Point Break is ridiculous, over the top, a ton of fun… and it’s getting a remake. The original is a perfect blend of 80s over-the-top action mixed with early 90s “extreme!” action, and creates a memorable piece of nostalgia thanks to that. It also has one of cinemas best bro-mances between its two leads, a fun plot, and memorable characters. But can a movie that’s this steeped in nostalgia truly be remade and given the credit it deserves?
The remake has some obstacles to overcome and judging by it’s new trailer, it also has quite a few problems that need to be addressed, including it’s new tone, it’s casting, and new direction. But before I begin, in case you’ve never seen it, Point Break is about a rookie cop (Keanu Reeves) that along with his partner (Gary Busey), must discover if a gang of surfers (lead by Patrick Swayze) are responsible for a string of bank robberies in California. Through this investigation, (Reeves) becomes close with the gang, and must decide if he’ll be able to bring them to justice when the time comes. Pretty radical right? So with that, here is my list:
#5 A More Serious Tone
From the looks of the trailer, the new version seems to be a lot more serious than the original, and although darker tones are definitely the thing to do for remakes right now, I don’t think that will work for this remake. The new trailer makes the movie come across as grimmer thanks to everyone looking as serious as possible in every shot and ominous music playing in the background. And also by Utah saying lines like “They use their skills to disrupt international markets, and they don’t care who gets killed in the process” when describing the robbers. The original was about surfers robbing banks, why add the weird political angle and that they don’t mind killing people?
One major reason that the original is so much fun to watch, even though it can have some intense parts, is its lighter tone. The original never forgets
#4 Trying Too Hard to Top the Original
Yes, the original is way over the top and ridiculous, but after seeing it, you can’t deny that everything they did was awesome. From surfing, to bank robbing, to sky-diving, everything the characters did was really cool, but none of it seemed forced. The makers knew exactly how crazy to go, and didn’t seem like they were trying too hard. It seemed like they just wanted to make a fun movie, and that’s why it works so well.
The new version seems like its trying really hard to be as extreme and edgy as possible, and in the end it just makes it look kind of stupid. Its like the kid at school whose trying really hard to be cool, and everyone makes fun of him for it. Especially when, in the new trailer, Utah says in a meeting “I believe, like me, these people are extreme athletes”(while cutting to a scene of him taking off his shirt and showing off his tattoos) when referring to the robbers of a plane full of money, who then sky dived out and scattered the money in the air. This is followed by shots of them mountain climbing, surfing on insanely huge waves, and outrunning rock slides. The trailer just seems to scream, “Please think we’re cool! We even took the best scenes from the original and made them more extreme!”
#3 Can’t Beat the Original’s Director
Who would have thought that Kathryn Bigelow would go from making a surfer dude movie, to in a few years getting Oscar nominations for Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty? These movies are so different but so well directed that it shows how versatile she really is. Bigelow has a good eye for action, whether it be the pace of the scene, the stunts and choreography, or how its shot, even in ‘91 you can see how much potential she had. The new director of the remake, Ericson Core, really has his work cut out for him. Core has a background with action movies, with his credits including director of photography for The Fast and the Furious and 2003’s Daredevil, and was the director for Invincible with Mark Wahlberg. So based on these credits and a few of the action scenes shown in the trailer, hopefully he’ll be able to make a decent action movie here, but it will be hard to top Bigelow.
#2 The Cast
The original cast is a tough one to beat. I know that Keanu Reeves isn’t the best actor alive, but he picks fun and interesting roles that fit his style and it really works here. Throughout the movie, the main character, Johny Utah, has to switch in and out from a hot shot cop in the police office, to a surfer dude while he’s under cover, and Reeves transitions pretty well with this. When he’s a cop he’s more up tight, especially in his body language and speaking, but when he’s pretending to be a surfer he’s noticeably more laid back and easy going. Reeves strength is definitely with his action stunts and his willingness to do many of his own, including learning how to surf for the role, so it brings a believability to his character and he’s very persuasive here. The leader of the surfers is the late, great Patrick Swayze, and he sells the hell out of his role, the Bodhi Sapha. He’s cool and charming, and he round-house kicks so many people that he’s impossible not to love!
These two have great chemistry and together create one of cinema’s greatest bro-mances. And as their relationship goes from the closest of bro’s to the biggest of enemies, it brings the story to a an emotionally-tense, charged climax. So since there wasn’t much to go off of the trailer between the two leads in the new version, they can only hope that they can live up to this relationship and not bring shame to names.
#1 The Timing of the Movies
The original came out at literally the perfect time, it had the best blend of the 80s and 90s action movies: the over the top-ness that the 80s had to offer, mixed with the Extreme! and grittier feel of films from the 90s . Because of this mix of cliches, its ridiculous but still has a believability, because we can still get invested in the story and characters, despite the over the top action set pieces. It is this crucial element that gives the movie its certain magic, and because of the timing, it can live on in this time capsule forever, thanks to the nostalgia it brings every time it is watched.
The new version is being made at a time where sequels and reboots like the newer Die Hards and Terminator movies are the thing for studios to do. They keep the basic set up of the first but what they lack in originality, they try to make up for with crazier stunts and explosions. Sometimes this works, but most of the time it just seems like they ran out of ideas and try to cover that up with action to keep the audience entertained. All remakes have a very hard time trying to establish themselves and stand on their own in the shadow of the originals, especially when the originals have a lot of people that think it can’t be beat, no matter what. So hopefully I judged the movie wrongly based on the trailer, and it turns out to be really good and can stand up to the original. But this new version just seems to have too much going against it to really stand a chance, so we’ll have to wait and see what becomes of it.