Buddy cop movies are a time honored tradition in Hollywood. They aren’t even always actually a pair of cops, just a cop and another person thrown together to pursue a common goal. Look at Lethal Weapon, 48 Hours, Rush Hour, or “Martial Law.” In Skiptrace, Jackie Chan is a police officer who is thrown together with a gambler played by Johnny Knoxville to pursue a Chinese crime boss. Does Skiptrace measure up to Lethal Weapon? Spoiler: Nah. But it still ain’t half bad.
As Skiptrace begins Jackie Chan is detective Bennie Chan and he’s trying to locate and capture the crime boss “The Matador.” Side note: What is it that I need to do, to have a global alias like that, hmm? Anyway, shortly after being reprimanded by his superior and suspended, he finds that his daughter is in trouble with the very same crime boss he is pursuing. In order to save her, Bennie must find gambler Connor Watts (Johnny Knoxville) who was a witness to a murder committed by the Matador’s crime syndicate.
Unfortunately for Connor, a few loose ends need to be tied up before the pair can go back to Hong Kong and as the two begin to travel back, they encounter many obstacles along the way including a Mongolian sing-a-long to Adele. Along the way, they fight with one another but eventually learn to respect each other and work together.
None of this should sound too new and innovative. The script isn’t groundbreaking and the neither are the action set pieces. So, what makes these movies work or not work? It always boils down to the actors and their chemistry. This is really where Skiptrace is middling. Now, I remember the Jackie Chan heyday movies and his style of action comedy fondly. You will find plenty of that here and it works when both Chan and Knoxville get into it. Chan still has the charm he has always had and is enjoyable to watch.
Now, some will disagree with me, but I do actually enjoy post-Jackass Johnny Knoxville. I never cared for him when he broke onto the scene with his show, but I’ve often liked him in his supporting roles such as Walking Tall and The Last Stand. No, these movies and roles aren’t high caliber by any means, but he is more than sufficient in them. When he is reigned in, I think he has an affable charm to bring to the roles with a little bit of gleeful humor mixed in. This time around, he’s a little bit less reserved than I generally like to watch him act, but that doesn’t tank it, it just takes the enjoyment down a notch.
The chemistry between the two is simply OK. It isn’t perfect by any stretch. These two aren’t the best pairing you could have for an opposites-learn-to-work-together adventure. The reality is, they are both a little too energetic and neither is as serious as one of them should be. This isn’t the end of the world, but comes off as trying to force a little too much sometimes. Once again, it could just be a little better. It doesn’t work as well as Lethal Weapon by any stretch, but much better than Showtime. It honestly feels much like a Midnight Run mixed with The Rundown with Jackie Chan’s fighting style.
Better yet, do yourself a favor and watch the trailer. If you hate it, you will probably not enjoy the movie. However if you love the trailer, you’ll love the movie. Even if the trailer just leaves you with a little interest, I think you’ll find the charm to enjoy a rental. And I think a rental is about the right spot for most people. I, for one, will be keeping this because I enjoy buddy cop movies and both actors.
Picture Quality: 4/5
Skiptrace has quite a nice transfer. The detail looks good through the majority of the movie and I didn’t see any major blemishes in the picture. Colors looks true and the transfer brings the surroundings to life.
Audio Quality: 3/5
Skiptrace features a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track for both the English and Chinese tracks. The music sounds quite clear, but also feels a bit disparate from the dialog track. The action scenes sound pretty solid in the movie but the dialog overall suffers. It is normally clean and clear so you can understand it all, despite a few strong accents. The problem comes in with the dubbing…unfortunately it doesn’t mesh with the rest of the audio as cleanly as I would like and is unpleasantly noticeable.
Supplemental Features and Packaging: 2/5
Commentary with Director: Honestly, this one isn’t that great as far as commentaries go. While informative, it’s very dry and not very interesting.
When Jackie Met Johnny: Johnny and Jackie appear in this short behind the scenes bit. We have a relatively informal conversation with Jackie and Johnny talking about making the movie. They have spliced scenes from the movie in with the interview. Less than ten minutes.
For the packaging, we’ve got a standard Blu-ray case with a standard slipcase. The slipcase has the same artwork as the cover art.
Skiptrace Overall: 2.5/5
While the chemistry isn’t as good as some of the more lauded buddy cop movies, Skiptrace is still a good time. Just don’t expect a Lethal Weapon. The chemistry and energy between the two doesn’t compare. However, it is no Money Talks either. It is probably closer to Rush Hour than anything else and reminiscent of the story beats found in Midnight Run. The action is still quite enjoyable in its silliness. The picture and audio present no complaints. I would rather a little bit better in the supplement department, but I can’t expect much for how the movie performed. Definitely worth a rental, but probably not a blind buy. For those that want to take a chance, you can purchase from Amazon.
Note: This Blu Ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.