I will admit this, I am not a Star Wars fanboy. I was excited about The Force Awakens, but the anticipation I felt for the remake of Point Break was far greater. Would director Ericson Core do proper justice to Kathryn Bigelow's 1991 beautiful orgy of overly self-indulgent Generation Xer's adrenaline excess?
The '91 original has become a classic film in its own right, garnering legions of followers and a long-running off-Broadway play, Point Break Live!
There was an action-filled filmmaking innocence that brought elements of surf and action sports culture into the mainstream while being totally unforgiving with its storytelling and complete lack of political correctness with Bigelow's film. The begging question then, would Core maintain this vision, or take the film in a different direction? And, possibly more important, would it have the supreme quotability of the original?
The two films tell similar stories and have most of the same characters. Bigelow's Bodhi was an adrenaline junkie looking to finance his extreme lifestyle by robbing banks. Core's Bodhi is really the antithesis of the original. He is more like a Green Peace extremist who ultimately becomes a terrorist so he can give back to Mother Nature. Core keeps the nature of Johnny Utah but changes him from a broken college football hero to a lost and formerly well-known motocross extremist.
Core pays tribute to Bigelow plenty but never goes over the top in this regard. The movie no longer revolves around surfing but instead the fringe of the action sports world where many of these athletes thrive and, in the case of Point Break, go beyond.
Additionally, Core forgoes much of the original's character development and relationships along with general exposition. Instead, the filmmaker elects to dive right into the heart of the story and the relationship between Johnny Utah and Bodhi. The relationship between the two attempts to be the center of the film but ultimately loses out to the film's action sequences.
This remake/reboot/re-imagining (call it what you will), excels in two areas. First, the aforementioned relationship between Bodhi and Utah is well-developed and feels genuine. The more the two characters interact the more we find compassion with the development of their character arcs. Secondly, the action sequences are spectacularly entertaining -- these moments are the driving force of the movie beyond plot or character development.
Sorely missing from Core's movie are the multitude of quotable lines. There's no Pappas saying, "Two. Utah, get me two." There's no 15-year-old kid spouting wisdom such as "Surfing's the source, man, swear to God." There's no Bodhi-sms like, "It's the place where you lose yourself and find yourself."
As a viewer, to enjoy 2015's Point Break, one must be fully willing to accept (and ignore) the contrivances built into the plot. And, much like a James Bond film, a viewer must furthermore be fully willing to accept that many of the ridiculously impossible feats achieved are, indeed, possible.
Bigelow built a genuine relationship between the viewer and her 1991 Bodhi. Patrick Swayze portrayed a character who lives on the extremes, breaks the law, and carries life further than ever expected in an attempt to be a Robin Hood-esque villain/hero. The Bodhi portrayed by Ramirez is aware of his wrongdoings and unforgivingly willing to push the boundaries even as a criminal. Without giving too much a way, there is a very Heat-like gun battle that clearly separates the good from the bad and more closely echoes modern day terrorism than a Robin Hood-like action sports enthusiast.
Luke Bracey does a fine job stepping into the role of Johnny Utah and Ramirez is enigmatic as Bodhi. I still, however, have yet to decide if I like the remake on its own merits, or, if I liked it because it felt familiar.