Director: Renny Harlin
Writers: Jay Longino, BenDavid Grabinski
Releasing Date: 2 September 2016 (USA)
Stars: Jackie Chan, Johnny Knoxville, Bingbing Fan
Genres: Action, Adventure, Crime
A peak in Jackie Chan’s U.S. movie stardom was “Shanghai Noon,” an amiable buddy action comedy that hung on the odd-couple chemistry between his straight-arrow Chinese emigre hero and Owen Wilson’s laconic, genially slippery Wild West outlaw. It was a pairing successful enough to prompt a sequel (“Shanghai Knights” in 2003), and now a sort of loose revamp in “Skiptrace.” But 16 years after “Noon,” the 62-year-old star’s boyish freneticism has finally succumbed to an understandable air of fatigue; it falls to new co-star Johnny Knoxville to take the majority of pratfalls, and supply the principal comic energy.
Things start unpromisingly on a rote “must avenge my partner” note with Bennie Chan (Chan) failing to rescue police colleague Yung (Eric Tsang) from an apparent trap by elusive crime kingpin the Matador. As Yung nobly plunges to a presumed watery grave, he makes Bennie promise to look after his motherless daughter. Nine years later, Bennie is still obsessively trying to expose the Matador’s real identity, which he believes to be business tycoon Victor Wong (Winston Chao). But this leads him and his younger colleagues (Shi Shi, Kuo Pin Chao) into a bungled quayside drug-deal raid that causes maximum property damage while uncovering no hard evidence whatsoever.
The general silliness is underlined by some broadly jokey soundtrack choices, typical of an overall package that is resourcefully and professionally splashy if not always classy. Along with the usual blooper clips, the end credits sport a dedication to Chan Kwok-hung, a cinematographer and longtime Chan collaborator who died in a drowning accident during the film’s production. Check More Action Movies reviews and also give yours.