Just 24 years ago hardly anyone outside of Arkansas knew the name Clinton let alone Lewinsky. But the late ’80s and early ’90s were about to collide, as Keanu Reeves rode some gnarly waves, chasing after ’80s icon Patrick Swayze in the movie “Point Break.”
Tuesday, the trailer for the “Point Break” remake received almost a million views on YouTube, following on the heels of a successful reboot of “Mad Max.” Just as the original cult classic was emblematic of its era, the new “Point Break” sneak peak pulses with the cliff dives and CGI mountain slides of a James Bond movie in 2015.
This is a far cry from the original wistful surfer subculture that sat around drinking beers over a campfire, and occasionally threw on some not-so-veiled political commentary as they robbed banks in Nixon and Reagan masks. Sure there were the cheesy action lines: “If you want the ultimate, you have to be willing to pay the ultimate price. It’s not tragic doing what you love.”
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But there was also a sense of surfer subculture four years before the first X Games and the entrenchment of extreme sports in our culture. “To those dead soles inching along in their metal coffins,” Swayze’s Brody told a new generation who was no longer being thrilled by skinned knees on skateboards. “We show them that the free spirit is still alive.”
But just as the original “Mad Max” has been transformed from its hippie, oil-crisis origins of the late ’70s into what some critics are calling a modern fable of global warming, perhaps this new iteration of “Point Break” will tell us something about the preoccupations of our times. The bank robbers in the new films aren’t riding around at the local branch —they’re after whole mountainsides full of gold. The millennials have grown up knowing that global financial machinations took away their parents’ jobs — robbing the local bank might not be good enough anymore.
Or perhaps the new movie’s explosive scope is just a reflection of its new director, Ericson Core, who was the director of photography on the original “The Fast and the Furious” and whose follow-ups include “Space Cowboy.” The 1991 director, Kathryn Bigelow, has since shown her proficiency at moody action films with intense lead characters, such as “Zero Dark Thirty” and “The Hurt Locker.” So it could be that the “Point Break” remake is nothing more than Hollywood’s new core business model: Take a franchise that has sold well in the past, and add in even bigger explosions.