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‘Point Break’ remake features surfing scenes in Hawaii

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Australian actor Luke Bracey, center, smiles as he arrives for a red carpet event for the movie “Point Break” in Beijing today.

BEIJING >> Hollywood actor Luke Bracey says the remake of the action crime thriller “Point Break” is bigger and better because it’s got extreme sports that weren’t even invented when the original 1991 hit came out.

Bracey is the new Johnny Utah, the FBI agent played by Keanu Reeves in the 1991 movie who goes undercover among a gang of surfers led by Patrick Swayze.

In the remake that comes out in China on Friday and in the U.S. on Christmas Day, extreme sports take center stage. Bracey’s Utah infiltrates a group of thrill-seeking athletes suspected of being criminals. Action adventure feats include big-wave surfing, wingsuit flying, sheer-face snowboarding, free rock climbing and high-speed motorcycling.

The film’s promoters are billing “Point Break” as the first Hollywood film to have its world premier in China, and Bracey, who attended the premiere in Beijing on Tuesday, said he expected it to be the start of a new trend in Hollywood movies.

The movie also stars Venezuelan actor Edgar Ramirez as the athletes’ leader Bodhi, Australian actress Teresa Palmer as a surfer, and British actor Ray Winstone.

The original film directed by Kathryn Bigelow was a hit that grossed $83.5 million worldwide — less than the remake’s more than $125 million budget.

Some stunts and sports in the latest movie “hadn’t even been thought of when the original was made, in the original they were still paddling into waves,” said Bracey. Wing suiting, the sport of flying through the air in a special suit, hadn’t been conceived at that time and it was in the mid-1990s that people “started using jet skis just to catch waves that were bigger than they could paddle into.”

“So, to use a cliche, it’s bigger, and it’s better and it’s just a huge movie in terms of how different it is from the original,” he said.

The Australian actor said that while the original was based in California, the remake has been “expanded across the world.” It was filmed in nine countries in four continents, including scenes of wingsuit flying in Switzerland, free rock climbing in Venezuela, snowboarding in the Italian Alps and surfing in Hawaii.

The world has become more interconnected since the last movie, so “what occurs on one side of the world doesn’t just affect that side of the world these days, it affects the other side of the world in terms of a lot of things, be it geopolitical, economic, be it environmental,” he said. “I think the sooner that humanity figures that out and comes to terms with that, we’ll start working together even more.”

The movie’s makers say they used world-class athletes rather than stunt doubles in the film, and Bracey, who grew up in Sydney and learned to surf from a young age, also took part in snowboarding and rock-climbing — including a sequence on Venezuela’s Angel Falls, the world’s tallest waterfall.

“It’s a kilometer above the Earth, and that had me hanging off Angel Falls looking down, telling them to turn on the cameras in case I fell so at least it was on camera,” he said.

The movie opens in China on Friday, three weeks before the U.S., showing how the Chinese movie-going market, on course to surpass the U.S. as the biggest, is increasingly important to global blockbusters.

Hollywood has been increasingly chasing the rapidly growing Chinese market as box office receipts fall at home. Box office revenue in China last year was $4.9 billion, almost three times as much as 2010.

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