I don’t really care about Point Break. The 1991 Keanu Reeves-Patrick Swayze movie is a perfectly average episode of Generic Cop Thriller TV elevated by Swayze’s aging zen lion performance and Kathyrn Bigelow’s cinematic muscle. There are people who love it, because for everything there is someone who loves it, but this story of big wave surfers who also rob banks in ex-president masks to finance their big wave surfing — and the FBI agent who infiltrates their Sex Wax Clique — is a pleasantly thick relic of the ‘90s.
And if we weren’t caught in this Hollywood riptide of preferring to remake things instead of make them, that’s all Point Break would be. But now there’s a new Point Break heading to theaters, the first trailer for which dropped just yesterday.
And here’s my problem: The name Point Break doesn’t mean anything at all to the kids this film is so clearly aimed at. And if you are, like me, an old man, you’re then wondering why anyone would bother parking a remake of Point Break on your lawn. The reasons why Point Break lives in anyone’s heart have nothing to do with the plot and have everything to do with Keanu Reeves achieving the Eightfold Path of Full Keanu, Swayze being Yoda in a wet suit, Lori Petty playing a landlocked mermaid and Gary Busey threatening to chew everything around him. What is “special” about Point Break came through execution, not concept.
Why not simply make a original film about extreme athletes who steal from the 1 percent? The stunts look cool enough, the actors are handsome enough — why subject us to lines like “I believe that, like me, the people behind these are extreme athletes” that have to be uttered by a blandishly attractive Keanu stand-in? Why bother to shoehorn in nostalgia for a thing if the people who the nostalgia would work on will resent it for that very reason? Why not be to today what Point Break was 24 years ago: A New Thing?
Welcome to Hollywood 2015, where making a New Thing is, apparently, too hard.
Marc Bernardin is the Deputy Editor of Playboy.com. Occasionally, he’s saddened by not sharing a name with a state.