There is one movie that has captured the creative imagination of the world this week, one that harkens viewers back to a feeling of awe-inspiring nostalgia that has eluded us since childhood. This movie’s young hero must face an internal crisis and decide which side of the force to pick: the FBI or the Robin Hood style super-athlete thieves who have granted him a path to spiritual enlightenment.
In what is now a grossly tired Hollywood practice, the 1991 cult-classic Point Break has received the remake treatment, trading in simplified bank robberies for adrenaline-fueled stunts and high-stakes heists.
The opening scene begins the action with Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey) riding a motorcycle across the top of a mountain path. Following an accident at the end of the ride, Utah decides to quit extreme motorcycle riding to join the FBI.
He lands his first case by discovering the secret motive behind a group of daring bandits’ plans to continue their robberies by completing the “Osaka Eight” – a series of death defying stunts which, if completed, will allow spiritual nirvana by conquering all of the forces of nature.
After each robbery, sometimes disguised by masks of U.S. presidents, the group performs a stunt and gives the profits to the less fortunate, much like Robin Hood.
Utah intercepts the group when he discovers the impending 80-feet-tall waves approaching a location in the middle of the ocean. Sure enough, the group is there and cautiously takes a liking to Utah after their third daring robbery.
As you might expect from the original film, Utah is accepted by the group and he just happens to be able to accomplish any of the death-defying “Osaka Eight” challenges that the bandits are out to complete — with no training, of course. A budding bromance between Bodhi (the leader of the thieves played by Édgar Ramírez) and Utah is born; Utah must decide what is more important: the bond of brotherhood, or the FBI mission he is set to complete.
There are multiple connections to the original, but it is by no means a shot-for-shot redo. It is a remake that emphasizes the sport aspect of the bandits and deals much less with the robberies. The bonding takes center-stage alongside base-jumps and skydives. It keeps all the classic Point Break tropes while updating the stunts from simply surfing, to a conquering of nature’s powers as an environmental message.
Point Break is, without a doubt, better than advertised. The stunts are at least visually stimulating enough to entice the viewer to forgive the shortcomings of the script and ignore the fact that they should all die on every attempted “Osaka Eight” outing and robbery; but that’s to be expected in a world that relies on over-the-top remakes to drive profit. Watch it expecting to be entertained, and it will accomplish the job. Asking for anything more is asking for too much.