Jackie Chan and Johnny Knoxville star in a film directed by Renny Harlin…what could possibly go wrong?
As you might have guessed that was a rhetorical question, but as Skiptrace completely missed the point we’ll go ahead and answer it anyway. Everything.
Jackie Chan plays Hong Kong detective Bennie Chan, whose life dramatically changed following the death of his partner Yung (Eric Tsang) at the hands of a super criminal known only as the ‘Matador’, not that you could tell. Bennie’s obsession with exposing the ‘Matador’ supposedly drove away the love of his life, and constantly pesters the police chief with his theories to point they put him on leave. Suspicious don’t you think? Following a piece of information that Matador suspect Victor Wong (Winston Chao) has been caught up in a murder at a Macau casino, Bennie tracks down Connor, an American gambler, who saw the whole thing. Before they know it, but after we totally do, the pair are caught up in a game of cat and mouse with Russian criminals, and Chinese gangs, and each other which takes place over a boring, uneventful road trip toward revealing the truth.
With a filmography of over 120 titles there are of course going to be a few duds in Jackie Chan’s career, but Skiptrace is a barrel scraping affair that does not belong on his illustrious résumé forged by years of hard work and broken bones. Even in Jackie Chan’s weaker films he has been able to save the day with spellbinding stunt work, but unfortunately due to age, and some ineffective direction by Renny Harlin, the magic is beginning to wear off.
In the films other flaws, Johnny Knoxville plays the generic comedy relief that simply isn’t funny, the film is edited like a flip book missing a few pages, and most of the acting is atrocious. During proceedings there is more than one occasion where Chan and Knoxville are caught up by the pursuing Russian and Chinese criminals in the ass end of nowhere, with no inkling as to how they found them. It’s simply lazy. Unfortunately they aren’t the only points during the film where you want to bang your head against the wall in an effort to sustain short term memory loss. As well as some obviously poor CGI effects, during the finale, after the “twist”, the Matador goes from intention to murder to passive farewell after a short scene in which a characters life is saved, it’s painfully absurd.
The overall stupid quality of Skiptrace as a film, or story, can be summed up in a scene that has Jackie Chan drunkenly singing to Adelle’s ‘Rolling in the Deep’ with a camp of nomadic Mongolians. It’s as ridiculous as it sounds, and as barren of humour as you would expect. With it Renny Harlin cements himself as a film making enigma, sometimes his films are delightfully silly, and sometimes they’re just moronic…like Skiptrace. With ‘comedy’ lifted straight from a multitude of other films and eye achingly obvious dubbing providing the icing to this calamitous cake, the only way it can be enjoyed is if you haven’t already seen the likes of Rush Hour, and Shanghai Noon, or watched a film in the past 15 years.