‘Point Break’ makes BASE jumping history

In 1991, Point Break brought action sports into the mainstream and inspired many athletes that are now at the top of their respective sports.

The film featured Keanu Reeves as an undercover rookie FBI agent Johnny Utah, who is investigating a string of bank robberies possibly being committed by a group of surfers. The gang of robbers/surfers is led by the charismatic Bodhi played by the late Patrick Swayze.

Over the years, the film made an impression on pop culture as one of the most memorable surf-centered flicks.

And now, director of the newest incarnation of Point Break, Ericson Core, said he hopes to bring the film into 2015.

“Many of the extreme sports we’re presenting in the film were not even dreamed of at the time the first Point Break was made, so it’s a little bit more expansive. And it’s definitely the sports of today rather than the sports of the beginning of the ’90s,” Core told GrindTV.

Point Break
The 2015 reincarnation of ‘Point Break’ takes a modern spin on an old classic. Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

No CGI was used in the film, which required lots of preparation and led to a historical BASE jumping stunt.

Five wing-suited pilots navigated the crack in Walenstadt, Switzerland, for a scene in which Bodhi and his band of outlaws cut loose a huge pile of cash above a poverty-riddled town.

Pro BASE jumper Jeb Corliss inspired the stunt and had a big influence on the movie.

“He is the reason we were in Switzerland to do our wing suit sequence,” Core said. “In many ways, all of these athletes influenced the film … A lot of what was important, [in] this version of the film, was to do things incredibly authentically.”

It took nearly a year of preparation to shoot the BASE jumping sequence.

The jump usually only has a single jumper doing the route. It’s an extremely technical jump in which the wing suit pilots come within inches of hitting land while navigating a crack-like ravine.

The movie needed five jumpers at one time.

Point Break
No CGI was used in the making of the new Point Break film, leading to a historic BASE jump stunt. Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

“We needed to put five people in pattern in a very tight formation,” Core said. “We’re talking wingtip to wingtip flying at 140 mph through that crack for about a minute and a half run that was incredibly dangerous.”

It was the first time in history so many jumpers had done the formation in a single jump.

“It not only pushed what was ever filmed before, but it also pushed the sport because no one has ever done that before,” Core said.

A year before the shoot, five of the world’s best BASE jumpers were chosen for the sequence.

First, they practiced by jumping out of planes in open air and then moved slowly towards jumping the crack. Next, they started filming it.

One of the jumpers wore a camera on his helmet which is what got most of the footage. Core said they also used some ground-based cameras. It took about 60 jumps to get all the necessary footage.

“We did it. And, thank god, we did it safely,” Core said.

The film, which is out on Christmas, also consulted professional surfers Laird Hamilton and Makua Rothman and big mountain snowboarder Xavier de Le Rue for some of the other action sports sequences.

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