Point Break pushed to Breaking Point! Why is Hollywood ruining classic films?

When I heard there’d been a remake of the 90s classic Point Break I thought to myself – “That’s strange, I haven’t seen any trailers for it”. The reasoning for this is that it was actually released in 2015 and I was shocked not to have known about it as the original is one of my all-time favourite films. I mean, how can someone not like a film which combines surfing, sky-diving and bank-robbing? Some may argue this combination was coherently stupid but the way in which the originals director (Kathryn Bigelow) handled the action sequences was in such a visually aggressive manner – I thought it was borderline genius!

For those of you not aware, the film follows FBI Agent Jonny Utah (Keanu Reeves/Luke Bracey) as he tries to infiltrate a group of bank-robbing surfers led by Zen-spouting Bodhi (Patrick Swazye/Edgar Ramirez). The original film was rather over-the-top but has been hailed as a 90s cult classic and even though it was ultimately a spectacularly stupid film, remaking it in a positive light should’ve been easy.

Initially, I was pleasantly surprised by the film. The storyline had taken an interesting turn as it chose to predominantly focus on Bohdi’s search for the ‘Ozaki Eight’ which is a collection of eight extreme challenges located worldwide and were thought to honour the beauty of mother nature, a pretty cool theory. In all honesty, I kind of wanted a new film to be made focusing purely on this concept of an ‘Ozaki Eight’ because the idea itself is actually quite brilliant. Needless to say, these ‘challenges’ were signified by several examples of extreme action sequence throughout the film and certainly evoked some of the edge of your seat moments which the original was able to produce. However, apart from that, there really is little comparison between the two and one could certainly argue the remake is an extremely disappointing effort.

These two definitely failed to live up to expectation (Photo Credit: Roger Ebert)

The biggest issue I have with the film is at the core of what the film should be about – action. The screenplay is all over the place with shoddy editing which fails to meet the standards set by Mr Bean let alone the original Point Break. This lack of cohesion in each scene reflects on the relationship between the characters which was a pivotal part of the original film and a feature which is distinctly lacking in the remake. The lack of character integrity is optimised by Utah (Luke Bracey) who seems to be a character out of Epic movie, one of those awful spoof films which takes the piss out of classic films.

Now, although I could go on and on about how bad the remake to this particular film was, it definitely raises wider questions as to why Hollywood feels the need to keep remaking (and often ruining) perfectly good films? I understand the monetary incentive but if one can understand films as pieces of creative genius, then surely ruining a good film is like taking down one of Picassos paintings and putting up one of yours or mine. I do get that certain blockbuster remakes (Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, Batman Trilogy) can be resounding successes. However, I think the film industry needs to tread more carefully when choosing to remake a classic like Point Break because if it isn’t good enough, don’t bother releasing it. Don’t put loyal fans through the emotional roller coaster of excitement to be left mind-numbingly shocked by what you’ve produced. Stop trying to fix something that isn’t broken, especially when you could have used new ideas (like the Ozaki Eight) to make an original film which may be a classic itself one day.


Headline image credit: abenakiextreme