Movie Review : Point Break (2015)
Point Break is a cult movie. I don't know anyone who's actually seen it that 1) doesn't think it's anything but great and 2) thought it was a good idea to give it a reboot. Few people remember it, but those who do remember it fiercely and watch it every couple months/years. It ages like a good Merlot and becomes more ridiculous and inexplicable with every year. So, the new Point Break movie was definitely unwanted, but it is bad? Could we have been overlooking it like an overachieving red-headed stepchild? Well, the short answer is no. Not at all. But the Point Break reboot fails on its own terms and wasn't that far from being a (humble) success.
Let's see where it went wrong.
The story of this Point Break reboot is a little different. This iteration of Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey) was an "extreme polyathlete", which mean he made a living shooting YouTube videos of motocross stunts. He retires and becomes an FBI agent after his sidekick (Max Thieriot) literally falls off a cliff on the job. The first case Utah investigates is a mysterious crew that robbed 100 million dollars worth of diamond and made it rain on poor people. Then, they stole money money stacks from a plane... and made it rain on poor people. Extremely dangerous criminals here, you know? Utah is assigned to the case because he's the only one who figured they might be YouTube guys too.
Point Break is surprisingly good, for thirty minutes or so. The movie definitely has a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor about itself, which transpire in the slew of baditude scenes. My favorite being a totally unnecessary Fight Club knockoff set in an overwhelmingly bleak setting where a car is inexplicably burning in the background. The fight choreography is admirable compared to your usual hand trapping bullshit, but that scene has no purpose whatsoever, except you how cool and tough and in-the-know Serious Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez) and his friends are. The boat scene where Johnny Utah and Serious Bodhi fight over a surfing wave is also great. There's way too many fucking jet skis in there.
So, Point Break is not quite a sloppy tribute to its predecessor, but it's still a terrible movie. It suffers from two major writing problems. The first is that the stakes aren't pertinent. Why should the audience give a shit about catching eco-terrorists who give their larceny back to people? The movie tries really hard to make you root for Utah over Serious Bodhi. There's a scene where they're partying to honor a crew member's death and Utah tells Serious Bodhi something along the lines of: "I see a lot of taking, but not a lot of giving." Motherfucker, he made money and diamonds RAIN FROM THE SKY. Can you cut a brother some slack here? What have you done to make the world better, Utah? Point Break treats Serious Bodhi like the bad guy and Johnny Utah like the good guy, yet their actions indicate the complete opposite.
The second writing problem Point Break suffers from is... well, there's not a lot happening. After the rip-roaring first thirty minutes, the movie becomes somewhat of a YouTube highlight reel. There's a long snowboarding scene, a long flying squirrel suit scene, a long motocross scene and it's not a long movie. Not even two hours. There maybe is 60 to 75 minutes of story and action crammed into Point Break and the rest is just beautiful and elaborate stunts, which is great in itself, but not exactly what I wanted to see. And the movie cuts on much needed exposition to make place for these scenes. For example,the death of Johnny Utah's friend in the beginning is barely ever heard of again and comes off as unnecessary pathos. If you're going for a traumatic scene, make it important, you know? Otherwise, just have Utah blow his knee like in the first movie.
Point Break is not a good movie, but I couldn't get myself to hate it. Its main problem is that it's called Point Break. If it was called something else or maybe just Point Break 2, it would've suffered a lot less from the comparison game. It's quite severely underwritten and the stakes don't quite add up, but its heart is in the right place and it definitely has a sense of humor about itself. So, I can't quite condemn the movie and tell you it's objectively bad. It isn't. It's unfortunately forgettable, though. The kind of movie you watch once and never go back to, because there's a much better Point Break available to go back to anyway.