When I was a kid, I didn’t surf. I thought about surfing a lot, but I didn’t actually surf for the first time until I was 16 or so. It didn’t even count as surfing–like most first time surfers, I just floundered around sucking water up my nose and pissing in my wetsuit, which was a borrowed john with a zip up neoprene vest. I was with my girlfriend at the time, and I had spent our courting months telling her that I surfed for a two related reasons: I was a teenager who had seen Point Break upwards of a thousand times, and I was under the impression that she would let me grope at her if I surfed. I was a teenager, and groping was the most important thing in my life. Point Break, in my muddled teenage mind, was my creepy uncle telling me how to get chicks. In a way, an action film from the early ’90s played a small role in sculpting who I am today. Weird.
She quickly realized that I didn’t surf, and now she was stuck in a 1996 Toyota Tercel with an embarrassed, gropey teenage boy who smelled strongly of piss and neoprene. While I eventually did cop that elusive grope (thanks, Ashley!) it wasn’t until much later, when I came clean and told her I was just telling her I surfed for groping’s sake. Surprisingly, this came after watching Point Break with her. Isn’t it funny how Keanu Reeves and Hollywood can have such a profound effect on one’s formative years? Point Break continued–and still is, in fact–to be one of those films that I watch over and over. I will never get sick of it.
When I first heard that Point Break was going to be remade, I was outraged. Swayze is dead. Keanu won’t be in it. And God damn it, Point Break is just too perfect the way it is. Some movies, I thought, just shouldn’t be remade. I even wrote an open letter to Gerard Butler when I heard he was in the running to play Bodhi. It was not a nice letter. He never responded, which makes sense, since he’s not actually playing Bodhi. But I had to vent, and he seemed like a good whipping boy.
Then, a few weeks ago, I went to Las Vegas for some kind of weird Hollywood movie thing that involved the new Point Break. It was the kind of thing where people who routinely dress much nicer than I do gathered to talk about movie things and eat shrimp in a very large casino that smelled faintly of liquor, quarters, and stripper perfume. It was all very glamorous. I met the new Johnny Utah. I saw bits and pieces from the film. I fell briefly in love with whatever the girl’s name is who is playing the new film’s version of Tyler Ann Endicott (female. Blue eyes, black hair. Five foot six, 119 pounds), drank too many mai tais, and after listening to Ericson Core, the director, talk about his film, left feeling like everything was going to be ok. He knew what he was getting into. He wasn’t trying to remake the perfect movie. He was merely making Point Break as though it had been filmed today. And, like Laird Hamilton said that night in Vegas, “Everything about it is just the next level up. The original Point Break set a standard at the time. And this is the new standard of our time.”
It’s not just surfing. It’s base jumping and snowboarding and wing suit flying and snowboarding. AND it’s surfing. The thing about the new Point Break is that all of the stunts are real. They filmed surf scenes at maxing Teahupoo. They threw a bunch of guys in squirrel suits down a gorge as many times as it took to get the footage they needed. The stuntmen and actors literally risked their lives for this film. If the teenagers of today are anything like me, those guys not only did it for the film, but they did it for a new generation of teenagers that will do anything to finally cop a quick feel. And you know what? If the original helped me with it, it might just do the same for the new batch of iPhone wielding, computer savvy, reckless teenagers.
Point Break is scheduled for release in 3D and 2D in theaters everywhere on December 25, 2015.