These “transfer” reviews are from when I only did reviews on my Facebook page back in 2015. Bare in mind when reading these, I didn’t have the same formula in my review writing that I do now, and my usual “who starred and who directed” information is completely absent, so everything “italicized” is new. With that said, enjoy this review from 2015.
Boy, it’s been a long time since I saw the original, but since it’s more successful knock off cousin Fast and Furious became such a sensation, maybe I really didn’t care for this movie. But it’s the final stretch in movies for the year and I wanted to round it out.
Director: Ericson Core (INVINCIBLE ). Writer: Kurt Wimmer (TOTAL RECALL , ULTRAVIOLET , and EQUILIBRIUM ). Composer: Junkie XL (THE DARK TOWER , and the upcoming TOMB RAIDER ). Cinematographer: Ericson Core (THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS )
Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey) was once an extreme sports athlete, but gave it all up when his best friend died performing one of their stunts. Some time later, Johnny is an FBI hopeful trying to make up for the life that took his friend away. But his captain ropes him into a particular case involving the theft of American banks overseas. Johnny is sent in undercover to find out where this gang is going next and to stop them. Related news, Johnny believes that the gang is trying to complete what is called the Ozaki 8: a series of near-impossible challenges involving extreme sports like sky diving, motorbiking, the works, all in the name of achieving nirvana. Catching up with them where the biggest waves are supposed to hit once every many years, (one of the Ozaki challenges) Johnny tries to make a scene to gain this gang’s attention. He succeeds, but in the best of ways. A big wave comes in and he tries to ride it along side the gang’s leader, Bodhi (Édgar Ramírez). But Johnny gets knocked off his board and Bodhi abandons the surf to save Johnny. He is eventually accepted into the gang. But as Bodhi starts to sensibly rave about life, Johnny finds it increasingly difficult to turn on his friend and the hardest of choices are yet to be made.
It’s bad, but… it was kind of entertaining. I had to do a comparison between this film and the original and discovered that this movie did do a few things right that made more sense.
To start, Johnny in the original was a football player…and has to learn to surf. Oh….kay… Odd choice, but in this movie, he was always into that lifestyle. He knows how to surf, skydive, motorbike, all that good stuff. That makes more sense. It doesn’t bother trying to cover up that maybe Bodhi’s gang isn’t the gang they’re looking for and just says that they are. Also, if memory serves, Bodhi in the original had some doubters from those that followed him, whereas in this one, his companions are completely faithful. I don’t think either one is better than the other and I can’t quite remember how charismatic Patrick Swayze was as Bodhi, so it’s impossible to compare.
The real strength of the film, in my opinion, is Bodhi. If nothing else, I believe in his sincerity that he believes he’s doing the right thing. Ramírez’s take on the character is less commanding and more lost, like a man struggling with his inner demons, but is not the kind of person who compromises. If there was any redeeming value to this movie, it’s Ramírez’s performance.
I also won’t lie, the extreme sports stuff, the base jumping, the surfing, especially the motorcycling was bar-none very well done and intense. The visuals are pretty damn impressive and are easily the best parts of the movie.
But before anyone gets the wrong idea that I like this film, well, I don’t hate it, I won’t lie. But… it’s not a good film. The original was simpler. Bodhi and his gang were out to fight against “the system,” because… well, that was the 90’s: sooo radically anti-authority. Sure, that mentality is dated now, but it worked for the time. This movie… it actually had a pretty interesting set-up. It made itself out to be like Bodhi’s gang is more like a Robin Hood and merry men kind of deal going on, stealing from big businesses and giving to the less fortunate. But the same build-up is that these guys are trying to complete the eight challenges of Ozaki. They complete them simultaneously by sticking to the big corporations that are “killing the planet.” Yeah… you don’t have enough fingers to count how many problems with this set-up, do you? That’s a big fucking coincidence; one that the audience isn’t fucking stupid enough to buy. How is giving back money to the poor giving back to the earth? If you guys can get sponsors to assist you with these heists, why the fuck do you need to rob banks at all? And how the hell do you even have the resources to get sponsors in the first place?
There are also way too many pointless and total bullshit moments as well.
There’s a built-up romance between Johnny and Samsara, played by Teresa Palmer, but it isn’t delved into very much. But later on in the movie, the gang robs a bank and Johnny pursues who he thinks is Bodhi. He kills the person and, VERY PREDICTABLY, turns out to be Samsara. The way this scene is shot makes it like this shit seem like a big deal. But we don’t know anything about Samsara, hence we give no shit about her. She and Johnny share about a grand total of ten minutes of screen time, there’s no relationship that the audience can invest in. And that’s just one pointless moment.
Yeah, this movie’s bad. Really bad. But then again, I don’t think I cared a whole lot about the original either. That movie had a few problems as well. Maybe I’ll forget this movie in the future too, but again, it’s visually interesting and the action scenes are done pretty well, but it’s atrociously written and story-wise, weak as hell. Not the worst I’ve seen, but nothing really all that worth it either.
My honest rating for POINT BREAK (2015): 2/5