If you have cognitive disabilities or don't understand a word of English!
I went to the Hollywood black carpet premier of Point Break last night on the arm of snowboarding half pipe Olympic gold medalist Iouri Podladtchikov. I wore Dior and Iouri wore Costume National. I saw old friends like Raimana van Bastolear and Mark Healey and met new ones like Albee Layer and Jaws champ Billy Kemper. We took pictures etc.
Eventually we were all herded off the black carpet and into the grand Chinese Theater, given 3-D glasses and sent to our seats. It was, obviously, a full house.
The lights dimmed, the movie flickered, and from the very first word spoken it was clear that it was going to be a grotesque bastardization of an already, let’s be honest, silly film. The Utah character sits on a motorcycle and talks to his friend about doing some impossible line and they gotta do it because that’s what the sponsors want, bro, and also YouTube hits, like, millions. Utah’s tattoos are even uglier than his campy action sports dialogue.
Tragedy strikes and we next see Utah in an FBI classroom and you know the story! Except you don’t because Utah uses words like “polyathlete.” He’s a polyathlete because he does many different action sports. Etc.
And it is gag me with a spoon bad. Ham-fisted, bizarre drivel. Hollywood’s wet dream of what action sports kids are, what they do and how they speak is so completely and shockingly off, still, after all these years that it has become a wonder. The director/producers/writers of this film either think they’re shreds so, therefore, don’t need any help writing dialogue/crafting story or…I don’t know. I just don’t know. The director was wearing a bandana around his head and had two loop earrings on the carpet so maybe that explains everything.
Right when I was ready to shove my 3-D glasses deep into my ears the action really hit and it was at Teahupo’o, even though it is supposed to be off the coast of France, and wow. Just wow. Aside from the necessary Laird Hamilton on a ski cameo and everyone cheering loudest for kick-outs it is wonderful. This is where the film shines. This is where the director accepted maybe more creative input from the people who actually do the things he is trying to make a movie about.
And Teahupo’o is the low water mark. The snowboarding, wingsuit flying, rock climbing, motorcycling bits completely titillate. All the way until there are step-offs at 100+ Cortes Bank. They are shot spectacularly and the athletes soar.
But when the narrative is re-entered the film is a dead fish. The Utah character is fine and the Bodhi character is fine but they ain’t no Keanu Reeves + Pat Swayze. Keanu played dumb jock well and Swayze played Dirty Dancing well. The new Utah is an empty Australian vessel with unfortunate hair. The new Bodhi character is something of a revelation, I must admit. The best acting in the film aside from Iouri Podladtchikov’s line in the Austrian mansion. The Angelo Pappas character is completely gutted. Not even a shadow of Gary Busey. The Lori Petty character is cute but smeared in hideous tattoos. Anthony Kiedis is nowhere.
The biggest problem, though, in a constellation of problems, is that there is no reason to cheer for Utah or cheer against Bodhi. In the first film, Bodhi was selfish, at the end, and probably narcissistic. This Bodhi is a perfect eco-warrior. A selfless saint. And when Utah picks the FBI over him it is nonsensically jarring, frustrating even.
So there you go. This film will probably put “action sports” back about 20 years. It is that bad. But as I sat in my seat, I reveled in the fact that the great Hollywood surf film is yet to be made. That makes me very very happy because it is still out there, hiding in the bushes, maybe getting aloe rubbed into its reef cuts.