New Releases for Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Genre: Remake/Action Directed by: Ericson Core Run time: 114 minutes Rating: PG-13 Format: Blu-Ray 3D The Lowdown: I remember way back in 1991 going to see the original “Point Break” in theaters, and loving the stylized, sand, surf and Zen action flick starring a pre-Neo Keanu Reeves and the late Patrick Swayze.
It was the perfect popcorn movie, and an immediate cult classic.
Flash forward 24 years, and somebody got the bright idea to try and reinvent “Point Break” as a meditation on extreme sports, eco-terrorism and the continued self-destruction of Mother Earth.
Let’s be clear, I went into Point Break 2.0 with my eyes wide open. Director Ericson Core, helming just his second feature, is no Kathryn Bigelow. And writer Kurt Wimmer has an inconsistent track record that ranges from guilty pleasures (Ultraviolet, Equilibrium) to disasters (Law Abiding Citizen), plus he wrote the ill-conceived/poorly executed remake of “Total Recall” that completely removed Mars from the equation.
I didn’t expect to like this new iteration, but I was willing to give it a chance.
Stepping into Swayze’s shoes as ringleader Bodhi, Edgar Ramierz brought just enough nuance to sell his role as an adrenaline junkie more concerned with environmental preservation than gaining riches. Relative newcomer Luke Bracey’s turn as Johnny Utah, the undercover FBI agent, gained some needed context from an opening scene accident where he watched a friend die while motocrossing across a mountain.
Wimmer wisely made the decision not to pen a traditional remake, infusing his story with just enough callbacks to the original to satisfy longtime fans (the Ex-Presidents make a brief
appearance), while trying to create something that might stand on its own as an action film with a moral message.
Another nice touch was bringing back James Le Gros (who played one of the Ex-Presidents in the original) as an FBI official for a brief cameo.
And Ray Winstone’s turn as Utah’s FBI mentor Pappas, while not nearly as loopy as Gary Busey, still delivered enough gravitas to make the character fresh.
One casting/character choice that did not work was Utah’s love interest. In the original, Lori Petty found herself the object of desire from male fans as the surfing, sexy Tyler. In the remake, Teresa Palmer’s Samsara is not nearly as good or fleshed out with full personality to resonate.
For its first 30 to 45 minutes or so, I actually enjoyed Point Break 2.0. It tried really hard to be its own film, a spirit animal companion of sorts to the original without sullying the legacy of the first film.
Then something happened. It was as if Wimmer and Core didn’t trust their vision, or some studio executives intervened and said, ‘Whoa, wait, this isn’t nearly what we had in mind,’ and suddenly, the movie just dumbed itself down. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the final scene, which felt tacked on and utterly ridiculous, a not-necessary rollback to the original that defied logic.
Here’s the deal — if you enjoy extreme sports — mountain climbing, snowboarding, wingsuit flying — then Point Break 2.0 has exactly what you’re looking for, and those extended sequences are indeed thrilling to watch, but they add little to the actual story. Sure, they look dangerous as hell, but what’s the point?
In the end, this Point Break just feels broken, a disjointed attempt to mash together too many disparate ideas, stuffed under a recognizable brand name and peddled to younger viewers who don’t know any better as something exciting and new.
The Stuff You Care About: Hot chicks – Yes. Nudity – No. Gore – No. Drug use – Yes. Bad Guys/Killers – Bodhi’s not a killer, man. He just wants to reach nirvana. Buy/Rent – Rent it.
The Winter (IndiePix Films, 105 minutes, Unrated, DVD): Writer-director Konstantinos Koutsoliotas’ The Winter is a Greek import, a slow-moving meditation on family dynamics, mental illness and a child’s aspiration to understand a parental figure. It’s a ghost story trapped in a somber drama, a
quest movie with no actual treasure to discover. It took me three tries to actually make it to the end of The Winter, but I felt some strange sense of determination. I think I believed that there was magic to be found if I could just tough it out long enough. There wasn’t. The Winter ended as it began, a parable too wrapped up in its own mystery, a fable holding me back at arm’s length, refusing to let me peek inside its Pandora’s box to make my own conclusions about what I found.
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