This original Point Break remake poster (click to enlarge) comes from the mastermind of Leigh “nobody knows more about Point Break than me” Josey. Follow him on Twitter here..

This week the online film community has been abuzz with spirited discussion regarding the announcement of an upcoming remake of Kathryn Bigelow’s 1991 action film Point Break, which stars Keanu Reeves as a beach-going undercover FBI agent and Patrick Swayze as the leader of a gang of surfers.

The tone has been — to put it mildly — less than celebratory, with Twitter in particular used as a hotbed for bitter vent-your-spleen discourse.

The response from irate fans to news of the remake, which will change the film’s setting from surf and sand to the world of extreme sports, has apparently been so froth-from-the-mouth angry it justified news stories in a slew of major outlets such as MSNBC, Reuters, The Hollywood Reporter, The Guardian and, closer to home, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

“They’re remaking Point Break. If ever there was a time for Swayze to return Ghost-style and prevent a great wrong from happening, it’s now,” tweeted one angry fan.

“This is sacrilege,” hollered another. And: “Children of the 90’s, prepare to die a little inside.”

There are plenty of other examples, many of them included in the stories linked to above.

It’s hard to disagree with the familiar reasoning of this cranky collective — that Hollywood should back off repacking old material and embrace new projects and ideas — but it’s equally hard, given the current climate of remakes-a-rama, to see why this project, one drop in an ocean of sequels, prequels and remakes deserves such special attention.

Where were the venomous chomping at the bit fans when other widely loved films — many of them a great deal more popular, and some of them a great deal better, than Point Break — were lined up for remakes?

I don’t remember hearing about hordes of cantankerous viewers protesting the remake of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. Or The Dinner Game. Or Planet of the Apes. Or Dawn of the Dead. Or The Taking of Pelham 123. Or The Italian Job. Or The Karate Kid. Or A Nightmare on Elm Street. Or The Omen. Or The Wicker Man. Or Dirty Dancing, Footloose, Fright Night and Robocop. The list is virtually endless.

Where were all the crazy-angry fans for those films? What makes Point Break — a fun, spirited and clever beach-set action film, but far from Citizen Kane — so special?

In two words: it isn’t. The answer has more to do with the ascent of social network reportage than it does with the film itself. No doubt fans were genuinely upset, but so too, presumably, were the fans of other marquee cult releases such as The Italian Job and The Omen.

But Twitter attracts more users now than ever before; more of the general public and substantially more journalists. It’s only in the very recent past that news companies such as Fairfax and the ABC have  began appointing full time social network based reporters and correspondents.

My message to the angry mob is this: I agree with you. Hollywood should let good films be and foster a culture in which fresh ideas are embraced. But if you slam this remake, sharpen your knives for the others too. Extend that logic across the board and summon the social media forces of darkness to send a message to studio executives that you don’t much like having your favourite films chopped up and reassembled.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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