Directed By: – Renny Harlin
Produced By: – Jackie Chan, Charlie Coker & Damien Saccani
Starring: – Jackie Chan, Johnny Knoxville, Fan Bingbing, Eric Tsang, Eve Torres Winston Chao, Yeon Jung-hoon, Shi Shi, Michael Wong, Dylan Kuo , Zhang Lanxin , Sara Forsberg, Mikhail Gorevoy, Charles Rawes , Jai Day
Runtime: – 120minutes (1hr 30mins)
Watch Your Backup.
What does Johnny Knoxville of Jackass infamy and 62-year-old legendary Hong Kong Martial artist; actor, film director, producer, stuntman and singer Jackie Chan have in common? Well for starters they both have an addiction of teasing the grim reaper through death defying stunts. Watching Jackass episodes and watching some of Jackie Chan’s bloopers you will realise that one of the greatest mysteries on earth is why they still breathe. So a movie featuring this unlikely death-defying duo sounds like the perfect recipe for a good action flick.
Skiptrace revolves around a veteran Hong Kong cop named Bennie Chan (Jackie Chan) who looks after his goddaughter, Samantha (Fan Bingbing), who is the daughter of his late police partner. He also spends most of his time pursuing the mysterious mob boss simply named the Matador, who he seeks to capture in order to avenge his partner who he saw die at the hands of this unknown villain.
The film also follows the other protagonist Connor (Johnny Knoxville), an arrogant American who ply’s his trade as a con-man who is also on the Matador’s hit list as he accidentally witnessed a murder that his mob were involved in. He is also wanted by the Russian mob because he impregnated a gangster’s daughter and to top it all off he is also wanted by the Hong Kong police due to the fact he ripped off a Hong Kong Casino.
Bennie decides to bring back Connor to Hong Kong as bait in order to save Samantha who gets captured by the Matador and finally put him behind bars. Connor tries to avoid this, as he is aware that a trip to Hong Kong means certain death. The two bicker with each other as they partake in a road trip across various borders to get back to Hong Kong but begin to bond when they learn they have a lot in common and they form a formidable team. Directed by Renny Harlin who is renowned for his work on Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger and Deep Blue Sea, can Skiptrace be a good action comedy? Lets take a look at the positives and negatives.
- Jackie Chan still has it at the old age of 62. He is still capable of pulling of incredible stunts and awesome techniques, however his movements feel a little slower than his previous efforts but one must remember that happens with age. The end credit bloopers even show that Jackie Chan is still dedicated to his craft and is willing to get injured all in the name of a perfect shot.
- When the duo finally meets, the movie transforms itself into a road comedy where Chan drags the frequently handcuffed yet sly Knoxville back towards Hong Kong. The movie sort of shines in this regard as we see various locales like Eastern Russia, the Mongolian Steppes and the Gobi Desert. They travel to these areas by train; car, horse, foot and even an inflated-pigskin raft and get involved in various cultural activities along the way. As spontaneous as these sequences are it’s without a doubt the best part of this movie.
- The acting in this movie is extremely wooden. The actor’s and actresses delivery of dialogue is very horrible and it is extremely noticeable.
- The film’s pacing is weird. This is especially prevalent when the film awkwardly introduces Knoxville’s character through weirdly edited flashback. This method of story telling makes the uninteresting and clichéd plot even more convoluted than it needs to be.
- The movie tries to sell itself as an action comedy; unfortunately it misses the mark in the comedy department, as the jokes are not funny. This is made worse by immature poop and ball jokes and a Jackie Chan rendition of Adele’s Rolling in the deep that was the stuff of nightmares.
- Although some action sequences were good like the opening and closing one, most of them look tired and uninventive and non of them come close to Chan’s best efforts through his esteemed career.
- The Chemistry between Johnny Knoxville and Jackie Chan is like Oil and Water. In theory it should work as both actors have history performing stunts and it could have easily created great action sequences but the movie doesn’t deliver on this front. This chemistry is made worse by the fact that it’s actually irritating watching both actors bounce of each other. Knoxville’s obnoxiousness will annoy you and Chan is too serious in comparison. It’s a shame because we’ve seen Chan make great combination with actors like Chris Tucker in the Rush Hour series and Owen Wilson in Shanghai Noon.
Skiptrace on paper should have worked but it ends up being a clichéd and tired Action buddy comedy that is extremely short on comedy, acting and chemistry. Underneath this mess are elements of a good Jackie Chan movie but they can’t save this train wreck. Avoid at all costs.
RATING: – LEAVE IT!!!!!