Tag Archives: Remake

Point Break

Point Break

“This is my path. Let me follow it.”

We’ve all said these words haven’t we?

“Why does Hollywood keep remaking stuff. Just come up with something original.”

Back in 1991, when Kathryn Bigelow made the original Point Break is was just that, original. A young, newly transferred FBI agent reluctantly goes undercover on the beaches of Los Angeles when a hair-brained theory emerges that a string of unsolvable bank robberies are being perpetrated by surfers. Pretty unique, if you ask me.

So, in the latest move from Hollywood’s remake machine – the churn-em-out-o-matic 3000 – we get a dulled down, 12 rated cop “thriller” based around the world of extreme sport. Ladies and gentlemen, Point Break.

After tragedy hits extreme sports star and Monster energy drink peddler Johnny Utah, while working on his most insane YouTube video, the motocross star hangs up his helmet and works to join the FBI. In his last days at the academy, Utah and his class are introduced to a daredevil band of thieves who defeat impossible odds to make their score and make their getaway. With a willingness to go further than the police are to chase them, the bandits seem unstoppable as they dare to ride motorbikes out of a 100 storey window and parachute to safety.

But Utah knows this world. Quickly figuring out that these thieves are trying to complete the “Ozaki Eight”; a series of trials and ordeals that a person must go through to become one with the Earth. The robberies they commit are the groups way of taking from the rich and the corrupt and returning it to those that need it – like Robin Hood, but on surfboards, and bikes, and snowboards, and without the pansy green tights – Utah convinces his superiors he can bring these guys to justice and is sent to the location of the next trial to meet up with his new partner, Pappas, and sets about infiltrating the group. Insanity ensues as the extreme sportsman proves himself to the daring robbers and attempts to put an end to their crimes, and their journey of enlightenment.

I refuse to be completely negative about this flick, so I’ll start with the one good bit Point Break has; its sports action scenes look great. They are filmed well and look absolutely gorgeous. Sadly, that’s the only good thing I can say about this two hour farce of a movie.

Right, let’s get down to this. Point Break fails miserably as a remake of what is a great cop thriller. The entire, err, point, of the original is that Keanu Reeves’ Johnny Utah spends the movie gaining enlightenment where the men he’s chasing have already achieved what they we’re searching for. Here, Utah (a nickname in the remake, he mentioned his real name once but I forgot/couldn’t be bothered to remember it) is trying to stop these guys seeking nirvana. He makes no personal growth, no feeling that he might not be doing the right thing, there’s no struggle for this former peddler of energy drinks outside of having to live with the bloody awful hairstyle the FBI have apparently let him keep.

Moving on, for those that haven’t seen the original; Bodie and his crew of “Ex-Presidents” – another detail missing from this abomination – are bank robbers. Not murderers. It’s not their way, it’s not what they’re about and it damn sure isn’t the best way to keep yourself out of prison; with the first death at one of their robberies being where things start to go horribly wrong. New Bodie – or Bro-die, as I will now be calling him – however, seems to be perfectly content leaving bodies everywhere he goes. It doesn’t just miss the point of the original, it’s in direct contradiction to the idea of “giving back to the earth” and “finding nirvana and enlightenment” that this waste of film tries to convince us is the point to the groups existence.

This abomination of a film, with almost no redeeming value as entertainment, is a completely lifeless waste of your time. To call it macho is to give it far too much credit and its actors far too much praise. Point Break only really serves to show us what imbeciles these guys look like as they potter around, using stupid made-up words like poly-athlete and pretending to be doing good and giving back as they take sponsorship from a rich Arab dude who lives vicariously through these idiots. Bodie and Utah, the charismatic pair with genuine love and admiration for each other in the original have been turned into a couple of brofisting cocks with all the personality and charisma of an old condom found on the beach. The not-very-dynamic duo spend the almost two hour runtime throwing cups full of old hangover piss over the memory of arguably one of the best cop films of the early nineties.

I can’t imagine this film, which is nothing more than a twat filled douche canoe, populated with very bad tattoos and topknots on cardboard cutouts of unlikeable bellends, having anything for audiences that have never seen the classic Point Break outside of some very nice snowboarding footage – which, to be honest, comes part of a much more enjoyable film if you can sit through xXx – but for fans of the original, this will have you rummaging through your pockets for anything you can push through your eyes, just to make the pain of what you’re watching end. To call this remake pointless and unnecessary is more than stating the obvious at this point, it’s an awful experience that serves no purpose other than to take up screen space where a decent film could have been shown.

The Week In Film – 17 September 2014: The Age of Remakes

Welcome to the Week In Film! Steve returns from a short break to provide you with a round-up of everything worth knowing in the world of film that has occurred in the past week.

by Steve Norman (@StevePN86)

age of ultronAge of Ultron

The slow drip feed of info about the next instalment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe continued this week as a brief synopsis of Avengers: Age of Ultron was released.

It revealed that Ultron was not created by Tony Stark, as previously thought due to Hank Pym not being introduced as of yet, but Tony Stark ‘releases’ Ultron by messing about with some old tech stuff.

With this in mind could we be seeing a Pym/Ant-Man cameo in Age of Ultron? And with a Doctor Strange movie announced and strong rumours of a Black Panther movie could we see either a cameo or mention of these popular Marvel characters?

I Know What You Did In a Summer Ages and Ages Ago

Sony are looking to remake I Know What You Did Last Summer. While it was an enjoyable teen slasher film, is there really any need to reboot it? I imagine they will attempt to spawn a franchise.

Hollywood needs some new ideas. The amount of remakes, reimaginings, prequels and sequels is getting pathetic.

Another Remake

Ben Hur is set for a rehash by Hollywood. Charlton Heston starred in the successful original, famous for its chariot race and Jack Huston and Morgan Freeman are set to star in a new version written by 12 Years A Slave’s John Ridley due for a 2016 release.

Despite a good cast and noted writer on board, whenever a film of this ilk is due for modernising it makes me think of a mediocre singer trying to belt out Whitney Huston on the X-Factor.ben hur

Bourne Again

More sequel news as Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass have agreed to return to the Bourne franchise. Previously it was thought that the character had gone as far as it could and Damon stated he would not return without Greengrass, which is what led to the reasonable but not as good as the originals Jeremy Renner outing.

How this will tie in with the Renner ‘Legacy’ film (if at all) and any further plot details are some way off, but if it is as good as the first three…? There’s certainly potential for expansion in this franchise.

An Original Origin Story

It appears that almost every character on the silver screen must, at some point, have an origin story movie. Judge Dredd looks set to have one, based on the comics, but King Kong, whose early life on Skull Island has only been briefly touched on in other cinematic outings, and looks set to get his own movie looking at the back story of the big monkey.

Max Borenstein is set to write. He is the same man who wrote the recent Godzilla movie so he has experience when it comes to monster movies and perhaps we could see some lizard vs. ape action in the future.

Tom Hiddleston is set to star, in what role we do not know. Perhaps as a motion capture monkey.

Join us again next week, where we will return to give us another round up of the latest in film news.

Brick Mansions

Although there’s little here if you’ve seen District 13, Brick Mansions still sufficiently justifies its existence with fun lead turns and a rejiggered finale.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

brick mansionsFilms like Brick Mansions primarily exist because studios (depressingly rightly, I must add) believe that people from English-speaking countries don’t want to watch perfectly serviceable and exciting action films in foreign languages.  As a result, any time that such a film is released and does reasonably well, a countdown clock practically appears above its head to the inevitable English-language remake; oftentimes ridiculously similar to the original to boot because “Hey, it’s not like anybody except snobby film students will have seen the original, right?  It’s not like they’re going to notice!”  That’s not to say that they’re always bad films, after all they are often ripping straight from great damn movies, but it does mean that they often fail to justify their own existences.

Some of those films, however, decide to alter the source material in certain ways.  Sometimes that involves Americanising the product to supposedly make it more palatable to audiences, sometimes it involves altering certain plot twists and plot points in an attempt to “out-do” the original.  Usually, all this serves to do is lower the resulting product; yeah, it now has a reason for existing but it’s also kinda lost what made the source material entertaining in the first place.  Brick Mansions, a remake of a 2004 French action film by the name of District 13,tries both, applying American action film techniques to the original’s parkour-focussed setpieces and futzing about with what was a perfectly great and usable final half hour.  The result, yes, does make the film inferior to the original but it still copies, and leaves well enough alone, enough of the things that made District 13 work to make a very fun action film for people who may not have seen the original.

So, the year is 2018 and Detroit has been classed as the single most dangerous and crime-ridden city in America (people from Detroit, feel free to crack your self-deprecatory jokes about the ludicrousness of this premise now, we’ll wait).  In response, the city’s authorities walled off a particularly troublesome section of the city, rechristened it Brick Mansions and left it to its own devices.  Well, until the leader of the area’s drug trade, Tremaine (RZA, who will henceforth be referred to in this review by a different one of his many aliases each time he comes up), somehow acquires a nuclear bomb that will detonate in 12 hours and blow Brick Mansions off the face of the Earth.  Enter undercover detective Damien Collier (the late Paul Walker) who is assigned the task of breaking into Brick Mansions in order to disarm the bomb, along with his own personal mission of getting revenge on Tremaine, who killed his father.  He’s paired with Leno (David Belle in the exact same role he played in the original), seemingly the only honest citizen in Brick Mansions, and who also holds a grudge against Tremaine for kidnapping his ex-girlfriend (Catalina Denis).

As those who have seen the original will already be able to tell, this is pretty much the same set-up as that for District 13 and, for about the first hour, events progress as they did in that film with little deviation.  Tremaine is still quick to kill anybody who proves themselves to be the slightest bit useless, Leno and Damien still have a slow-burn burgeoning respect for one another and the pre-plot prologue for Leno is pretty much the exact same as before.  The time-span has been considerably shrunken down (there’s no six month time-skip in addition to that reduced detonation timer), K2’s (here named Big Cecil) role has been down-sized to the point of near-irrelevance with the majority of his material instead being given over to a new, possibly-lesbian female bodyguard by the name of Rayza (it’s that kind of film, folks, get with the program), Lola (the new name for Leno’s ex-girlfriend) is more pro-active in trying to escape seeing as she’s no longer a junkie and there’s Damien’s reason for wanting Tremaine to go down, but other than that it’s basically the same first hour, plot-wise.

Yes, I do realise that I basically just spent an entire paragraph listing a whole bunch of changes.  They’re incidental to the main story, the same beats are still hit by both films, so my point still stands.

The biggest change to how the film feels comes when it’s time for action scenes to happen which, this being a 90 minute on-the-dot action film, tends to happen quite a fair bit.  District 13 shot its action scenes clearly, lots of wide-angles with longer takes and more distant shots in order to set up a good sense of scale and to better display what its actors are doing.  Brick Mansions is an American film, however, and so most of the action scenes are shot in handheld shaky-cam with very conspicuously cheap CG, quick takes and lots of close-ups; not enough to be incomprehensible but enough to clearly stifle the impact of most of the sequences like Leno’s opening escape from Tremaine’s men.  Perhaps to compensate for this, most of the parkour has been stripped out of the film.  Instead, there’s a bit more variety with more fight scenes and a car chase or two thrown into the equation.  The suffocating shooting and editing keep them from becoming memorably great but they’re all fun, they’re all well-paced and they’re mostly exciting.

In fact, fun is what I would most characterise Brick Mansions.  Much like District 13, this is a film that knows just how silly it is and never fails to embrace that silliness.  Even though the propulsive French electro score that backed the original has been jettisoned for Generic Hollywood Action Thriller Score #173, every action scene is paced and filled with beats designed more to make you laugh and feel like you’re having a good time than to be played serious.  An early action scene for Damien involves him chasing down Morris O’Brien from 24 by clinging onto the back of his car as it speeds through downtown traffic late at night, for example.  Dialogue, meanwhile, is very knowingly silly and trashy, all quippy one-liners and tenuously linked villainous monologues and having certain characters angrily proclaim that somebody has “gone soft” when they “pussy out” on something.  We’re not operating at Fast & Furious levels of fun camp here, even if, again, the main crux of the plot involves the disarming of a nuclear bomb, but it’s got that kind of breezy and easy-to-get-swept-up-in easy-going nature which is nice to see in an action film, nowadays.

In that respect, Paul Walker was a very canny casting choice for the lead role.  He brings the same natural charm and laidback charisma that he brought to the Fast & Furious franchise by, basically, playing the straight man to the mayhem around him.  David Belle gets to be the cool badass capable of ridiculous feats, Bobby Digital needs to be a hammy old-school Bond villain, Morris @’Brien from 24 has to be a really hammy old-school Bond villain and Aylia Issa as Rayza pretty much just plays psycho-lesbian, so Walker is kinda forced into Straight Man by default.  He is great, though; the man knew how to time his quips or how to adequately express his disbelief at events unfolding with a non-verbal rolling of the eyes or terrified “OH CRAP!” facial reaction and he puts them to good use, as well as striking up a very natural chemistry with Belle.  If this was going to be Walker’s career trajectory after Fast & Furious wound down, then it’s an extra shame that we lost him, really, because he is a very good fit for this kind of film.

That’s not to say this is totally Walker’s show, though.  Even with a very noticeably dubbed-in voice, Belle is a capable enough co-lead.  He never flubs any line readings, there’s the aforementioned chemistry with Walker and he’s got a good screen presence.  Carlo Rota (who I keep unprofessionally referring to as Morris O’Brien from 24 because I’m horrible like that) makes a very good impression with his short screen time, getting the chance to indulge in all of his hammiest impulses.  And as for The King Ruler Zig-Zag-Zig Allah?  Yeah, he’s pretty great.  The film futzes with its last half hour in a way that really shouldn’t work but Rzarector manages to force it into working by sheer willpower and charisma.  But even before that comes around, Prince Rakeem still puts in good fun work, he even manages to make a clunky shoehorning in of a reference to one of the Wu-Tang Clan’s most notable hits come off… not as horrifically awkward as it could have.

Speaking of Bobby Boulders, there is a reason why I keep noting that the first hour is mostly the same as that of District 13’s.  See, Brick Mansions decides that the outcome of District 13 is not good enough for it and rejiggers a lot of the last half hour.  Anybody who has seen District 13 will probably have all the alarm bells going off, right now, cos I know I did when it started happening but I should note that, weirdly, it kinda works.  Again, this is primarily thanks to the work of The Razor but it’s also because it still sticks to the tone of both the film up to that point and the original film it’s based on.  That non-cynical, ridiculous yet charming and feel-good ending still exists, but the path to get there is altered and waylaid in order to get the message (which District 13 did have but mostly left content to bubble under the surface) across in a much louder and more obvious context.  More cynical viewers will instead see it as the film trying to shoot down any possible claims of it being racist (this is a film in which two white guys beat their way across a neighbourhood of villains who happen to be predominately black) and it reeeeally stretches past the point of believability, but it somehow worked because the tone stayed consistent and some anvils need dropping every now and again.

That being said, Brick Mansions is not some kind of masterwork, it’s not some super important movie and it’s nowhere near being better than the original, mainly down to the action scenes being filmed in that one bad way that Hollywood knows how to shoot action scenes and which we really should stop encouraging by this point.  What it is, though, is a fast, light and fun action romp that doesn’t have a bad bone in its body and a very good set of lead performances.  If you have seen District 13, there’s little for you here unless you’re dying to see the futzed around-with-finale.  If you haven’t and you don’t want to because subtitles, or you have and you just want a fun way to kill 90 minutes, than Brick Mansions really is worth your time.  It just about justifies its existence.

Callum Petch is causing more family feuds than Richard Dawson.  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

The Failed Critics Podcast: Kissing girls, Danny Dyer, and our biggest omnishambles yet

CarrieIt had to happen sometime, and it’s taken 91 episodes, but this is possibly the most shambolic podcast ever committed to the Internet. And for us, that’s saying something. Owen manages to confuse two very different TV programmes, Steve doesn’t watch the one film he was meant to, and while trying to make a very important point James manages to forget the name of a film, the actress in it, and what she said.

It’s not a complete bust of an episode though, and there are reviews of the Carrie remake, Palm d’Or winner Blue is the Warmest Colour, and Parkland. James also talks about the best and the worst films he’s seen so far this year.

Join us next week for reviews of Homefront and Oldboy.



Failed Critics: Episode 12 – The Amazing Spider-Man

In honour The Amazing Spiderman – this week’s Failed Critics has been rebooted for a modern audience. We are going to give you the origin story of how James, Steve, Gerry and Owen first met. Starring Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Tom Hardy, and Vincent Cassell.

Or we could just review The Amazing Spiderman and tell you how we would remake/reboot movies we think need a makeover.

James also reviews the worst film he has seen so far this year, Steve turns into a later-day Bob Holness (he’s too young to get the reference), and Gerry sounds like he’s on the same continent as us and NOT being attacked by an angry wasp. Owen just did well not to get confused with Gerry if we’re honest.

This week’s running time is a frankly epic two hours and five minutes. We won’t apologise, but we are taking steps to try and keep all future podcasts under 90 minutes.

We hope you enjoy this extended episode though!