review by Bobby Blakey
It’s been awhile since we got some Jackie Chan action in an American action flick outside of Dragon Blade, but that is about to change. Now Chan is teaming up with Johnny Knoxville and director Renny Harlin for the action comedy Skiptrace, but does it offer up what fans have come to love from Chan’s films or will it not be worth the trip?
Skiptrace follows Hong Kong detective Benny Chan who has tried to avenge his partner’s murder at the hands of a drug lord by the book. When Benny learns that freewheeling American gambler Connor Watts has the evidence he needs, he teams with Connor to get justice. Now all Benny and Connor have to do is survive the fight of their lives and each other! From the trailer you could see that there was a pretty good chance that this film was going to be hit and miss and it lived up to that expectation. The story is simple enough and pretty similar to so many other films before it with most doing it way better. The biggest reason this film works at all is Chan and Knoxville. Chan gets the chance to do what he always does and hits every note like one expects. Knoxville on the other hand is fine, but he is so toned down as more of a straight man that you lose the fun that usually comes with him. He wasn’t horrible by any means, there was just something missing.
While everything here is pretty generic the real reason that fans watch this film anyway is to see Chan in action and there is plenty of it. Sadly not all of it is shot very well and some of it even felt to slow, but it is still a lot of fun. Chan hasn’t really lost a beat, but there is just something about his American productions that never seem to fully let him cut loose. There is a lot of fun in the action throughout that helps to make this film more than it would have probably been otherwise. As a hardcore Chan fan I am sure I am biased as I love seeing him in action and can easily disregard any other issues that might be there. Even Knoxville gets in on the action fun and does a good job, but its Chan that is doing the majority of the heavy lifting as expected.
In the end this is a by the numbers pretty generic action comedy that clearly wants to be more than it is, but the execution just doesn’t bring everything to the table that it could have. I would love to see a great piece with these two guys together because they work well together, but there just needs to be something meatier for them to do. This release will not only include the film, but also commentary and a featurette. With this team bringing this film to life there is a good chance we are in for a lot of fun and great action, but only time will tell. Be sure to grab your copy of Skiptrace when it comes to Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD on October 25th from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.