Skip to main content

Ugly is what we do, son.

Point Break
(2015)

(SPOILERS) Hollywood evidently has an endless capacity for remakes, and most of them end up redundant at best. This takes a new biscuit for pointlessness, however, an irreducibly soggy, surf-saturated one, that embraces ineptitude beyond the bounds of the reasonably feasible. Kathryn Bigelow’s original is still a titan in terms of direction (the bank robbery! That foot chase!), and supported by a perfect cast (rarely better Keanu, Patrick Swizzle, Lori Petty, all of them definitely needing sympathetic directors; Gary Busey is a legend in whatever he’s in, of course). Point Break 2015 has a shitty director and a shitty cast, zero sense of humour, an inverse surfeit of awesome and 0% testosterone.


I’ll be fair and admit that Edgar Ramirez, Delroy Lindo and Ray Winstone (sounding like his mouth is full of toothpaste) are all passably non-descript and borderline forgettable, while Teresa Palmer (or is that Kristen Stewart?) actually is forgettable.


Luke Bracey, on the other hand, the latest Australian export to bungee into the blockbuster scene and ricochet right out of it again, flaunts ludicrous tattoos in the place of a personality and boasts the award-winning mullet of Chesney Hawkes. Poor Luke’s an utterly charisma-free chump who makes the likes of Sam Courtney and Jai Worthington look like Russell Crowe (the next generation of whom being, let’s face it, the guy all the casting agents are scouring the Outback for).


So, while there’s an occasional laugh, it’s entirely down to the vacuum Bracey leaves when attempting to fill Keanu’s shoes, most mirthfully as he repeats the classic “firing the gun in the air out of frustrated bromance” moment (see also Hot Fuzz). In the opening scene too, when he loses a dearest pal, his emotional breakdown is a hoot to behold. 


Ericson Core, who sounds like a failed mobile phone model released a decade past its time, is both director and cinematographer, and bathes the picture in a hopeless green hue while entirely flunking the main task of investing the action with a modicum of excitement, engagement or thrills.


Which is a fairly significant drawback, since this is trying to outdo the extreme sports of the original with a band of extreme sports guys in pursuit of spiritual enlightenment (some nonsense about completing the Ozaki 8 – ordeals to honour the forces of nature), courtesy of a Kurt Wimmer screenplay (last sighted delivering the bust of a Total Recall remake script); there’s something of a Now You See Me complete lack of believability attached to all of the feats (aside from the man-glider scene which is so uncool, it’s very nearly cool). Indeed, we’re frequently fed rubbish green screen (or would it have been blue, since everything else is green?), entirely failing to suspend our disbelief (most notably with the big wave finale).


When Bracey reveals he’s FBI it’s a no-kind-of-anything moment, in a no-kind-of-anything movie that managed to film in 11 different countries and make all of them look less than impressive. Point Break is truly an abominable beast. To coin their reference to the original title, this one had reached breaking point on the drawing board.


Agree? Disagree? Mildly or vehemently? Let me know in the comments below.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Poor Easy Breezy.

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (2019)
(SPOILERS) My initial reaction to Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood was mild disbelief that Tarantino managed to hoodwink studios into coming begging to make it, so wilfully perverse is it in disregarding any standard expectations of narrative or plotting. Then I remembered that studios, or studios that aren’t Disney, are desperate for product, and more especially, product that might guarantee them a hit. Quentin’s latest appears to be that, but whether it’s a sufficient one to justify the expense of his absurd vanity project remains to be seen.

My name is Dr. King Schultz, this is my valet, Django, and these are our horses, Fritz, and Tony.

Django Unchained (2012)
(MINOR SPOILERS) Since the painful misstep of Grindhouse/Death Proof, Quentin Tarantino has regained the higher ground like never before. Pulp Fiction, his previous commercial and critical peak, has been at very least equalled by the back-to-back hits of Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained. Having been underwhelmed by his post Pulp Fiction efforts (albeit, I admired his technical advances as a director in Kill Bill), I was pleasantly surprised by Inglourious Basterds. It was no work of genius (so not Pulp Fiction) by any means, but there was a gleeful irreverence in its treatment of history and even to the nominal heroic status of its titular protagonists. Tonally, it was a good fit for the director’s “cool” aesthetic. As a purveyor of postmodern pastiche, where the surface level is the subtext, in some ways he was operating at his zenith. Django Unchained is a retreat from that position, the director caught in the tug between his all-important aesthetic pr…

Would you like Smiley Sauce with that?

American Beauty (1999)
(SPOILERS) As is often the case with the Best Picture Oscar, a backlash against a deemed undeserved reward has grown steadily in the years since American Beauty’s win. The film is now often identified as symptomatic of a strain of cinematic indulgence focussing on the affluent middle classes’ first world problems. Worse, it showcases a problematic protagonist with a Lolita-fixation towards his daughter’s best friend (imagine its chances of getting made, let alone getting near the podium in the #MeToo era). Some have even suggested it “mercifully” represents a world that no longer exists (as a pre-9/11 movie), as if such hyperbole has any bearing other than as gormless clickbait; you’d have to believe its world of carefully manicured caricatures existed in the first place to swallow such a notion. American Beauty must own up to some of these charges, but they don’t prevent it from retaining a flawed allure. It’s a satirical take on Americana that, if it pulls its p…

She writes Twilight fan fiction.

Vampire Academy (2014)
My willingness to give writer Daniel Waters some slack on the grounds of early glories sometimes pays off (Sex and Death 101) and sometimes, as with this messy and indistinct Young Adult adaptation, it doesn’t. If Vampire Academy plods along as a less than innovative smart-mouthed Buffy rip-off that might be because, if you added vampires to Heathers, you would probably get something not so far from the world of Joss Whedon. Unfortunately inspiration is a low ebb throughout, not helped any by tepid direction from Daniel’s sometimes-reliable brother Mark and a couple of hopelessly plankish leads who do their best to dampen down any wit that occasionally attempts to surface.

I can only presume there’s a never-ending pile of Young Adult fiction poised for big screen failure, all of it comprising multi-novel storylines just begging for a moment in the Sun. Every time an adaptation crashes and burns (and the odds are that they will) another one rises, hydra-like, hoping…

You're waterboarding me.

The Upside (2017)
(SPOILERS) The list of US remakes of foreign-language films really ought to be considered a hiding to nothing, given the ratio of flops to unqualified successes. There’s always that chance, though, of a proven property (elsewhere) hitting the jackpot, and every exec hopes, in the case of French originals, for another The Birdcage, Three Men and a Baby, True Lies or Down and Out in Beverly Hills. Even a Nine Months, Sommersby or Unfaithful will do. Rather than EdTV. Or Sorcerer. Or Eye of the Beholder. Or Brick Mansions. Or Chloe. Or Intersection (Richard Gere is clearly a Francophile). Or Just Visiting. Or The Man with One Red Shoe. Or Mixed Nuts. Or Original Sin. Or Oscar. Or Point of No Return. Or Quick Change. Or Return to Paradise. Or Under Suspicion. Or Wicker Park. Or Father’s Day.

What about the meaningless line of indifference?

The Lion King (2019)
(SPOILERS) And so the Disney “live-action” remake train thunders on regardless (I wonder how long the live-action claim would last if there was a slim hope of a Best Animated Feature Oscar nod?) I know I keep repeating myself, but the early ‘90s Disney animation renaissance didn’t mean very much to me; I found their pictures during that period fine, but none of them blew me away as they did critics and audiences generally. As such, I have scant nostalgia to bring to bear on the prospect of a remake, which I’m sure can work both ways. Aladdin proved to be a lot of fun. Beauty and the Beast entirely tepid. The Lion King, well, it isn’t a badfilm, but it’s wearying its slavish respectfulness towards the original and so diligent in doing it justice, you’d think it was some kind of religious artefact. As a result, it is, ironically, for the most part, dramatically dead in the water.

Is CBS Corporate telling CBS News "Do not air this story"?

The Insider (1999)
(SPOILERS) The Insider was the 1999 Best Picture Oscar nominee that didn’t. Do any business, that is. Which is, more often than not, a major mark against it getting the big prize. It can happen (2009, and there was a string of them from 2014-2016), but aside from brief, self-congratulatory “we care about art first” vibes, it generally does nothing for the ceremony’s profile, or the confidence of the industry that is its bread and butter. The Insider lacked the easy accessibility of the other nominees – supernatural affairs, wafer-thin melodramas or middle-class suburbanite satires. It didn’t even brandish a truly headlines-shattering nail-biter in its conspiracy-related true story, as earlier contenders All the President’s Men and JFK could boast. But none of those black marks prevented The Insider from being the cream of the year’s crop.

I’m what you might call a champagne problem.

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)
(SPOILERS) The idea of teaming the two most engaging characters from the recent Fast & Furious movies for a spin-off seems like a no-brainer for making something better than Fast & Furious at its best (somewhere around 6 & 7), but there’s a flaw to this thinking (even if the actual genesis of the movie wasn’t Dwayne Johnson swearing off being on the same set as Vin again); the key to F&F succeeding is the ensemble element, and the variety of the pick’n’mix of characters. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw – I can’t help thinking the over-announced title itself stresses an intrinsic lack of confidence somewhere at Universal – duly provides too much of a good thing, ensuring none of the various talents employed are fully on top of their game.

I don’t think you will see President Pierce again.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
(SPOILERS) The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and other tall tales of the American frontier is the title of "the book" from which the Coen brothers' latest derives, and so announces itself as fiction up front as heavily as Fargo purported to be based on a true story. In the world of the portmanteau western – has there even been one before? – theme and content aren't really all that distinct from the more familiar horror collection, and as such, these six tales rely on sudden twists or reveals, most of them revolving around death. And inevitably with the anthology, some tall tales are stronger than other tall tales, the former dutifully taking up the slack.

... you’re being uncharacteristically non-hyper-verbal.

Movies on My Mind Week Ending 7 May 2016
The Irishman
The Irishman (formerly I Heard You Paint Houses, based on Charles Brandt’s account of mob hitman Frank Sheeran, who was chums with Jimmy Hoffa, whom he professed to have offed) has been gestating for what seems like forever. I’d been wondering about its expiry date, as the names attached throughout have been the ever-longer-in-the-tooth holy trio of De Niro, Pacino and Pesci.
Now it seems there's a tight window (we’ll know by this time next week) for financing coming together. It seems the plan is to using de-aging technology (most recently seen making Downey Jr look less than zero in Civil War) to work its regressing magic on these wise guys. I’m a bit uneasy about that, as no matter how good it is, it’s distracting. Not that I think Scorsese would go there if he didn’t think he could pull it off, but it will still be there in the viewer’s mind.
Hopefully he’ll make going back to the Mob worthwhile; I’d presume so, as if his word…