Maybe somewhere out there is a remake with less of a reason to exist than Point Break but if there is I sure as hell can’t think of it. Look, the original was certainly no masterpiece but it had a certain over-the-top charm that at least made it fun to watch (even if done so ironically). Unsurprisingly, that charm has been completely removed from the remake that with any luck will quickly fade from memory.
The FBI are investigating a group of thieves who commit their heists through the use of extreme sports. The investigation mostly goes nowhere until an ex-motocross rider turned FBI recruit Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey) comes to the conclusion that the thieves have been planning their heists around something called the Osaki 8, a set of extreme stunts widely believed in the sports world to be impossible. Utah then of course goes undercover to infiltrate the den of thieves led by Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez) but it isn’t long before Utah begins questioning his loyalties.
The biggest problem that contributes to Point Break’s failure is that it takes itself way more seriously than it needs to. For example Johnny Utah is not actually his real name in this movie but rather a nickname given to him because of his Native American heritage. Now, this is stupid for two reasons. One, we’re given his real name once throughout the entire movie and it’s never mentioned again and even the FBI continually refers to him as “Utah”, so that ends up being completely pointless (when I looked this movie up later on Wikipedia and IMDB, both sites continue to list him as Johnny Utah). Two, yes Johnny Utah is a dumb name for a movie character but here’s the thing, no one was looking for an explanation in the original as to why he’s named Johnny Utah. Sure, people have made fun of the name but it’s also something that people generally accept as part of the original’s inherent goofiness.
One concession I will give is that the stunt work is actually fairly impressive. If that seems like a half-hearted endorsement, that’s because it is. The problem is that Utah has the personality of a twig (I actually think Bracey might be an even worse actor than Keanu Reeves since Keanu at least has some charisma to occasionally offset his surf boy woodenness) and Bodhi comes off like that pretentious philosophy student you always come across at every college that likes to talk about how deep he is. The rest of the characters serve little purpose to the plot and barely warrant mentioning. Because of all of this, I have no reason to care if any of these people survive these stunts, making what would otherwise be an enjoyable action scene surprisingly boring.
Like any remake, there are some callbacks to the original Point Break but here they’re superficial at best and at one point rather insulting. We see the thieves once again robbing a place with some updated Presidential masks (Obama and George W. Bush instead of Reagan and Nixon) but it only happens once making that so-called homage completely irrelevant. They also recreate the scene where Utah fires his gun into the air in frustration over not being able to bring himself to shoot Bodhi. Unfortunately, since the bromance angle between Utah and Bodhi is executed so poorly here the moment feels completely hollow and had me longing to watch this moment being done much better in Hot Fuzz. The sole purpose of these elements seems to be so the director and the screenwriter can tell us they have actually seen the original.
I hate using puns but Point Break is the epitome of pointless remakes. I never thought I would be heaping so much praise onto what, for the most part, I’ve always believed to be a dumb action movie but it’s remake is so joyless and derivative that I feel the need to apologize to the original since it now looks like a work of art in comparison. Point Break brings nothing new or essential to the table and commits the cardinal sin of a remake by completely missing the point of what made the original appealing in the first place.