Cinematic Releases: Skiptrace (2016) - Reviewed

Jackie Chan is back in his new U.S. and Hong Kong co-production titled Skiptrace, now available on VOD and in a limited theatrical release. It’s a return to form of sorts for Chan as he teams up with Jackass star Johnny Knoxville to deliver a humorous and action packed buddy cop style road trip film, which harkens back to Chan’s old school Hong Kong action comedies and manages to top the Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon productions. 

The story isn’t anything especially new, but Chan and Knoxville have some good chemistry together and I found this to be far more entertaining than his U.S. buddy team ups. The combination of action and comedy work well together in this one, with Chan still doing most of his physical fight sequences and Knoxville getting thrown around, being another toy for Jackie to play with, and delivering classic one-liners. And if you’re wondering, Chan still has it. He’s a little slower, which can be expected for a man at the age of 62, yet he more than pushes his body in the fight and stunt sequences. This can be witnessed in the end credits as he is seen wearing a walking boot on one foot and also takes a hard crash into a metal walkway. He almost froze to death and nearly drowned trying to get the perfect take for the director, that’s true commitment. He obviously doesn’t perform all of his stunts anymore and makes great use of his stunt crew to stand in for him and the other actors, in order to pull off some excellent battles. There are also some scenes where special effects are used, but it doesn’t end up detracting from the movie.

The action is excellent, featuring huge stunts, large scale destruction, and a nice mix of locations and props for Chan and Knoxville to work with. The fight scenes that take place in the industrial locations are truly reminiscent of some of his classic battles during the 1980’s and early 1990’s. There is also a good female fight scene between former WWE diva Eve Torres and Zhang Lanxin.

I didn't know this was a Jackass movie. 

Veteran Renny Harlin has shown throughout his career that he has an innate ability to direct big scale action pictures, with the likes of Die Hard 2 and Cliffhanger. This is no different, as he provides the viewer with large scale crane shots, nice camera angles, big action, and quality camera placement during the action sequences. The exotic locations and beautiful scenery only further aided him in creating some stunning looking cinema, featuring the likes of Hong Kong, Macau, Russia, The Gobi Desert, and several other memorable events and settings.

This is a solid action comedy that provides the perfect balance of great fight sequences and hilarious moments and shows that Jackie still has a lot left in the tank. I very much look forward to seeing what he has planned next.

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-Raul Vantassle