Extreme sports are awesome. With the most minimal of effort they are both cool and exciting to watch. Pull up any Red Bull challenge or Nitro Circus video on YouTube and it won’t be long before you well up with tears realising that you as co-ordinated as a drunk, stilt wearing, giraffe in comparison to these pros.
In fact, you don’t even need to look at these brands. Simply type “world’s best” and finish it with Snowboarding or free running or moto x and you’ll see some mind-blowing things. But do these translate to film?
Well… yes and no. Extreme sports – to the uninitiated – are short lived spectacles that you can watch, say ‘wow!’ and move on. In this respect it’s a bit like a circus or a fireworks display or a flexible stripper.
Films obviously have the ability to portray the spectacular but it’s made better by wrapping it in an enthralling storyline or evocative cinematography: two things that Point Break doesn’t have.
For what it’s worth the story goes like this: Utah (Luke Bracey) gives up Moto X after the death of his friend and decides to join the FBI. An (unconvincing) head of department, played by Delroy Lindo assigns Utah to the investigation of a daring bank robbery. Thanks to Utah’s past extreme sports lifestyle he identifies that the robbery is linked to other extreme cases of theft and are somehow linked to a set of legendary extreme challenges known as the Ozaki 8.
Utah eventually meets the gang and it’s leader Bohdi (Edgar Ramirez) who tries to covet Utah and bring him into the fold.
The principle of the Ozaki 8 is to do something incredible like skydiving from a plane and only opening your parachute when you go through the Cave of Swallows in Mexico (basically a hole bigger than Jeremy Hunt). After you take your thrills you give something back to nature or the local community or to life itself.
This sort of philosophical underpinning could have been fascinating. I know from practising breakdance for over 10 years that you absolutely can hit zen-like moments when pushing your body to the extreme. Unfortunately any attempt to portray this come across as heavy handed ramblings that don’t fit with the overall feel of the film and clumsily try to achieve moments of poignancy.
Once you have ridden a wave of rubbish dialogue you are left with a hollow and un-fulfilling plot that is frankly nonsensical.
How any one person can be so fucking good at 2 disciplines is remarkable but 8 of them? Come on, man!?
People train for years to just be average at 1 discipline so I can only assume Bohdi’s daily routine is: skydive to a mountain peak, snowboard to a lower level rocky mountain, wingsuit to sea level, surf across a bay to a cliff face, free climb up and motorbike home across untamed wilderness.
If you ignore the plot these nonsensical moments, in isolation, are spectacular. The surfing scene is really cool and truly drives home the enormity of the waves as does the snowboarding scene with the size of the mountains.
It’s perhaps the wingsuit scene that feels the freshest given its rarity in films but for me the most enjoyable and terrifying was the crazy rock climbing sequence. Then again I’m bias as I’ve just started climbing myself.
Point break is a bland and benign story that spouts fragmented dialogue and questionable supporting cast. It does however carve up some cool extreme sports with the leads looking relatively adept at them so that’s something to get amped about at least.
The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:
+ Cool surfing
+ Cool wing-suiting
+ Cool snowboarding
+ Cool climbing
– Bad plot
– Bad script
– Bad supporting cast