100% Pure Adrenaline

by , Tuesday April 25, 2017
100% Pure Adrenaline

Nobody Rides Over the Edge For Free


Point Break vs Point Break

Well that giant picture up top should give a clue as to what this blog is about, my opinions on two versions of the same film.


The 1991 original cult classic and the 2015 remake.


Why this subject for your first blog topic, why this site to host it. Both good questions, and well honestly because It's the first one I finished writing and because this is the only place on the intrnet I have to post it.


Ok those perfectly valid questions out of the way, here goes.


A while ago I started writing a mumble titled Ride The Wave, but never finished it. The reason being I quickly ran out of things to say. Yes it is a film I enjoyed, but I didn't (and still don't) have any idea if anyone else on here has seen it or whether they would have any interest in reading some of my thoughts about it.


Yet I copied and kept what I'd written, because I knew the remake had been released and I would eventually watch it which then might inspire me to come back to what I had already written for the mumble and finish it.


Well when I started to write Ride The Wave, it was prior to the existence of user blogs so I thought I would be doing what I'm doing here across one or more mumbles.


Only now user blogs do exist and having seen the remake and rewatched the original again a couple of times not only do I have reason to revisit it I have the space to expand it, to include the content of that mumble as a portion of this blog and go further and write more on the topic.


Now with my long rambling introduction out of the way let's get to the subject of this blog, the two movie's called Point Break the 1991 original and 2015 version.


Where better to start than...

The Original

Point Break 1991

I will start by telling you that I was about 9 or 10 the first time I watched this movie and it became a one that I watched again and again, and again and again.


I was like a four year old girl now and Frozen, I rewatched it that much, although Point Break doesn't have song's to sing along with.


Only this was an 18 certificate movie, so it has violence, bad language words and nudity so it was a little out of my age range, well it should have been.


Now just in case you don't know Point Break is an action thriller about surfing bank robbers led by Bodhi played by the late Patrick Swayze and the rookie F.B.I. Agent Johnny Utah played by Keanu Reeves, who goes undercover amongst the California surfing community to find them.


Wait, come back I know you just rolled your eyes and thought wow that sounds terrible.


Well, you're wrong it was awesome, I loved it everything from the preposterous stunts, the sometimes trashy dialogue to the rock music loaded soundtrack.


Back when I first saw it I watched it on my own and with friends who enjoyed it as much as I did, so we watched it numerous times. 


Still time passes those friends are no longer in my life and other movies came along so it had been years since I even thought about the film, but when the news of a potential remake surfaced. I brushed them aside wondering why they would want to it.


Well the remake became a reality and I for one wasn't thrilled with the idea, I didn't and still don't understand what whoever came up with the idea hoped to achieve.


All it did was make me think now would be a good time to see the Swayze/Reeves version again, to find out whether it still holds up as an entertaining movie or if it would have been better left as the memory of a childhood favourite I have since outgrown.


Finally I got hold of a copy on DVD a few weeks before I wrote my intended mumble about it. Yet I was reluctant to watch it in case as I said it had been terrible all along and I was just to young too notice.


Then one Sunday evening I was by myself and I knew it was as good a time as any and finally sat down to watch it. I think more than anything I was relieved to find I do still like it, I still like it a lot, dumb fun would be my two word review.


It really is still ridiculous in many ways, especially the bit on a plane near the end, but it is still enjoyable from start to finish and the performances of the actors gives the chemistry between the characters an enjoyable feel. 


The onscreen chemistry between Bodhi and Johnny Utah, Johnny and the main female character Tyler, Johnny and his partner/mentor Special Agent Angelo Pappas. The two of them and two of their F.B.I. colleagues, working the Bank Robbery case and their permanently angry boss Ben Harp, Bodhi and his guys all of them are different enough to make all these interesting through whole film.


The performances are what hold the film together, if you don't buy into the mentor-mentee relationship between Johnny and Angelo or friendship between Johnny and Bodhi and the growing relationship between Johnny and Tyler you won't really care about the stunts or any of the action.


Which coming from the early 90's are mainly all practical stunts and using stuntmen, not saying there aren't any special effects involved, but I imagine they were minimal, used to enhance the real action.


Still as I said if I wasn't entertained by the character interactions it wouldn't matter how good the explosions and fist fights, chases and other stunts are.


Like it never occurred to me when I was younger and watching it, but now I am a bit older and a teeny tiny bit more mature there is one moment where I hate Johnny because of a truly awful lie he tells Tyler to get closer to her to further his investigation and I now find myself kind of thinking she should have at least punched him when she inevitably discovers that deception.


Now I feel like there are moments where Bodhi doesn't seem like such a bad guy, surfing, getting high, drinking, having sex just living life to the full and not bowing down to become the insignificant stuck in a dead end job and dead end life most of us will wind up becoming.


Only then he does some things towards the end of the film that make me want to punch him so hard.


Yeah he might not be the want to rule the world or the so obsessed with money he'll do or kill anyone to get it bad guy from a lot of films, but you do see him for what he is, selfish and kind of a coward in that there is something he claims he could never do, but has no problem letting someone else do it in the hope of aiding his escape plan once his entire bank robbery hobby has gone badly wrong.


Ok now I'm not going to tell you the writing of the development of the relationship between Johnny and Tyler is the greatest you'll ever see, it might not be Oscar worthy, but for an action thriller it does the job well enough while never slowing the overall pace of the film.


Given the film is over 25 years old it still stands up, the action is still fast and exciting, particularly a foot chase and a raid on a house of bank robbery suspects. Filled with close encounters with a lawn mower, a dangerous housewife and an imaginative use of a dog.


I know it might not have the same hold on me all these years later, mainly because I have watched it so many times, but it is still rewatchable and I think anyone watches it for the first time now more than 25 years after it came out could enjoy it.


Now on to the 2015 remake.

Sadly I don't think the same can't be said for the reason behind this blog, Last Sunday I sat down with my older brother who has never seen the original film and watched the 2015 remake.


This film is none of the things I described the original as, it has none of the charm of the 1991 film, in fact it doesn't have anything to recommend it as a remake or even a good film in its own right if the 1991 version never existed.


It's not a good enough action movie because the action sequences are flat and boring to look at, sure they are filmed technically well and they are watchable but they feel lacking in other departments, there is a glossy sheen to them they don't feel as raw as the stunts in the original that to me had a rougher feel to them as if they were shot by friends who were just jumping out of an airplane together.


In fact even coming as late in the film as it does the skydiving scene in the original is still a character building moment. As Johnny finds a new joy in life and he and Bodhi still feel like they could be best friends.


Whereas here it all felt antiseptic, look I'm no cinema expert in terms of camera work and filming styles, but to me something about the colour palette seemed off and gave it the less real feeling like you know you're watching the stunt work by a stunt team particularly the skydiving scenes. Compared to the original that still feel more real to me to this day. 


Yet in a few years I think the way the stunts are filmed in this remake will seem outdated. I know might be wrong, but to me there is more authenticity in the originals, that could be because Patrick Swayze even before this film was a surfer and had skydived and in the Skydiving scenes in particular he unlike Keanu and the other actors in those scenes hardly used a stunt double.


Beyond those the main reason the stunt work falls flat to me is because of the lack of character build up, the lack of chemistry between any of the actor's, it felt like it could all have been a tv commercial. It could well have ended with them sticking the name of a product for male adult incontinence and would not have felt out of place.


Beyond my feeling of the filming of the stuntwork and the poor attempt to build any kind of friendship or rivalry between this Johnny and Bodhi there is also the fact that for me the tone of this film is wrong.


It felt to me as if they deliberately set out to make a more serious film, what humour there was in the original is absent here, honestly I don't remember a single joke or intentionally funny scene from the film.


Well ok they decided to go with a different tone than the original that would be fine if it actually worked, which I don't think it does.


I don't feel it really works as a straight thriller about an undercover agent because this Johnny never really feels as if he's in danger of having his cover blown, there is a plot reason revealed later on, but it didn't feel especially real to me, more like it happened because it was in the script even it never felt to me like a properly thought through plot development.

I know it may sound like it from what I've said so far, but I don't think this remake was terrible, it wasn't, it isn't a good movie the major thing wrong for it for me is it is just dull, it is an action movie supposedly yet it is forgettable.


None of the characters had the personality of the originals.


Where it was changed with one exception felt mostly as if they were changed for the sake of making differences to the source material rather than beause they genuinely added something new to the story.


Something that in my opinion definitely didn't add anything to the story was a new and completely unneccssary tragic backstory for Johnny. 


He's not as he was in the first movie a former college football jock who joined the F.B.I because a blown knee ruined his shot at a pro football career, here he's atoning for the guilt he feels over the death of a friend in a stupid accident seven years earlier.


Here's a hint if he grabbed his friend rather than the bike his friend probably survives, and the rest of this movie doesn't happen, but that's just my opinion.


Anyway this new backstory also completely changes the point of Johnny's character and his arc compared to his through the first film.


In the original Keanu Reeves Johnny is a fish out of water when trying to infiltrate the surfing community he's never surfed a day in his life, he is in fact quite mocking of grown men who surf and of Pappas idea that he learn to surf for his cover.


Now Luke Bracey as Johnny is a former Extreme Sports Star, he  knows how to ride dirt bikes, to skydive, basejump and yes surf, in this version he doesn't need to learn to surf so there's no longer any real need for the Tyler character, which is why she is replaced in this by Samsara played by Teresa Palmer. A fellow extreme sports fanatic and friend of the new Bodhi played by Edgar Ramirez.


Teresa Palmer's Samsara's does have a difference over Lori Petty who played Tyler a standard female love interest to Johnny in the original that could have been an improvement except it's wasted.


Once that difference is exposed coming close to the end of the film it is quickly forgotten as we move on to Johnny pursuing Bodhi, but as I never felt the Johnny and Samsara relationship held the same emotional weight as Johnny and Tyler the twist in this one is so easily moved on from because it never feels like more than a fling two characters have.


I didn't really feel they laid the ground work to earn it making all their scenes together fairly forgettable.


Back to new Johnny who isn't named Johnny Utah in this, no Utah is a nickname from his extreme sport's days that he doesn't like and seems embarrassed about. Maybe they feel Utah is too silly a character name in this more serious version. Only then you realise they have a character named Samsara, so that can't be it if that. If it isn't the case then quite what this change is supposed to add eludes me.


This Johnny now being an expert in all the extreme sports Bodhi and his guys participate in, (with the exception of bare knuckle fighting where he does get his ass kicked).


Has no need to screw up and endear himself to Tyler and with Bodhi he can't find the fact he is being drawn into this world or that seeing something of a free spirit even he didn't know exists inside him is a reason the 1991 Bodhi befriends 1991 Johnny, that wet behind the ears charm and genuiene earnestness is what draws Tyler to him.


Well that plus the lie he told her that has me certain there would never be a happy ending for them as a couple once that film is over.


Here they become friends because they meet at a party and that's pretty much it. Bodhi recognises Johnny for the former star he used to be and seemingly just accepts him into the gang, even Roach, the tough guy of the gang doesn't really challenge him always hanging around them asking questions.


Here the members of Bodhi's gang are pretty indistinguishable from one and other they spoke with European accents and in hushed tones which made it hard for me to hear or understand everything they said.


Still as most of it seems to have been about absolutely nothing, them spouting mumbo jumbo because now they're eco warriors on a spiritual quest to fulfill an insane eight part task started by some already dead famous extreme sports fanatic they all idolize.


It is filled with utterly banal dialogue about how he believed it would bring them closer to the Earth and highlight the damage man is doing to the only world we've got to live on. (A noble thing to highlight for sure), but here it gives the film a pretentious tone, almost coming across as lecturing the viewer with how it's less than subtlety injected into moments between these characters. 


Now the original had some lines from Bodhi and his gang about how they were on a journey to free themselves from the daily drudgery of the 9 to 5 working day of the average working man.


To show them the Human Spirit is still alive. However in that film they didn't hammer you over the head with it in almost every character interaction.


The worst thing about this Point Break remake. Is that it isn't really anything to do with the original it's just a dull action film with a vaguely similar plot and the Point Break name slapped on in a desperate attempt to get people to see it.


Well that backfired because no who saw the original whether they liked it or not, but particularly if they did. Had any interest seeing anyone other Swayze and Reeves in these roles. 


Even in the supporting roles, Gary Busey bought way more life and intensity to Angelo Pappas than Ray Winstone. Who is now a weird hybrid of an FBI agent with a British/American accent spoken most of the time in what sounds like an impersonation of Christian Bale's Batman voice in The Dark Knight Trilogy. Yet putting as much effort into this role as he does in the betting ads he appears in.


Character wise 1991 Pappas played by Busey is an experienced agent already investigating the Ex-Presidents bank robbery crew. In this version I cannot remember a single thing Winstone's Pappas contributed to the investigation.


Same for Delroy Lindo as Instructor Hall and Theresa Palmer as Samsara compared to John C. McGinley as Ben harper and Lori Petty as Tyler, Delroy has a completely different character with a different relationship to Johnny and Pappas that in this is straightforward and leaning towards boring. 


Whereas the interactions between the three in the main film are where some of the laughs come from right up until the climax when things have gone seriously wrong for Johnny and by extension Angelo as well.


As I've said Lori Petty is in the original, Thersa Palmer just appears in the remake. I honestly think you could edit all her scenes out of the movie and it wouldn't make any difference. Whereas Lori's Tyler is important she does make her scenes count and it would make the 1991 film a mess if you cut her role from the film.


The supporting cast of the original James LeGros as Roach, Bojesse Christohper as Grommet and John Philbin as Nathaniel do more to make you feel like they are part of the gang/family for Patrick Swayze's Bodhi than Matias Varela and Clemens Schick do as Grommet and Roach.


There is also an extra character that doesn't exist in the original, a money man who finances Bodhi and his gang's exploits, now it wasn't clear to me if he was was just putting up the money for their attempts to complete the Ozaki Eight that spiritual quest I mentioned earlier, or if he is paying for or really even aware of their criminal activities.


Either way he is a character who shows up at the various parties thrown during the movie and yet adds little if anything to the plot.


I have no reason to believe that I will ever sit through the remake again, but the Keanu/Swayze original is something I know I will rewatch, most definitely more than once before I ride the last wave of my life.


See as I sum up I would say I noticed how much of the portion of this blog meant to be spent talking about the remake is instead talking about the 1991 original and that it to my mind towers over the new version in every way I can think of.


None more so than in the acting stakes as I said even the smaller roles feel more real in the original because of the acting. Swayze was a very good actor and he stars in two other films that may not make it onto my best of all time list, but they are good movies that I have seen on more than one occasion. Roadhouse and Ghost, two quite different films that highlight him as an action star who could do martial arts and the fights from Roadhouse and as a leading man in a romantic drama in Ghost.


Gary Busey if you don't know plays a pyschotic villain in the original Lethal Weapon film and is a villain in another film that features skydiving Drop Zone where he is the bad guy opposite Wesley Snipes. So him being the good guy is a nice change and demonstrates how good he can be in two different roles.


Now although I have to tell you that he does appear in two of my other favourite films of all time.I'm not going to tell you that the other leading man in the original Keanu Reeves is one of the greatest actor's of all time, he isn't, but it isn't just in this Keanu also manages to shine in other movies against other arguably better actors.


Speed, in case you have somehow never heard of it is action thriller from the 1990s he stars opposite Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Daniels and Joe Morton all of whom are likely better actors and he stars in The Matrix a fantastic Sci-Fi action movie. Opposite Laurence Fishburne and Hugo Weaving who pretty much everyone will tell you are better actors than Reeves.


Recently starring in two John Wick thrillers opposite other probably better actors and I will tell you how he has done this what he has over Luke Bracey in this part is charisma and translates it into screen presence.


From the star of this throughtout his career from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure it is charasma and his seeming likeability that let him get away with not being as good as other actors he works with. Yet still bring the character he plays to life.


Now I don't want to be to hard on Luke, because I have seen another movie with him in where he has more range than this film would let you believe. It is a film called Me, Him, Her a sort of romantic comedy. Now I didn't care much for that film, but at least it let me see that Luke can do more and his being in it would not put me off watching a film he's in, yet he is so bland and frankly awful in the remake that you would think he is just a truly terrible actor.


I don't understand why he choose or why they chose for him to play Johhny this way, so straight so humourless so stiff and bland it is almost an unforgivable mistake to change him that much when I think Luke could have played a closer to 1991 Johnny so much easier and better.


Edgar Ramirez as far as I know I haven't seen him in anything else so I can't tell if he can be better than he is in this, but he was absolutely the wrong choice to play Bodhi, especially if the rumour is true that they wanted originally Chris Hemsworth, now he could have played a closer to Swayze version of Bodhi that might have elevated this film.


They didn't and the version we got is so different and to Swayze's Bodhi and doesn't add anything he is a bland euro villain, with no redeeming qualties, ok I said 1991 Bodhi is kind of an a**hole, but this one has no regard for human life he is a killer and has no wamer side to him that you, well I certainly would ever feel anything for him. No reason I feel why other than they are also all a**holes that people would gravitate to him and be friends with him in the way Swayze's Bodhi feels like a fairly cool guy who could be friends with a lot of people even if they aren't criminals in on his lifestyle.


Bodhi and his crew in this feel closer in character to a second group of surfers from the 1991 version, in that they are clearly bad guys and Bodhi is shown to dislike and distrust them even getting into a fight with Johnny with them. See the more I write about it the more things I think about what they got wrong and did so badly in this film that make it unrecognisable from the film it is supposed to be a remake of and none of those changes are in any way improvements, they just create a totally unlikeable cast of characters in an unlikeable film set in many bland European locations.


Although as I said above -have no reason to believe I will ever sit through the remake again - there is the slim chance that someday out of curiosity, if I were to stumble upon it on tv and there is nothing else on and I have nothing else to do, I might watch the remake again, if only to see if it is as bad as I thought it was the first time.


As I have been known to change my mind about a film upon a second viewing, but I would not feel bad if I never saw it again. It would not bother me if I never ever sat through a scene or the whole movie again.


If it seems like I'm being unnessacarily harsh on the new one and going easy on the old one, well you might have a point.


To which my answer would be to say that it is my belief that if it were reverse and the 2015 version were the original and the 1991 Keanu Reeves/Patrick Swayze version had just been released as the remake to it, I would be saying the exact same things with the addition of praising it for being better than the original. Having more heart in its story and being more visceral and more thrilling in it's execution.


I don't believe if this remake had been the first to get made there would have been a remake because it would have faded into obscurity, I don't honestly think it would have earned a cinema release at all instead would have been a straight put to video as it was back then along with who knows how many other instantly forgettable films.


I may have been harsh, but those are my opinions.


How about you out there, have you seen either version, have you seen both did you like them did you hate them let me know what you thought in the comment section.


You know I'm not the one who thought of it, but if you must see a remake of Point Break then watch the one they had already been made way before 2015, this one was released in 2001 called The Fast and The Furious.


Seriously if you think about the basic plot for the first Fast and Furious film undercover agent in with a bunch of free spirited speed freaks as opposed to surfers with a criminal activities as a side job and the naive young agent is drawn towards the gang leader and falls in love with a woman connected to it. That is pretty much the basic plot for Point Break.


Anyway that's me done now finally, so I'll just sign off with these words.

Viya Con Dios.

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