The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
The Walking Dead
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All Critics (30)
| Top Critics (6)
| Fresh (11)
| Rotten (19)
Even if Chan no longer wants to put his life at risk as a martial arts Buster Keaton, he still has the ability to turn a joke and get a gasp out of an action sequence.
Mr. Chan has done these unlikely-buddy yarns before, of course - "Shanghai Noon," the "Rush Hour" movies - and sometimes has made the conceit work, but this incarnation lacks originality and spark.
All the principals are plenty capable, but this is hardly any of these folks' peak.
Action hero Jackie Chan rises above uninspired sex jokes and a weak co-star in martial arts/road movie hybrid Skiptrace, a Midnight Run-style buddy comedy that shackles Chan to Jackass star Johnny Knoxville.
Skiptrace is a movie made to serve a number of competing interests and markets, and in trying to offer the proverbial something for everybody, it ends up possessing a very limited appeal.
Glossy, colorful, and forgettable, "Skiptrace" is the kind of movie that gives you your money's worth in sheer eager-to-please entertainment even as you roll eyes at the nth kick-to-the-crotch gag.
The blandness and slapdash feel can't be ignored and the film becomes an interesting experiment signifying little.
The problem with Skiptrace is that it seems as a labored and redundant rag-tag vehicle trying to bask in the shadowy spirit of Chan's typical big screen, high-wire Hong Kong police procedurals from yesteryear.
Skiptrace feels like a classic Jackie Chan movie, one that matches the fisticuffs with physical comedy.
If you like Jackie Chan's brand of cinema, make no mistake; you will enjoy this.
This Chinese-American goulash with a sprinkling of Mongolian and Russian elements is just all over the place.
Slapstick Jackie Chan buddy comedy has violence, innuendo.
I seem to say this a lot in latter-day Jackie Chan movies, but it's almost sad to watch him in films like this simply based on the fact that he simply cannot do what he did when he was a younger man. One of the sadder elements of this is watching the outtakes that they always show post-credits. And I say that because you get to see Jackie harmed by stuff that he would have brushed off in the 80s. That's not a criticism of Jackie at all, it's just that age catches up to everyone, even people that earlier in their careers might have seemed invincible. Jackie still remains a complete and utter legend, his legacy has already been established and he doesn't need to take any more unnecessary risks at his age. A lot of the latter day Jackie movies have relied more on his name and his considerable charm more than anything else. There's still action, but that's not necessarily the entire focus on the film. And this one is no different. Jackie is obviously not the world's greatest actor, though I think he's better than many people give him credit for, but he's always had a very affable personality and people are drawn to him because of that. Maybe not so much now that he hasn't had a major box office success, at least on this side of the world, since Rush Hour 3 and even that movie wasn't that hugely successful. This obviously isn't counting his work in films like Kung Fu Panda, which he is a relative small part of. I digress, this movie relies on the formula set forth by Rush Hour and Shanghai Knights/Noon. You have Jackie, who always plays the idealistic and honorable type, against someone who's the exact opposite of him. Rush Hour doesn't fall into that category, but you had a fast-talking, quick-witter Chris Tucker for him to play off of. In this movie, the Chris Tucker/Owen Wilson role is filled by Johnny Knoxville. Yes, the same Johnny Knoxville from Jackass. And, now that I think about it, I can see the similarities between the two. That might be a blasphemous comparison to some, but both guys have pretty much put their bodies on the line for their specific style of film. Knoxville may have done it in a setting where it's just a bunch of dudes hurting themselves for the audience's amusement, but he's still risking his body. Chan obviously risked his body in films that had some semblance of narrative, so you can't really truly say that they do the same thing for the same reasons. But the similarities are obviously there. And, honestly, Johnny and Jackie make a surprisingly solid pairing. Johnny Knoxville, once you overlook that Jackass made him famous, isn't a bad actor in the slightest. I'm not saying that he's the next Daniel Day-Lewis, but he's good as the annoying sidekick. And since this is the role he plays here, he does a pretty good job and he obviously has chemistry with Jackie. The problem is, though, that the story that's around them is literally nothing to write home about with a twist/reveal that you can see coming from one million light years away. Particularly if you even know the absolute basic of Hong Kong cinema. The story, as far as I'm concerned, is just there to get Johnny and Jackie next to their bit of buddy film stereotypes where they banter. As I mentioned, Johnny and Jackie do have some chemistry, but I do not believe the movie exploits that as well as it could, because the material they have doesn't really allow them to do much. The jokes are tired, the action is a bit bland and the editing is an absolute mess. And, as I mentioned, the narrative is not particularly essential to the actual film. And there's some downright cringe-worthy scenes. Like Jackie and the entire Mongolian village breaking into a cover of Adele's Rolling in the Deep. It's such a bad scene and it literally makes no sense regardless of whatever context you try to look at it in. It doesn't serve the movie in any way. You could say that it helps to show Connor (Knoxville) a different side to Benny (Chan), who's always portrayed as super serious. And even then, why would the entire Mongolian village join in? That's the part that gets me and the part that makes the scene so bad. It is what it is, but it's not a particularly effective scene. I don't wanna say this movie had potential, because it really didn't, but this should have been better than it actually was. It was watchable enough with Jackie Chan and Johnny Knoxville having some good chemistry, but that's all they relied on. The story is lame, the action isn't memorable and the editing is awful. You need more than just chemistry between your leads to tell a good story and this movie didn't have that. It's a slightly below average movie that I didn't hate, but I wish would have been better than it actually was. Then again I guess you could say that for every movie I don't like. Not recommended, but you can do worse.
Wow, didn't think they made stuff like this anymore! I feel like I just got back from 1995 after watching some lame, mismatched, double team, buddy action flick. Instead its 2016 and somehow I'm still watching some lame mismatched, double team, buddy action flick. Take the title, its some kind of jargon for tracking people basically, although you can just as easily use the word 'tracking' but I guess that doesn't sound as cool. The title isn't even that relevant to the movie frankly, pfft!
Anyway so this is a Jackie Chan movie, so that inevitably means lots of slapstick action and gymnastic-esque martial arts, the usual routine. The guy he gets awkwardly partnered up with is Johnny Knoxville, so right away you know that Chan is the more straight laced of the duo, whilst Knoxville will be the jackass (no pun intended). Sure enough, Chan plays a by the books Hong Kong cop who's after Knoxville's character, whilst Knoxville plays a loud, brash, bumbling American conman on the run.
For such a basic plot its certainly convoluted in its execution. Bennie Chan (Jackie) is after a crime boss called 'The Matador' who he believes is responsible for his old partners death (and he's a crime boss). The man in question being Victor Wong. The daughter of Bennie's old partner (Samantha) works at a casino which is owned by Wong and also happens to be the same casino where conman Connor Watts (Knoxville) manages to rinse a load of money. Wong believes Samantha helped Watts in this scam so she's in trouble with him. So Bennie must track down Watts in order to help Samantha to prove she wasn't involved. But Watts has been kidnapped by Russians because he's in trouble with them for getting a crime bosses daughter pregnant.
At the same time! Watts also witnessed the murder of a woman at the hands of Wong before being kidnapped by the Russians. So Wong is also after Watts (as well as Samantha) because this murder was all recorded on a phone that Watts still has. So Bennie must travel to Russia to get Watts, then bring him back to Hong Kong to clear Samantha, at the same time using the phone to nail Wong for a murder whilst also trying to prove he's this Matador character.
The first action sequence is set within some Russian factory and sees Bennie taking on all the henchmen whilst Watts is all tied up (long story). As you would expect in a Jackie Chan movie, he is able to fend off all enemies without killing them in his usual circus routine. At the same time Knoxville's character is completely bound and is solely dependent on Chan getting him outta trouble. This involves Chan bounding around the place trying to keep the immobile body of Knoxville/Watts from coming to harm by rolling, throwing, tumbling, pushing, hoisting him all over the shop. I know this is a Chan movie so I know this kind of thing is expected but it was just lame, I'm sorry but it was. I can't even say it was impressive, more juvenile and ridiculously fake looking. It doesn't help when Knoxville is obviously being replaced with a stuntman and Chan clearly isn't moving as fast as he used to or doing anything as remotely dicey.
The whole movie progresses in this fashion, from one obviously fake looking set piece to the next. In between that we get what looks like a selection of simple tourist videos highlighting the natural beauty of the east (mainly China). Seriously I know the Chinese market is massive now and everyone is sucking up to them big time but this was such an obvious move by the Chinese side of this production. Don't get me wrong this isn't a heinous act or anything, some of the landscape shots within China are awesome, stunning, but they don't really add anything to the movie and just feel like mini holiday adverts. But back to the so called action scenes, they suck, they are literally terrible and not amusing in the slightest. After Bennie manages to capture Watts he must escort him back to Hong Kong. But because Watts is an asshole he burns Bennie's passport meaning they are unable to fly. So Bennie decides they must make their own way on foot...all the fecking way to Hong Kong...from Russia, yeah.
So this takes up the bulk of the movie, watching these two buffoon their way across Russia, Mongolia and China. This involves crap predictable action scenes on a major river, high jinx on a cliff face with extremely bad CGI and greenscreen effects, various escape attempts by Watts but always being caught by Bennie; sleeping naked together in a cave, a few fisticuffs with Russians (yep they're after the duo too); and spending time in a native Mongolian camp where they all end up singing Adel songs. During this time the duo never manage to change their clothes, eat or drink properly or get sleep much. Yet they somehow manage to arrive in Hong Kong alive with their clothes spotless and dry.
The finale throws the usual plot twist in your face which you do kinda smell coming when we see Wong getting killed by an unknown baddie. Other than that its just business as usual with yet more boring gun fights and martial arts between various faceless characters. This entire movie just feels so damn dated its unreal, the problem is its not even a good hark back to the old days. Jackie is clearly too old for this shit and can no longer whizz around defying death. Knoxville is just a redneck idiot who can't act and I still have no idea how or why he's still in the movie business at this point (also, how much makeup is on him in this?!). The action is awful and slow, the humour is weak and cliched. The plot is a total mess and as I've already said the biggest sin is that it doesn't even feel like an actual movie half the time. The only plus points I can give are for the visuals of rural China and Mongolia, other than that the whole thing is as predictable as seeing the end credit bloopers of Jackie hurting himself.
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