As the plane’s engines rumbled my inner ears and as the American mid-West patchwork swept beneath us, I tried to think about which character from the original Point Break film I was more like.
Was I Bodhi; the affable, ass-kicking rebel with the zen-like philosophy towards caste systems and cash?
Was I Tyler; the raven-haired beaut with the open, damaged heart and sharp mind?
Maybe it was Angelo Pappas; the gruff, grizzled veteran. Instead of the jaded agent, though, I was the jaded writer who had poured enough booze down his gullet to scoff at even the slightest hint of flavored alcohol rather than errant police tactics.
Or, perhaps, I was just one of the lackeys or minor characters like the one Anthony Kiedis played. One thing was for sure — I wasn’t Johnny Utah. I’m too clumsy, homely, and probably too smart to be the young hotshot with more balls than brains. Seriously, how did Utah ever manage to get a badge when all you have to do is offer him friendship in exchange for a get out of jail free card for life? He was the worst agent ever.
I had come to the conclusion that I would allow my journey in Las Vegas to decide this conundrum. I had never been to Vegas before, and my brief stay wouldn’t allow me to sort through the seedier areas of the city as the dastardly part of my brain urged, but at least I could enjoy some food on some else’s dime while allowing the slot machines to suckle away on my wallet as I awaited the opening of the Point Break remake press conference. I explored my surroundings at Caesar’s Palace.
As a kid — well, now a man…sort of — from New Jersey I had never seen a TV screen embedded inside a bathroom mirror, but my room had it. I couldn’t think of any reason for this other than to distract myself while I shaved which seemed like a risky proposition. I took a picture of the mirror, because that’s what people from New Jersey do when they’re in awe of something that probably rarely exists in New Jersey.
Then the thought that I had on the plane came back to me. Could I really be Tyler? I did have a parent that recently passed away, but she had two. Ugh…f*cking one-uppers. I did have short hair like her, but it was more due to the fact that my hairline is receding and not because I wanted to look like a younger, sexier version of Lori Petty. Although being a younger, sexier version of Lori Petty doesn’t sound too bad. She does get to bang Keanu Reeves on a beach in the film, and who doesn’t want that? (Note: I am heterosexual…but still…it’s Keanu.)
I explored my room a bit more. There was the floral curtains that automatically pressed themselves back against the walls to expose the glaring sunlight of the Nevada desert. There were the seemingly beer and tar-stained lamp bases that were actually colored that way purposely and not an effect of years of hard partying. The obligatory Bible, the overpriced and computerized wet-bar, the TV with four stations dedicated to Asian programming — it was all there. A purple carpet with wavy yellow swooshes completed the room. A brief nap (five and a half hours of being strapped inside a death missile that’s routinely called an “airplane” can make one tired), and it was time to attend the event I had come for: the Point Break conference.
The club that contained the conference was inside the Caesar’s Palace. Omnia, it was called. A darkened corridor led the way into the main area, and right before it opened into the actual club, two beautiful ladies stood with trays in their respective hands, both adorned with drinks. One, gold in color and bubbly — some sort of champagne probably. The other, a blue drink with ice, some clever name that was connected to the film was printed on a card standing next to the drink, something surfer related. I tried not to pay too much attention to the booze — it’s bad for me. The girls had black outfits, something that resembled a bikini top with black shorts; both items sparkled with gold sequins. That color scheme pervaded the entire club.
Into the club and immediately I noticed Edgar Martinez’s picture as Bodhi splashed against the walls on video screens that flashed a new picture every five seconds or so. The next picture was a photo of legendary surfer Laird Hamilton standing with some cast and crew members, his surfer-suit (is that what it’s called?) stripped halfway down his torso exposing his golden tan and arms that looked like he had garden snakes for veins. He helped with the surfing scenes in the film and would be sitting at the stage in a few moments.
Omnia had several planes of existence: up a few steps here and there was a table with an assortment of seafood; down a few steps there and you reached the bar; a couple steps this way and you were in the seating area with rows of chairs sitting before the last plane which was a raised stage that housed the conference table. I took a seat in the front row and met two fellow writers, both pleasant and willing to share their experiences in the field until Sal Masekala announced the participants set to line up. There was the aforementioned Laird Hamilton, director Ericson Core, Teresa Palmer (the new Tyler), Luke Bracey (the new Johnny Utah), and three stuntmen/coordinators.
I observed several things during the Q&A:
- Laird Hamilton is ageless and just as golden as you’d imagine.
- Director Ericson Core sports an awesome do-rag.
- All the collaborators in this film are actual athletes and very little to no green screen was used to create the intense action sequences. The wing suit sequences look particularly breathtaking and one coordinator said he was literally touching the tips of grass blades as he streamed down a stretch of land. “It would have been a lot easier to shoot on a green screen stage, but we went to the actual locations,” said Core.
- Edgar Ramirez appeared only in a video presentation stating that Core “figures out what is behind the thrill,” with “thrill” meaning the rush from the extreme sports in the film.
- Skydiving and surfing were the main activities chronicled in the original, but in this one we’ll have intense driving, wing suiting, rock climbing, and surfing all spotlighted.
- The film looks like an action drama more grounded in reality — grittier, I believe they call these things — than the original. It actually looks pretty good, and I’ll see anything that Ray Winstone is in. He rocks.
After the Q&A, the cast and crew stood up for a brief photo op, and some guy behind me started yelling towards the stage about incident insurance, or something like that, as if a small press conference was the best place to begin a political campaign. Everyone mostly ignored him, while a few scoffed in disgust.
When the club let out, I retired back to my room with the purple carpet, and the automated curtains, and the tar-stained lamps. Probably the only one in the whole damn resort who wasn’t drunk, I crashed upon the too-soft bed as thoughts of surfing and bank-robbing mingled in my mind. Then, it hit me: I was absolutely like no one in the film. Well, maybe I was Anthony Kiedis’ character. He gets shot in the foot, and I remained lonely and sober in Las Vegas.