Synopsis: A rookie cop is partnered with a veteran for highway patrol, but quickly discovers his seasoned partner is working an undercover case for the Feds.
Thoughts: Waste of money! Just one pro. Sharper pass and 86 the CHiPs. Phew!
Conclusion: 3/5 buckets of popcorn
Because Reasons: CHIPS was written and directed by Dax Shepard. In addition to his writing and directing duties, Shepard stars in the film with Michael Peña, Jessica McNamee, Rosa Salazar, and Adam Brody.
The film opens and quickly establishes the two main characters. Miami native Agent Frank “Ponch” Poncherello, played by Michael Peña, closes a undercover case but not before shooting his second partner in the shoulder (the first one was killed in the line of duty). The friendly fire causes him to be reprimanded by his boss, Peterson, played Isiah Whitlock Jr., who also warns him to stop engaging in sexual activity with any and every woman that crosses his path as they’re more often than not case related. Meanwhile in Los Angeles, Jon Baker, played by Dax Shepard, proves to be a washed up former motorcross star, whose only goal in life is to win the affections of his wife back.
Thus, Baker joins the CHP despite failing every single qualification except for the motorcycle test, to prove his worth.
The supporting cast is soon revealed once Ponch transfer to Los Angeles, and Baker is assigned as his partner. Despite Baker’s enthusiasm, Ponch sees him as a announce as he tries to discretely investigate a series of armored truck robbies by a motorcycle gang.
Although, I really liked the supporting characters, they are completely underused or missed used, unless they were a love interest. Side note, kudos to Shepard for casting diversely with his love interest, Ava, played by Rosa Salazar. But, overall, there’s just a bunch of folks patrolling around. For example: Ponch’s real partner Agent Clay Allen played by Adam Brody, Parish who’s protecting a recent widow played by Richard T. Jones, Captain Jane Lindel who’s horny for Ponch played by Jane Kaczmarek, Rathburn who’s on crutches but for some reason is still in the action played by Jess Rowland, and so many more folks. Point being, this was a waste of money! And even though I was relishing in a diverse cast that accurately reflects Los Angeles, 90% of the supporting characters did not push the plot. Shepard could have contributed what he paid those actors towards other things that were actually working in the movie. Such as even cooler motorcycle chase scenes, more stunts, more camera angles, just one more explosion (don’t wanna Michael Bay anything), and other standard issue action movie staples. Shepard had a much smaller cast and budget ($2 million) for his Hit & Run film, and he still managed to produce much cooler action sequences than he did with CHIPS‘ budget ($25 million).
However, to this film’s credit, it was nice to see that not all of the characters magically turned into motorcross pros. We’ve all seen “that one movie” when everyone is dancing perfectly, are sharp shooters, or can fight like Mohammad Ali. It’s insulting to the audience, no one actually believes that everyone is a pro at whatever skill is being portrayed in “that one movie”. Yes, the CHP officers were proficient with their motorcycle skills, but they weren’t riding across roof tops, or jumping off the bike punching out bad guys and hoping back on the bike. The film wisely leaves any serious motorcross stunts to Baker, a former motocross superstar, and select members from the motorcycle gang.
All in all, this movie is entertaining! Yes, a couple of bits are over done, but all comedies are guilty of that. What’s really holding the film back? It needs a sharper pass. Shepard should’ve had a classic Hollywood ghostwriter swoop in to punch up the screenplay. This would’ve helped make the banter wittier, and would’ve provided a real twist to the case. Perhaps then, the script would’ve truly been worth of all the amazing talent attached to it, but I do tip my hat off to Shepard for always having a stacked cast. The final thing Shepard should’ve done is just stayed away from CHiPs altogether. The film is halfway descent all by itself. Unfortunately, audiences are no long willing to pay full ticket price for remakes that are only half way descent or down rate vomit inducing. If Shepard 86’ed CHiPs and simply released the film under an original moniker, it could’ve had a shot at box office success.
With all of that said, I say phew! Money saved. So glad I waited until this film hit the dollar theater to check out, because it allowed me to enjoy it that much more. Had I spent full price on this particular movie, I wouldn’t have embraced the film’s flaws. CHIPS is the kinda bad the circles back around to being good. Definitely see this if it’s playing locally at a dollar theater near you, or maybe grab it from a Red Box – wait, do those still exist? If you refuse to spend any direct cash on the film, definitely check it out once it his streaming services.
What say you?
Unnecessary Theater Experience: This is a new segment I will implement in my reviews if my movie going experience suffers at the hands of a fellow movie goers, and by “movies goers” I mean the bizarre and down right rude.
While viewing this film some lady walked in 20 minutes late, sat down for 2 minutes, and then left the theater. Bizarre. The lady also left all of her belongings in the seat she abandoned. She came back in, and sit in a different seat. Then she left that seat returning to the original seat, and left it again another three times while taking a phone call during the film. Rude.
Can anyone top that?