Action, Comedy, Police

Skiptrace (2016)

Comments Off on Skiptrace (2016) 21 November 2016


Studio: Lionsgate

On Demand Release: September 2, 2016

Blu Ray Release: October 25, 2016

Director: Renny Harlin


Review by Travis North

A while ago I watched the trailer for Skiptrace and thought, “What a piece of shit”. The cinematic gods cursed me, and delivered this Blu Ray for review. Contemplating how painful this is going to be, the tagline lets me know I’m in for a real treat. “Justice… takes a real pair.” A worn out scrotum joke; good start. Let’s get this over with.

Jackie Chan I thought was supposed to have left behind the genre that made him famous and moved to more dramatic roles. That’s not necessarily a bad idea, since he is getting up there. Someone must have offered him a shitload of money though, because here he is reprising the buddy cop idea that worked moderately well before. His pairing with Owen Wilson worked well in the Shanghai series given the period setting and amiability of both leads. The Rush Hour series started just ok but went to the well too often. They exist mostly to be able to hear Jackie Chan say “nigger”. If you thought Chris Tucker was annoying, this time the odd couple pairing comes with the chromosomally challenged Johnny Knoxville. I wonder how much it has to sting the entire profession when athletes, musicians, stand ups, and basically any talentless piece of shit can switch into acting? Knoxville became famous by daring his friends to do gay things to each other and filming it….no homo….and here he is, sitting on 39 actor credits on imdb and having worked with some of the biggest international stars of all time. Usually it’s just child actors that have to have things shoved up their ass to make it in Hollywood, but it seems like Knoxville is no dummy and learned how to play the game.

The plot? Who really cares, it’s an action movie, but I will elaborate a little bit. Chan is really stretching his acting skills by playing a cop. In this case it almost tracks with reality in that he’s very close to retirement. Chan can’t help himself though and has an insanely inappropriately younger love interest. A 60 year old man embarrassed to ask out a 20-ish year old woman is bizarre to watch. It’s not cute anymore, just sad. Knoxville’s story isn’t much better. It is almost unbelievable that a character would non-ironically be introduced using the trope of freezing the frame, and having a voiceover stating, “that’s me, you’re probably wondering how I got here.” Total hackwork. He’s a scammer that accidentally gets involved with the mob. These two don’t even cross paths until about a half hour in, leaving another full hour for complete disappointment.

Might as well start slamming the director now. Unbelievably, it is Renny Harlin. Yes, that Renny Harlin who at one point could actually direct decent action films. You would never know from watching this crap. He seems to be content to be a director for hire, cashing in for a free trip to China. There is plenty of disjointed editing, freeze frames that splash comic book style character introductions on the screen, and lots of other highly regrettable directorial choices. There are probably only two moderately competent scenes. One is some nice travelogue shots of the Chinese countryside. The credit for these probably goes to some anonymous second unit director though. The other are the action scenes, which when you watch the behind the scenes features it looks like Chan took over duties. So what exactly did Harlin contribute? The action is frankly sub-par. The comedic martial arts you expect are here, but it’s all very second rate. Chan could do this in his sleep with muscle memory taking over, but at his age it is at half speed at best. The behind the scenes features also really burst the bubble of the stunts. The days of dangerous and impressive stuntwork are long gone. The excessive green screen work is obvious, but seeing Chan hooked up to safety wires is groan inducing. By the time there are CGI explosions, I wished this was a dramatic period piece because it serves no purpose in a Chan action movie. What’s the point?

Other low points are seeing Jackie Chan run like an old man with bowlegged arthritic knees, not one but two ridiculous tough chicks kicking ass, a string of three getting-hit-in-the-balls jokes in a row, eating fried goat testicles with “wacky” music to let you know it is time to fucking laugh (in case you weren’t sure), and tit jokes. Why can’t Chan groom someone else to do this or at least pull a Bruce Lee ripoff and have some look-alike called Jackie Chang make this crap?

This lived down to everything I feared. If you are a Chan fan, for the love of God do not watch this. What used to be great now is just depressing. This feels like seeing your Dad shit his pants at Christmas. Speaking of shit, if you are a fan of human waste this is the Johnny Knoxville feature you’ve been waiting for. I wish one of the patented Chan credit bloopers was Knoxville going for a spin with Paul Walker and Anton Yelchin. There is almost nothing of value here. Do not watch or buy this and encourage anyone else to make more like this.

Movie Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

Blu Ray Rating: ★☆☆☆☆ I guess it looks good…still…


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