Point Break” is heaven for stunt performers. Which is to say they’re by far the true stars of the picture. To illustrate, I invite you to take the following quiz:
Q: Which of these is not like the others? Billy Kemper, Michael Swanson, Luke Bracey, Laurence “Laurie” Towner, Mitch Toelderer and Chris Sharma.
A: Luke Bracey. He plays the movie’s lead character, Johnny Utah. With the exception of him, all the others are pros in such extreme sports as wingsuit flying, big wave surfing, skydiving and freestyle rock climbing. And they all were stunt doubles for either Bracey or his co-star Edgar Ramirez.
It’s them, whether risking their necks riding 70-foot-plus high megawaves, swooping through the sky like Batmen in aerodynamic wingedsuits or clinging by their fingertips to sheer cliff faces, who will make audience eyes pop and jaws drop — and elicit excited exclamations along the lines of, “Ho-lee bat guano, Batman! Those guys are cray-zee!”
Amid all the daredeviltry there surely must be some kind of story here, must there not? Well, yes. After a fashion.
Once upon a time (it was 1991) there was the original “Point Break,” in which Keanu Reeves played Johnny Utah, a rookie undercover FBI agent who infiltrates a band of surfer/bank robbers led by a charismatic and highly spiritual dude named Bodhi, played by Patrick Swayze.
Flash forward to the present, when director-cinematographer Ericson Core, working from a screenplay credited to Kurt Wimmer, has juiced-up the concept by making the crooks adept at far more than surfing.
And their crimes now have an extreme sociopolitical component, exemplified by their midair liberation of a huge cube of cash from a flying cargo plane, done in such a way that the liberated loot flutters down like snow onto a village of baffled then grateful impoverished Mexicans. Wealth redistribution from on high.
This component is soon shoved into the background as the movie concentrates on the psychological tug-of-war between Bracey’s Johnny and Ramirez’s Bodhi. Johnny, a one-time extreme-sports practitioner himself, is tempted by the pull of Bodhi’s combination of spirituality (a lot of philosophical talk about discovering and following one’s unique path through life) and out-there testing of one’s physical abilities.
The fact that Bracey is the equivalent of a charisma black hole (at the movie’s center, there is no there there), and that the movie runs out of plot long before it runs out of stunts to showcase, makes “Point Break” a remake that ought not to have been made.
☆☆ out of 5
Cast: Luke Bracey and Edgar Ramirez.
Director: Ericson Core.
Running time: 1:54.
Rated: PG-13, for violence, thematic material involving perilous activity, some sexuality, language and drug material.