film we remember with some nostalgia, buried under a pile of lazy horseshit. I went to see Point Break immediately after a second viewing of The Force Awakens, which is essentially like having lobster for dinner and then a garbage can full of used diapers for dessert. It’s terrible in literally every way a movie can be terrible. Don’t go see it. Don’t even think about it too much. Forget it was ever made — you’ll be better for it.
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