Skiptrace (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
October 14, 2016 by Dennis Amith
Renny Harlin’s “Skiptrace” may showcase the most unlikeliest Jackie Chan pairing with actor Johnny Knoxville but this action-comedy is a fun diversion and would be enjoyed by anyone who loves popcorn action films.
FILM RELEASE: 2016
DURATION: 98 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, (2:40:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: English, English SDH and Spanish
COMPANY: Lions Gate
RATED: PG-13 (Action/Violence, Some Suggestive Content, Language, Brief Nudity and Drug Material)
RELEASE DATE: October 25, 2016
Directed by Renny Harlin
Screenplay by Jay Longino, BenDavid Grabinski
Produced by Jackie Chan, Charlie Coker, Min Li, Esmond Ren, Damien Saccani, Hongliang Wu
Executive Producer: Frank Botman, Xiolin Liu, Christopher Lytton, Lifeng Wang, Zhenhua Yang
Co-Executive Producer: Qun Gao, Elizabeth Leader, Lifeng Wang
Music by Kwong Wing Chan
Cinematography by Chi-Ying Chan
Edited by Derek Hui, Judd H. Maslansky, David Moritz
Casting by PoPing AuYeung
Production Design by Sai-wan Lau
Costume Design by Crystal Pa
Jackie Chan as Bennie Chan
Johnny Knoxville as Connor Watts
Bingbing Fan as Samantha Bai
Eric Tsang as Yung
Eve Torres as Dasha
Winston Chao as Victor Wong
Youn Junghoon as Willie
Shi Shi as Leslie
Michael Wong as Tang
For years, by-the-book Hong Kong detective Benny Chan (Jackie Chan) has tried to avenge his partner’s murder at the hands of a drug lord. When Benny learns that freewheeling American gambler Connor Watts (Johnny Knoxville) has the evidence he needs, he teams with Connor to get justice. Now all Benny and Connor have to do is survive the fight of their lives — and each other!
Filmmaker Renny Harlin (“Die Hard 2”, “Cliffhanger”, “Deep Blue Sea”) is best known for his action films and working with some of the top action stars in the industry.
Back in 2011, Harlin was to direct the film “Nosebleed” starring Jackie Chan about a window washer trying to stop terrorists from blowing up the Statue of Liberty and the World Trade Center and on September 11th, filming with Chan on the Twin Towers was to begin in the morning, but the shooting of the scene was delayed. And unfortunately, on that tragic day, 9/11 would claim many lives and Chan, Harlin and the film crew were fortunate that the shooting of the scenes were delayed.
While “Nosebleed” was eventually cancelled, Harlin and Chan would collaborate once again nearly 15 years later for the Hong Kong-Chinese-American action film “Skiptrace”.
The screenplay was written by Jay Longino (“Bachelor Part 2: The Last Temptation”) and BenDavid Grabinski.
The film would star Jackie Chan (“Rush Hour” films, “Police Story”, “Shanghai Noon”, “Rumble in the Bronx”), Johnny Knoxville (“Jackass” films”, “Bad Grandpa”), Bingbing Fan (“X-Men: Days of Future Past”, “Iron Man 3”, “Bodyguard and Assassins”), Eric Tsang (“Infernal Affairs” films, “The Accidental Spy”, “Comrades, Almost a Love Story”), Eve Torres (former WWE Superstar), Winston Chao (“The Wedding Banquet”, “Eat Drink Man Woman”, “1911”) and Michael Wong (“Beast Cops”, “Transformers”, “Thunderbolt”).
The film debuted at #1 in the China box office and has earned over $134 million worldwide. And now “Skiptrace” will be available on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Lions Gate.
The film begins with an introduction to Hong Kong detective Bennie Chan (portrayed by Jackie Chan) and his partner Yung (portrayed by Eric Tsang) has a bomb strapped to him and is killed.
Bennie knows that the crime boss Matador is responsible but who is Matador? Bennie suspects its businessman Victor Wong (portrayed by Winston Chao) and has done all he can to investigate.
Meanwhile, con man and habitual liar Connor Watts (portrayed by Johnny Knoxville) is known for his skills with attracting women, gambling and getting what he wants. But unfortunately, because he has gotten a Russian kingpin’s daughter pregnant, the Russian gang wants him brought back to Siberia.
So, Connor goes to China to try his luck at the casinos and also meet with women, one who happens to be Samantha (portrayed by Fan Bingbing), the daughter of Yung. While going to his room, while riding an elevator, he sees a distressed woman running towards him for help. A group of Chinese gang members shoot and kill her and the woman lands on Connor.
Witnessing a crime, Connor doesn’t want any trouble and leaves but he is quickly caught by the Russians.
Bennie is assigned the case to track down Bennie and finds out he has been taken to Siberia. Bennie rescues him and now must bring him back to China.
But Bennie is going to quickly learn that it’s not going to be easy to take the lying and cheating Connor back to China and because they are stranded without any vehicle or money, they must find a way to work together. Especially now that Bennie feels that Connor may be the person that can help him capture the elusive, Matador.
“Skiptrace” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio). The film looks very good in HD as closeups show great detail. Vibrant outdoor scenes and great capturing of fight scenes.. I didn’t notice any banding or artifact issues during my viewing of the film.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Skiptrace” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. The film features crystal clear dialogue and music and also good use of surround channels during the more action-driven scenes.
Subtitles are in English, English SDH and Spanish.
“Skiptrace” comes with the following special features:
- Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary from Renny Harlin.
- When Jacky Met Johnny – (5:02) Interview with Jackie Chan and Johnny Knoxville.
“Skiptrace” comes with a slipcover and an UltraViolet HD code.
Jackie Chan is an actor who has literally done many kinds of films, but also has been paired with actors and actresses that you never saw coming.
While his most successful pairing was with Chris Tucker for the “Rush Hour” films, we have seen Chan paired with Owen Wilson for the two “Shangai Noon” and “Shanghai Knights” films, Jennifer Love Hewitt in “The Tuxedo”, with Billy Ray Cyrus and children for “The Spy Next Door”, Jaden Smith for “The Karate Kid” and now a pairing that no one would ever imagine seeing, with “Jackass” star, Johnny Knoxville.
In this Hong Kong-China-American film collaboration, the action-comedy features Hong Kong/China’s famous talents such as Jackie Chan, Fan Binbing, Eric Tsang, Winston Chao and Michael Wong and while one could think that things could go wrong with a pairing with Johnny Knoxville, the film has a talented action filmmaker directing the film and that’s Renny Harlin.
“Skiptrace” is quite interesting in the fact that the series tries to balance humor and action, and the pairing of Chan’s Bennie and Knoxville’s Connor is rather interesting because they are both very different from each other, but unlike previous pairings with Jackie Chan, the character of Connor is a lying, cheating individual who tries to thwart Bennie every chance he gets. But the more they find themselves in trouble, the more the two realize, they really need to trust each other.
Things happen that you can’t help but laugh (the Chan/Connor scene with a horse just taking a dump during a scene, when the two didn’t expect it) to Jackie Chan and many start singing Adele’s “Deep in the Rolling”.
The fight scenes are well-done as Jackie Chan action films often have his crew making sure all goes well with fight choreography but as you can see at the end of the film (like most Jackie Chan films), the actor still gets banged up a bit.
But while the film is a mediocre Jackie Chan action film compared to his plethora of awesome action films in his oeuvre spanning many decades, surprisingly, it’s a film that works well and it’s funny and entertaining. For the most part, it’s a good popcorn action film.
Picture quality is fantastic, especially outdoor scenes and closeups show great detail. Lossless audio is well-done for the action sequences and dialogue and music are crystal clear. And you get a few special features included as well.
Overall, Renny Harlin’s “Skiptrace” may showcase the most unlikeliest Jackie Chan pairing with actor Johnny Knoxville but this action-comedy is a fun diversion and would be enjoyed by anyone who loves popcorn action films.
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