It probably comes as no surprise that Kathryn Bigelow’s 1991 action opus Point Break is one of my all-time favorite movies. We’re talking top five, easy, right up there with Rubin & Ed, Out For Justice, and A Bittersweet Life. If you guessed that I’ve been skeptical about the impending remake, you are correct, and when they released that totally joyless, stone-faced trailer yesterday, it didn’t do anything to instill confidence. I want to be optimistic, I try, but I get the distinct impression that Point Break is going to ruin Christmas. Check out the trailer after the jump.
The action is slick, the stakes are elevated, and Point Break 2015 hits all of the beats you expect, but this just looks and feels so empty and devoid of any substance, and so completely over serious that I can’t help but make guttural pain noises while watching. More than anything, this feels like a relic from the late 1990s or early 2000s, when criminals used snowboarding and other extreme sports to pull of heists. I know I’m not the only one who got serious xXx chills from this.
The original is fun and campy and still cruising atop the wave of late ‘80s cinema. You can tell everyone involved knows they’re making a ridiculous movie, and that fun shines through. And there is some legitimately great action. We all know what Bigelow went on to do with movies like Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker, and that is evident in Point Break. That foot chase between Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) and Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) is brilliant, tense and close and puts you right there with them—it’s like Bodhi throws a dog at you—and the skydiving scenes really are gorgeous.
While the update is smooth and sharp looking, it has none of the warmth of the original. Instead of a bunch of dudes getting radical, robbing banks to finance their endless summer, these new hooligans want to reshape the landscape of global finance. You get the impression that they fancy themselves as modern Robin Hoods, though with a penchant for killing people. And New Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey) is already an extreme sports enthusiast, so instead of being out of his depth going undercover, he’s basically already one of them.
Maybe I’m making too much out of this. I don’t usually get too worked up about the glut of remakes clogging the theaters, and even if New Point Break is terrible, it won’t tarnish my love for the original one bit. Hell, it will likely make me appreciate it even more.
And this is just a first trailer, and we still have six months before it hits theaters, so there’s time for them to make me a believer (see, trying to be optimistic). The action does look suitably ridiculous, like the crew skydiving through a cloud of loose cash or the guy on the motorcycle riding away from an avalanche; and there are a couple of nods to the source as you catch a glimpse of the cameo from the Presidential masks, and James Le Gros, who plays Roach in the original (“You’re cold because all of the blood is running out of your body, Roach, you’re going to be dead soon”) shows up as an FBI suit.
If nothing else, this is going head to head with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which opens up a week earlier, at the box office, so I can take a small amount of pleasure watching it get totally thrashed. Point Break rides the wave into theaters on Christmas Day.