Point Break (2015) - 1.5 stars - Ever have that sinking feeling? (A poorly executed film that does lead to some deep questions)

What happens when you take yourself too seriously? 

Walking into the cinema...
The original is a cult classic. It was fun and did not take itself too seriously. 

Can the reboot have the same magic? 

Overall Rating: 1.5 stars
Cinematic rating: 1 star 
Bigger questions rating: 3 stars      

               Academy Award winning director Kathryn Bigelow's Point Break remains a guilty pleasure for many who watched as Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves journeyed on the beaches in the early 90's. Bigelow's edition was fun, cool and did not take itself too seriously. Even with some of the over-the-top writing and acting, it still manages to hold its own within the extreme-sport genre. To reproduce this cinematic magic is like trying to ask lightning to strike in the same place twice. 
             Over two decades later, new director and cinematographer, Ericson Core (Invincible), takes his troupe of extremists on this globetrotting adventure to some of the most picturesque places in the world to perform their exploits of snowboarding, wing suit flying, motocross and extreme surfing. The new version of Point Break begins with a tragic event which causes Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey) to turn away from his life of being an extreme poly-athlete to being an FBI agent. He endures seven years of university, law school and law enforcement training and is trying to find his place within the bureau. The opportunity to utilise his unique skill set in his new profession comes during a briefing about a unique heist that is carried out by some extreme athletes. After studying their patterns, he determines that they are attempting to achieve the Osaki 8, a teaching that includes doing eight extreme ordeals to honour the forces of nature. With this in mind, the young FBI agent tracks down the group and manages to work his way into the inner circle. Through this familiar atmosphere and lifestyle, he comes to the point of needing to determine where his loyalties lie. Does he follow the magnetic leadership of Bodhi (Édgar Ramírez) and his band of merry men or stay true to the world of law enforcement.  
            From the opening sequence, this instalment of  Point Break feels like a documentary about these extreme athletes. It explores the mental, spiritual and physical experiences of this unique athletic community. Even if the viewer has limited experiences with this Red Bull existence, the lifestyle message of self-justification and self-indulgence shows it's insatiably unforgiving nature and the lonely existence that most of the participants live. This presents a problem for the filmmaker, because this is not meant to be a documentary, but an action adventure. 
           Ericsson Core tries to provide depth to the storyline and attempts to beef it up by intensifying the severity of the stunts by placing his actors and stuntmen in situations that defy logic and the laws of physics. With a nod towards the original story, the young director travels to these captivating locations and attempts to rely on nature, stunts and pop-theology to drive this tale through to the end. Core tries to provide credibility and depth by including environmental and spiritual components, but these layers weigh down the whole experience. Making this action adventure an unforgivably, lethargic ride. Because of the convoluted message, this edition of Point Break takes itself too seriously. Bracey and Ramirez did not have enough charisma or cheekiness to provide the needed levity to allow this narrative to remain above the waves. Journeyman acting support came from Ray Winstone (Noah) and he did provide some humorous moments, but he could not salvage this sinking ship. Unfortunately, great scenery and over-the-top stunts cannot mask a poorly executed story and takes the audience from ultimate extremes to lethargic apathy. 

REEL DIALOGUE: What are some of the bigger questions to consider from this film?
Peeling back the layers of this laborious experience did provide a multitude of conversation starters. It starts the conversation, but does not give any solid answers to the ideas that it spawns. To counter the lack of any satisfactory answers, here is an attempt to find the way out of these confusing pseudo-theological topics:

1) How far are we to go in the environmental causes of this world? Remember, God did leave mankind as the stewards of this world in Genesis. (Genesis 1:28, 1 Corinthians 4:2)
2) What is the Christian teaching of materialism? (Matthew 6:19-21, Hebrews 13:5)
3) What is our responsibility to our neighbours, friends and family? (Leviticus 19:8, Mark 12:31)

Questions to consider for yourself: 
1) Who or what determines your ethical position in this world?
2) Does this life have any purpose and where do you place your faith?

Leaving the cinema...
This rendition of Point Break was not extreme, enjoyable or entertaining, but it did provide a multitude of talking points for extreme conversations afterwards. So, the suggestion would be to pull out a copy of Point Break (1991) and remember that this had solid origins and then have a discussion with the Reel Dialogue questions. 

Trailer for film

Written by Russell Matthews based on a five star rating system @ Russelling Reviews #russellingreviews #pointbreak