For a lesson in how hard it is to make a fun, silly action movie watch the two incarnations of Point Break back-to-back. In Kathryn Bigelow’s 1991 version Keanu Reeves’ FBI agent infiltrates a group of surfers/bank robbers. The story is simple, it has a sense of humour about itself and the action is thrillingly orchestrated. Then we have the 2016 version. Again we have an FBI agent (Luke Bracey), but this time he’s tracking a group of criminals with a baffling hippy-ish modus operandi, it takes itself incredibly seriously and the action is so-so and blighted by truly dreadful CGI.
It’s hard to explain quite what the plot of this one is because it doesn’t make a lick of sense. A group of masked motorcyclists steal a diamond haul and escape by parachuting out of a skyscraper, then steal money from a plane mid-flight and release the cash over a poor village. Our young FBI buck deduces that this group, led by Edgar Ramirez, is committing these crimes in pursuit of completing the ‘Ozaki 8’, a series of extreme stunts dreamt up by some daredevil who believed conquering them all would achieve nirvana (Ozaki’s theory is untested as he died less than halfway through his mission). Their crimes are carried out in order to “give back” to mother nature, although it’s not clear how robbery achieves this. They are environmentalists who blow up mountains and have an enormous carbon footprint. They are drifters who hate the capitalist world but see no problem with having their stunts bankrolled by a billionaire. And they’re all in their 30s, like sadly delayed gap year wastrels. Really, a film constructed primarily to showcase people jumping off high things shouldn’t be this difficult to follow.
The stunts, alas, are not especially exciting either, certainly nothing to compare with Bigelow’s surf sequences, or even the part where Keanu Reeves ran through some gardens. Director Ericson Core takes his cast into the sky, up mountains, out to sea to face towering waves, but he hasn’t the skill to construct a dramatic narrative once he gets there. It’s just as ridiculous as the 1991 Point Break, but in all the wrong ways.