Ten years before The Fast and the Furious blended high-octane sports competition with crime/heist thrills, there was director Kathryn Bigelow's Point Break: a film that also combined adrenaline-fueled antics and law-breaking, headlined by Keanu Reeves and the late Patrick Swayze. Universal's Fast and the Furious brand is stronger than ever right now, so Alcon Entertainment is hoping to tap into that same demand for physics-defying spectacle with the upcoming Point Break remake.
Luke Bracey (The November Man) and Édgar Ramírez (Deliver Us from Evil) have taken over Reeves and Swayze's roles as, respectively, the FBI agent Johnny Utah and adrenaline junkie/crook Bodhi in the new Point Break. The first images of Bracey and Ramirez as these character have been released, along with some fresher details on the death-defying set pieces staged by the remake's director (and director of photography) Ericson Core, with his stunt team.
Here is the official synopsis for Point Break (2015), followed by the first official screenshots from the movie:
In Alcon Entertainment’s fast-paced, high-adrenaline action thriller “Point Break,” a young FBI agent, Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey), infiltrates a cunning team of thrill seeking elite athletes, led by the charismatic Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez). The athletes are suspected of carrying out a string of staggering crimes that kill innocent people and send the world’s economy into a tailspin. Deep undercover, and with his life in imminent danger, Utah strives to prove they are the callous architects of these inconceivable crimes.
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The Point Break synopsis also highlights the film's extreme sports-based sequences, which include "big-wave surfing, wing suit flying, sheer-face snowboarding, free rock climbing, and high-speed motorcycling" - largely carried out by real-life athletes and specialists, risking life and limb to pull the stunts off. That very much shone through with the Point Break footage screened at the Warner Bros. panel for the ongoing 2015 CinemaCon in Las Vegas, judging by Empire's following breakdown of the material that was shown:
The Point Break reboot has gone for a portfolio of all-out adrenaline sports. Big wave riding, rock-climbing and dirt bikes were all present in the footage shown. However, the most impressive and quite likely the film’s major visual set piece is an incredible flight suit sequence that blows the one in Transformers 3 out of the sky. Four guys in said airborne attire hurtle over forests and fields before soaring through a deep gorge cut out of the mountain. It’s an eye-popping visual made all the more impressive by the fact that it’s not CG but rather an entirely practical sequence undertaken by a group of extreme sports all-stars, who were also present. With other feats including a mid-air heist involving skydivers stealing money from a plane mid-flight, there’s more than a hint of Fast & Furious in this Point Break’s DNA – ironic given that the first F&F was heavily inspired by Kathryn Bigelow’s original.
Core was the director of photography on the original Fast and the Furious (before he started directing with Invincible in 2006), so it was something of a foregone conclusion that he would prove to be adept at staging the many extreme sports action sequences - filmed with 3D in mind - for the new Point Break. Still, kudos to Core and his crew, as it sounds as though they'll deliver the goods in terms of sheer cinematic spectacle.
What remains to be seen, however, is if Core's film will prove to be up to scratch, in terms of overall craftsmanship. After all, the 1991 Point Break is a pulpy B-movie, but it's quite technically sophisticated (given when it was made) - and showed Bigelow's filmmaking prowess, many years before she became an Oscar-winning critical darling. Bigelow's movie also blends its thrills with a compelling bromance subplot, much like the Fast and the Furious series has long managed with its combination of impossible action and family motif (to strong emotional effect in Furious 7's Paul Walker tribute).
Point Break (2015) looks to deliver some big action/thrills wrapped up in a pulpy film package - courtesy of screenwriter Kurt Wimmer (Salt, Total Recall (2012)) - though it remains to be seen how the screen chemistry between Bracey and Ramirez stands up. At worst, it sounds like the remake might amount to two hours of impressive (but hollow) law-breaking thrills, performed by criminals who really live on the edge.
Point Break opens in U.S. theaters on December 25th, 2015.