Catching Up: “Point of No Return”

Remakes. No matter when they’re made they come with the high chance of being not only unnecessary, but absolutely terrible. Remakes have been a part of Hollywood for decades, but probably in smaller numbers than we definitely see today. Regardless, more often than not, these copycat films will be inferior and will hopefully send viewers in search of the better original.

The Warner Bros. Pictures film “Point of No Return”, is as stupid and lazy as remakes come, which is sad as it was made in the early ‘90s.

This action film stars Bridget Fonda (“Snow Queen”, “The Chris Isaak Show”), Gabriel Byrne (“Marco Polo”, “No Pay, Nudity”), Dermot Mulroney (upcoming projects “Legends & Lies”, “Pure Genius”), Miguel Ferrer (“NCIS: Los Angeles”, “Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces”), Olivia d’Abo (“When Duty Calls”, “A Christmas Eve Miracle”), John Capodice (“Pizza with Bullets”, “Sharkskin”), Richard Romanus (“The Young Black Stallion”, “The Sopranos”), Lorraine Toussaint (“The Fosters”, “Rosewood”), Anne Bancroft (“Agnes of God”, “The Miracle Worker”), and Harvey Keitel (“Inside Amy Schumer”, “Chosen”).

The film was directed by John Badham (“Rush Hour (TV series)”, “Supernatural”) and written by Robert Getchell (“The Client”, “This Boy’s Life”) and Alexandra Seros (“The Specialist”). It is based on the film “La Femme Nikita” by Luc Besson.

The film originally opened on March 19, 1993.

Apparently, which I’d forgotten, this year is the year I talk about all things related to “La Femme Nikita”. This remake, the classic drama series “Alias”, which has DNA of the classic French film and which I wrote about a few months ago, and the original film itself. I may have to get to work on the two television series which are based on the cult film in order too make it complete. The question is how? Anyway. It’s just an interesting observation because up until yesterday, I wasn’t even aware I’d get the opportunity to see this American remake. I’ve been wanting to for some time, but figured that with Blockbuster no longer a thing, the chance to do so had come and gone. Then it happened. I spotted it on Cinemax and instantly pressed record, as I wasn’t sure when I’d get to it. Which brings us to today, and another interesting film experience.

Okay, I sort of lied. “Interesting film experience” is putting it in too much of a positive light. This film was god awful. Mainly, as I’m sure you’ve no doubt figured out, because I’ve seen the original, and even with all of its flaws, I enjoyed enough. This film, can’t be enjoyed. I’m not sure it can be enjoyed as an individual film, one separate from the original, but together it just sucks! It’s a remake! And now, which I never thought possible, it’s making “Total Recall (2012)” look incredible! Award worthy! While the new “Total Recall” and even the new “Nightmare on Elm Street” film have issues, at least they seemed to do a hell of a lot to make it stand out and be original enough. Nothing spectacular, but far more than this film did. I don’t think I had expectations, seeing as it is a remake, but I didn’t expect what I got.

Unlike with that shitty and completely useless and unnecessary film “Psycho (1998)”, which I’ve also written about, this film isn’t a shot for shot remake. But it’s practically the next worst thing. I can’t recall a time, whilst watching a remake, that I’ve ever been so distracted by the events occurring (but not in a good way), that all I could do was think of the original. Usually I can get lost enough, notice a few things that are familiar, and move on. Not with this film. This film follows every single plot point that “La Femme Nikita” had. Some slight plot things may have been altered, as well as a few names, Maggie instead of Nikita, but largely it’s all the same fucking thing. Every single goddamned sequence featured was in the original! Well, I think they were, I can’t recall, but since I could spot specific instances throughout more than 50% of the film, it’s a pretty safe bet that it was all the same. I was even surprised to see Maggie’s (Nikita) first assignment play out like in the original. She’s going out to dinner, gets her assignment, executes it, and when trying to escape she finds herself facing a brick wall. Uh-oh! So, Maggie ultimately has herself a kitchen shoot out and jumps down the laundry chute into a laundry bin waiting at the bottom. Whoever’s idea this was, which could solely be that of the writers, clearly had no idea what they were doing.

As much as I constantly complain about remakes, which I once again did when I read that Disney is in fact remaking its animated classic “The Little Mermaid” into a live action film, plus a few other films recently announced, I can’t deny that I’ll more likely than not, see the new versions. Why? Anybody’s guess, but the fact of the matter is I will, and usually end up liking the new film in some way. Enough, at least, where I don’t HATE it. I’ll never want to own it, but, well, it’s not this film, or the miniseries remake of “Rosemary’s Baby (2014)”.

However, even knowing that this film is a remake, and that I mostly enjoyed the original Besson film, I think the fact that this film is a direct copy of the original, more so than most remakes I’ve seen, it kept me from enjoying what was put into this one. Something as small and enjoyable as the relationship montage between Fonda and Mulroney. Yes I liked it, but that was for all of two minutes, and then returned to more copycat scenes. Hell, I even think the montage looked familiar, certainly some of the sex did. By this point, and even long before, I was solely focused on comparing and contrasting the similarities. One certainly can’t enjoy a film when their focus isn’t on the story unfolding before them. It’s also what dictated how I responded to the film. I just grew tired of everything. I wanted it to end. And while it did finally end, it wasn’t soon enough.

While most don’t expect much from remakes, no matter how old the original film is, it’s safe to say that one appropriate expectation be that it’s enjoyable. It’s really what anyone wants from a film, particularly an action film. Simply having a lead actor who’s capable and somewhat refreshing isn’t going to cut it. Sure the actor may be one of the few good things about the film, but so much more needs to be accomplished. Recycling a film’s story is the easy part, but getting anyone, even the casual viewer (who could care less that what they’re watching has already been done) to care about the film or get all that invested in it, is another thing. Retelling a familiar story because of laziness can only take a company so far. There needs to be something that really says it was worth everyone’s time, and that’s the trickier part. It’s so seldom done with positive results.

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