Oct 152016

Skiptrace is the latest direct-to-video turkey that I’ve had the “pleasure” to watch just this year and it’s a sad seeing Jackie Chan in the DTV realm but it’s not hard to see why this one fell flat.




Genre(s): Comedy, Action, Martial Arts
Lionsgate | PG13 – 98 min. – $24.99 | October 25, 2016

Date Published: 10/15/2016 | Author: The Movieman


Directed by:
Renny Harlin
Writer(s): Jay Longino (story), Jay Longino and Bendavid Grabinski (screenplay)
Cast: Jackie Chan, Johnny Knoxville, Fan Bingbing, Eric Isang, Eve Torres, Winston Chau
Commentary, Featurette
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish
Disc Size: 20.2 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A


THE MOVIE — 2.0/5

More often than not, you can gauge a film’s quality off of just a poster or cover artwork and going in I didn’t have much hope with Skiptrace and it lived up to such low expectations. This is a B-level martial arts-comedy that tries so hard to be Rush Hour or Shanghai Noon (the latter especially) and while Jackie Chan sure looks good for his age (62) and still has moves, the plot is bad and the comedy, or lack thereof, was so much worse.

Skiptrace opens like many of these have before. Bennie Chan (JACKIE CHAN) watches as his partner, Yung (ERIC TSANG), strapped with a bomb, sacrifices himself leaping from a building before blowing up in the water below. Fast forward nine years later and Bennie is obsessed with finding his partner’s killer, namely Victor Wong (WINSTON CHAO), who he believes is a crime lord known as The Matador.

Meanwhile, we meet Connor Watts (JOHNNY KNOXVILLE), a professional hustler who gets wrapped up in this plot when, while gambling at a Macau casino/hotel, he meets Samantha (BINGBING FAN), the daughter of Yung. She’s working at the casino, basically undercover on her own, to get the goods on Wong. Watts for his part witnesses Wong murder a young woman who had stolen Wong’s phone which she gives to Watts before dying. He escapes but is kidnapped by Russian gangsters who drag him back to the home country confronted with the fact the mob bosses daughter is pregnant with his kid. Get all that?

When Samantha’s life is threaten, as Watts is framed for stealing from the casino, Chan goes to Russia, manages to save Watts and the pair go on a cross-continent journey — Midnight Run basically — back to China, along the way meeting a variety of colorful characters including stopping by a Mongolian camp where a rendition of Adele’s ‘Rolling in the Deep’ is sung.

It’s easy to see why Skiptrace, well, skipped theaters (it was set for a 9/2 opening but no box office reported). In spite of some decent enough fight scenes with Jackie Chan who even in his older years still has some moves, the script is downright bad and Johnny Knoxville is hardly a charming cohort to Chan, albeit in Knoxville’s defense, he doesn’t exactly have great material to work off of. Beyond that, it’s just uneven, it seems like the filmmakers wanted this to be some Hong Kong martial arts drama mixed with an American buddy comedy (a la Shanghai Noon and Rush Hour), and the mix never quite gels. It doesn’t help that the story is predictable and the pacing was off.

Skiptrace was scripted by Jay Longino and Bendavid Grabinski both making their sophomoric effort, Longino following the awful Bachelor Party 2 and Grabinski Cost of Living short film starring Brandon Routh) and was helmed by Renny Harlin who really has taken a nosedive following a respectable enough career with Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger and Deep Blue Sea but has his fair share of turkeys (see: Driven, Exorcist: The Beginning and The Legend of Hercules). Here, he makes for an OK director able to direct action scenes well enough but he’s not the type that can overcome a hackneyed script.


This release comes with a matted slip cover. Inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy. Features wise, we only get an Audio Commentary with Director Renny Harlin and a featurette, When Jackie Met Johnny (5:03; HD) on the pairing of Chan and Knoxville.


VIDEO – 3.75/5

Lionsgate releases Skiptrace onto Blu-ray presented with a 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. Considering this is an action-comedy with a bigger focus on comedy, Harlin and is DP keeps things bright and cheerful with vibrant colors while detail looks fine though not especially sharp. There are no signs of artifacts, aliasing or other flaws so it’s at least a pleasant-looking transfer, just nothing exceptional.

AUDIO – 4.25/5

The movie includes a standard yet effective DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which features clear dialogue levels and when the action picks up, the full spectrum of each channel gets utilized with nice, well rounded, depth throughout. Like the picture, you’re not getting reference quality yet still a fine lossless track.


OVERALL – 2.5/5

Overall, Skiptrace is the latest direct-to-video turkey that I’ve had the “pleasure” to watch just this year and it’s a sad seeing Jackie Chan in the DTV realm but it’s not hard to see why this one fell flat. The release through Lionsgate has good video and audio transfers but is limited in the features department.





Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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