While Bigelow's film was action-heavy (including what is, to this day, arguably the best foot-chase in cinema history) it was also heavy on pathos and empathy, and that's exactly why it worked. The bromance between Utah and Bohdi was the hinge on which the film hung, the pulse-pounding, scorching action sequences were secondary. We watched one man's enlightenment via the criminal he was trying to bring down which meant his moral quandary in the final reel was all the more heartbreaking.
So along comes cinematographer Ericson Core's revamp of the much loved modern classic and in this climate of remakes, revamps, reboots and rehashes it'd be easy to dismiss this big-budget endeavour as a simple cash-in.
And you'd be right to. Because that's exactly what it is.
A remake in concept only, the 2015 POINT BREAK has Utah as a former extreme sports superstar, now an FBI recruit who infiltrates a group of socially conscious poly-athletes who are fulfilling a voyage of the soul and playing Robin Hood with financial institutions property as they go (diamonds or money, nothing's safe).
Cue 100mins of extreme sports footage with some pesky plot stuff stringing them all together. When the action sequences come (and they come often) there's no denying they are suitably spectacular. Whether it's out-running a landslide on motorbikes or free-falling through $200-million dollars one mile above the earths surface, Core's camera is surprisingly present capturing the practical set-pieces with a vibrancy and velocity strangely lacking in today's CGI-heavy action films.
The reality helps to lend credibility to the numerous sequences but unfortunately they don't amount to much when we just don't care for anyone involved. As Utah, Aussie Luke Bracey has the emotion depth of an after-dinner mint and his new team of poly-athlete friends are, sadly, little more than cannon fodder that barely have names. Even our own Teresa Palmer, in her first role since giving birth, is little more than eye-candy with no movement whatsoever unless, that is, moving from bike shorts to bikini to naked in the three scenes she turns up in.
If there is a sliver of saving grace its Edgar Ramirez's reimagining of Patrick Swayze's Bohdi. He inherently has a sexy, Latino swagger that is immediately engaging, particularly when he's being all spiritual and insightful, but a handful of broad cliches about our purpose in the world or our lack thereof become tedious which leaves...cool stunts?
The biggest loss is the bromance between Utah and Bohdi. Bigelow nailed the unspoken love affair between cop and criminal, the bonding of souls sharing something enlightening and magical. It meant that we understood Utah's decisions to pursue in the name of the law or the conflict of leaving the badge behind. Without that bond the film would be nothing. Like Core's effort. There's no heart here and as a result there's no interest. Which is a shame, because in the right hands we could have had a decent remake, but Core isn't the man for the job.
Glenn also reviewed Point Break. You can compare notes here.