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 spate of crimes in extremely unusual ways. Deep undercover, and with his life in imminent danger, Utah strives to prove they are the architects of this string of inconceivable crimes.
I can't fathom a reason why Kathryn Bigelow's action drama 'Point Break' was rebooted. Well, actually I can. With Hollywood entrenched in its rebooting, rehashing, remaking ways, it was only a matter of time until they double-backed on kind-of-popular titles and started redoing them.
Sure, the original 'Point Break' has its fans. It has its memorable moments, chief among them being the moment when Keanu's character Johnny Utah shoots his gun into the air while yelling, because he can't bring himself to shoot his new criminal friend Bodhi (Patrick Swayze). It's a scene made all the more memorable by being spoofed in Edgar Wright's 'Hot Fuzz.' And that's about the extent to which 'Point Break' should be remembered.
Then along comes a reboot of it, starring a range of semi-known and unknown faces following along the same plot points. Here Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey) is an ex-motocross star who blames himself for the death of his friend and teammate. Now, in order to atone for his past – or something – Utah joins up with the FBI. He's given up the adrenaline junkie lifestyle and is now gunning for a suit and tie job with the feds.
Luckily Utah comes into the FBI at the same time a team of well-organized criminals are pulling off elaborate heists. Their international robberies are unusual because – surprise, surprise – they're using extreme sports techniques to pull them off.
Here the high-octane scenes of base jumping, motocross racing, free climbing, free diving, and surfing monstrous waves seem more like commercials for GoPro cameras than a coherent, engaging cinematic narrative.
The biggest problem is that none of the characters have any charisma, which at least could be said for Reeves and Swayze in the original. Here Bracey, and Edgar Ramirez (who plays Bodhi) are wooden stand-ins.
Once Utah predictably infiltrates Bodhi's team the sequences play out exactly like we think they will. Perhaps this remake would play better with someone like Chris Hemsworth as Bodhi. Someone that can engage the audience, but also exude that unattainable coolness Swayze had.
There's little in the way of interest here, as audiences attested to. The 2015 'Point Break' failed to even reach the box office numbers of the original. It barely made over half and that's without adjusting for any inflation. While box office numbers shouldn't be used in many cases in proving whether a film is good or bad, here it creates a startling realization. A realization that remakes aren't instant moneymakers.
This new 'Point Break' seemed like it was created as a way to inject a slim narrative into an extreme sports video montage. Like how some adult movies follow a thin plotline just because why not? The real tragedy is that besides the sequence where Utah and his new criminal friends don wingsuits and jump off a really tall mountain, the rest of the action scenes – surfing, climbing, snowboarding – are all rather tame.
So it's little surprise that the remake of 'Point Break' falls resoundingly flat on all fronts. Hell, you can go on Youtube and find hundreds of videos showing the exact stuff Bodhi and his gang do here – minus the criminal activity. There's nothing here that warrants a remake. Revisiting this “franchise” was a waste of Warner Bros. money and now they know that.
Vital Disc Stats: The Ultra HD Blu-ray
'Point Break' storms 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray as part of a two-disc combo pack that includes one Ultra HD Blu-ray, one (2D) Blu-ray housing the movie and all the special featurers, and a Digital HD redemption code that works with iTunes and UltraViolet. If you redeem your code via VUDU, you gain access to the UHD version with Dolby Vision HDR. Honestly, thanks to its deal with VUDU, Warners is currently offering the best of all worlds with their Ultra HD combo packs.
'Point Break' surfs onto Ultra HD Blu-ray with a 2160p HVEC encode graded for HDR10 / WCG and framed in the film's original 2.40:1 aspect ratio.
There are very few differences between this Ultra HD Blu-ray and its 1080p counterpart, much of this due to the muted and endlessly green color palette. I suspect another part of this is thanks to the excellent job the colorist did with the Rec 709 HD version, managing to pack it with deep blacks and highlight details, and the Samsung K8500 is a solid upscaler.
That's not to say this movie looks bad in any way. In fact, there are some noticeable benefits for pixel peepers. A slight uptick in sharpness. Bright moments, in this case back-lighting and explosions, get a little more detail too. Otherwise, it's a very similar experience to watching the Blu-ray.
As a demonstration, I suggest running the movie from the 19 minute mark to 23 minutes. There are two separate scenes, showcasing surfing with a cloudy background, diving under the water with shadows and back-light, and a night scene aboard a yacht with light reflecting off the waves and Bodhi's black hair against a black sky. In A-to-B tests, the 4K Blu-ray is sharper, presents brighter more realistic highlights, and reveals a little more ocean surface detail (the night shot). It's definitely an improvement, but for my two cents, not a dramatic enough. For example, I was hard pressed to find drastically more shadow detail or even deeper black levels, and as we've come to expect, CGI becomes, at times, slightly more cartoonish in HDR.
Overall, while it provides a pretty picture at times (assuming you adore green), 'Point Break' doesn't represent the best that 4K Ultra HD HDR can offer.
Also, it's worth noting that playing this Ultra HD Blu-ray on a non-HDR display results in an image that's pretty darn close to the Blu-ray. On a 1080p display, you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference, and on a non-HDR 4K display, you'll see barely a hint of increased sharpness. As such, there's little reason to play this disc on anything but an HDR10 capable display.
The Ultra HD Blu-ray offers the same 7.1 DTS-HD MA mix as its Blu-ray counterpart. Here's what Aaron had to say about it:
Well, this is a strange one. When 'Point Break' was first announced for Blu-ray Warner said the disc would come complete with a Dolby Atmos track. Alas, the lossless track contained on this release is actually a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix. That's not to say the 7.1 mix is bad. It's not. It's quite immersive. It's just weird that Warner never followed through with their Atmos promise.
Here we get great use of surrounds. One of the best scenes for panning effects is the wingsuit sequence. There are moments where the sound seamlessly travels from back, to sides, to front as the guys whoosh past from the top to the bottom of the frame. The rear and side channels are constantly alive with ambient and action-centric sounds. The soundtrack is endlessly pumped through the surround channels too. It almost seemed as if the surrounds were just as busy as the front and center channels.
The sub-woofer is quite busy too. There are plenty of crashing waves, gunshots, and explosions for the woofer to handle. LFE is constantly engaged and rumbling. While this may not be the Atmos title people were hoping for. It still provides a rather stellar audio mix.
'Point Break' Stunts (HD, 8 min.) – There are four brief featurettes included here that quickly cover the main extreme sports sequences in the movie – rock climbing, wingsuit flying, snowboarding, and motorcross.
Deleted Scenes (HD, 8 min.) – Four throwaway scenes are included here.
While Mr. Peck and I differ in our opinions over the original 'Point Break' -- surfing's the source, bruh -- and I was genuinly hoping to find something positive to say about the remake, I wholeheartedly agree that this reboot doesn't really work from a story, emotional, or even a stunt-n-thrills perspective.
And while this Ultra HD Blu-ray does offer an uptick in on-screen sharpness, a few improved spectral highlights, and a Digital HD copy available in VUDU UHD with Dolby Vision, there's still no object-based audio experience nor any additional special features (that's not much of a surprise). I'd say this disc is for any fans who held of on buying because they have an HDR-enabled 4K TV at home waiting to try it out. For the rest of us, Skip It.