DIRECTOR: Renny Harlin
CAST: Jackie Chan, Johnny Knoxville, Bingbing Fan, Eric Tsang, Eve Torres, Winston Chao
Skiptrace stars Bennie Chan (Jackie Chan; Rush Hour trilogy) a detective from Hong Kong is investigating the murder of his friend Yung (Eric Tsang; The Legend of Drunken Master) from 9 years ago that leads to the elusive crime boss named The Matador. In comes American criminal Connor Watts (Johnny Knoxville; Jackass trilogy) whom was slipped some intel on The Matador after witnessing a murder. Bennie must apprehend Connor and get him to testify, while The Matador and his men are hot on their trail; chasing the duo throughout Mongolia and the Chinese countryside.
The Good: A lot of physical comedy and safe story line for the whole family. Blooper reel at the end credits are fun. Bingbing Fan portrays an adorable damsel in distress, but can still hold her own. There’s a scene with WWE’s Eve Torres involving her generous boobage that gets a chuckle. Renny Harlin says in the commentary that this was a love letter to China by Jackie Chan, and the beautiful scenery shots paint that picture for sure.
The Bad: The jokes, the story, and the characters are so cliche and boring. It’s like the filmmakers thought that hiring a physically comedic white American guy and a renowned martial arts comedic Chinese actor would make the film magically formulate and it doesn’t. There’s a ton of random scenes that appear to have been made up on the fly just to desperately get a laugh. The two get on a train, eat fried goat balls and then jump off. What? Why?
The duo gets captured by Inner Mongolian tribesmen, forced to fight some big slothy dude, and end up making friends by getting drunk and singing Adele’s Rolling in the Deep. It was cute, but it felt like pandering. The only scene where I actually laughed out loud was when they got a horse to take a shit in front of Johnny Knoxville, which per the end credits outtakes was completely happenstantial. The CG fire effects were obvious, and I have yet to see a CG fire without it looking like a video game or shitty digital. When there’s a greenscreen shot, you know it’s greenscreen.
I love the Jackass films because they’re just a long blooper reel. Jackie Chan films routinely have blooper reels at the end credits and usually that’s my favorite part. If Renny Harlin decided to just chuck the story and made Skiptrace into one long succession of outtakes, I might have found it more palatable.
TOTAL RATING: C
REVIEWED BY: JM Willis