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Family Movie Review: Point Break (PG-13)

PointBreak ChesapeakeFamilyMovieReviewKernel Rating (out of 5): whole popcorn kernalwhole popcorn kernal

MPAA Rating: PG-13         Length: 113 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 13+. This remake of the early ‘90s film builds on the original’s action sequences; in addition to the huge-wave surfing, there are a variety of other extreme sports, like base jumping, rock climbing, snowboarding, and other dangerous-looking activities, during which people die. Also a lot of party scenes with scantily clad women (some thong bikinis, for example); some kissing, talk of one-night stands, and an implied sex scene where the characters are theoretically naked but you don’t see any nudity; and a variety of violence, including shootouts, fistfights, characters dying, and a major explosion.

The remake of ‘Point Break’ amps up the action with impressive extreme-sports feats, but the new philosophy it gives its characters is unsurprisingly silly.

By Roxana Hadadi

“Point Break” is a cult movie, and you could very well argue that the “Fast and Furious” films are already its spiritual sequels; they took its tale of an unlikely respect and friendship growing between an undercover cop and a dangerous criminal and spawned a gigantic, multicultural franchise. So this actual remake of “Point Break” already feels superfluous – and although its extreme action sequences are impressively done, the rest of the movie is mind-numbingly dumb.

The original “Point Break” starred Keanu Reeves as college football star Johnny Utah, who enters the FBI and is tasked with tracking down a group of bank robbers. After going undercover in a California surfing community, Utah creates a bond with Bodhi, played by Patrick Swayze, the de facto leader of the surfers and also the head honcho of the robbers. Theoretically Utah should bring Bodhi in, but Utah can sympathize with Bodhi’s ideology – and wonders about whether he should really be a federal agent at all.

This version of “Point Break,” with its glossy veneer, extremely attractive cast, and Urban Outfitters-inspired production design, tweaks the original’s formula, but in ways that aren’t fully thought out. The changes – in Bodhi’s philosophy and in Utah’s motivations – seem substantial at first, but they fizzle away as the film lumbers toward an unclear conclusion.

This time around, Johnny (Luke Bracey, of “The Best of Me”) is an extreme athlete involved in the death of a close friend after they pull off a ridiculous motocross stunt; years later, having left that scene behind, he enters the FBI. Johnny is looking for structure, but his first assignment returns him to the world he abandoned: A group of eco-terrorists has been stealing money, diamonds, and other resources from American-affiliated corporations and escaping in death-defying ways. They jump out of airplanes, they dive into underground caves, they ride motorcycles out of buildings – they’re doing all those things Johnny used to do.

Tasked with going undercover, traveling to Europe, and infiltrating the group, Johnny crosses paths with Bodhi (Édgar Ramírez, of “Joy”), who oozes authority and self-assuredness. Johnny is sure that Bodhi and his crew are chasing the “Ozaki 8,” a series of intense challenges that pit individuals against nature; the ordeals aren’t meant to dominate the environment, but become one with it through tasks like surfing a giant wave, soaring through the air, and snowboarding down a mountain. Whether Johnny can win over Bodhi, double-cross him, and bring him in is a question, but whether Bodhi can cause Johnny to switch sides is a question, too.

In the original “Point Break,” Swayze as Bodhi was chasing youth and the eternal party, robbing banks to finance a lifestyle of irreverence and irresponsibility. This time around, Bodhi is a spiritual leader, an environmental activist who wants to destroy the corporations destroying the earth, an adventurer, a family man, an alpha male – too many things. Although Ramírez is excellently magnetic in the role and he can sell lines like “You let someone else determine the direction your life took; that I judge,” how Bodhi’s motivations keep changing underline the shortcomings of the script and the superficial character development.

The stunts, though! Dozens of boats creating a party scene among the giant waves; freeform rock climbing without safety lines; an extended sequence where Bodhi and Co. use wingsuits to base jump off a mountain – those are the reasons to see “Point Break” in the theater. Aside from those scenes and Ramírez’s performance, though, this remake of “Point Break” has little new to offer.

Interested in a previously released film? Read our reviews of films already showing in your local theater.

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