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segunda-feira, 8 de fevereiro de 2016
Point Break review: 'the thrill has gone'
A pointless extreme-sports remake of Kathryn Bigelow's action-packed bromance is as empty and spectacular as its scenery
Kathryn Bigelow’s Point Break is a full quarter-century old. Grasp that horrifying fact first, remember Keanu Reeves as a young surfer-dude FBI recruit, and cling onto the memory: little in the remake threatens to eclipse it. Bigelow took an absurd plot, pumped it up with steroids, and injecteda rare bromantic chemistry between her leading men. It’s hardly her deepest contribution to cinema, but it holds a secure place as her most resilient and iconic popcorn flick.
If we’ll give the new film anything, it’s a decent start: motocross bike stunts along a steep mountain ridgeline somewhere in Utah (this time the nickname, not surname, of the hero, played by the flaxen-haired and oddly androgynous Luke Bracey). The two guys involved are friends on a dare, whipping across the screen in a sequence of promising photographic verve, and Mad Max: Fury Road’scomposer Tom Holkenborg eggs them on excitably. It even culminates in a moment of genuine, if quickly guessable, dramatic tension. Maybe this won’t be too bad after all?
Well, hang on in there. Every subsequent set-piece in the movie – we get eight, a prescribed octet of extreme-sports challenges laid down by some dead Japanese guru called Ono Osaki – is a little duller and more overblown than the last. We get spectacular base-jumping and don’t care. Mid-level characters fall off cliff-faces and we care even less.
The movie is criminally remiss in delivering a basic level of sense or characterisation to make its thrown-down gauntlets mean anything, as if we’ve tuned into the last episode of a jungle-survival series and have no idea who any of these people are.
If it’s laughable soundbites you’ve come for instead of a script, the outlook’s a little rosier. “You need to read the flow, become the wind”, says a charisma-bypassed Édgar Ramirez, in the Swayze role, as some radical weath-redistributing leader bro called Bodhi, his name consonant only with his ripped torso. This is taken as serious advice. “Let it go,” he says of companions lost to the icecaps during a particularly soporific lull, prompting a vain hope this silly man might embark on a downtime medley of Frozen showtunes.
Most annoying of all his deeply annoying, prolifically tattooed cronies is Samsara Dietz (Teresa Palmer), who explains that her name is Sanskrit for “wanderer”, says out-of-the-blue things like “Let’s just be here”, and smiles serenely at someone’s funeral pyre. You’d happily watch the lot of them base-jump into Mount Etna.
After an early scene in which scads of dollars are dumped from the sky above an impoverished Mexican village, the movie all but drops any semblance of its death-defying high-jinx having any purpose whatsoever, except, you know, defying death. The first few of these are shot and cut with reasonable vigour, but the crazier they get, the less impact or credibility they have.
Director Ericson Core, best-known up to now for shooting the first Fast and Furious movie, is not the man to solve the problem of his film’s fast-evaporating stakes, even when he gets Bracey to punch a blackboard forcibly for emphasis, while poor Delroy Lindo, as his FBI superior, convinces himself that everything’s just about adding up.
As maths, the film sounds like a simple enough equation, but manages to deduct everything it’s doing off everything it’s already done, and winds up with an accidental minus score. And imagine what the cast went through, with a director more or less telling them to become the wind.