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Skiptrace

2016-11-18 07:57
 

What it’s about:

A detective from Hong Kong (Jackie Chan) tries to bring an American gambler (Jonny Knoxville) across Asia from Siberia, to testify against a Hong Kong drug lord that he believes was responsible for killing his partner some nine years ago.

What we thought:

The big problem with these 21st century martial arts movies is not the Kung Fu genre itself. Korean Kung Fu films were a real art a few years ago. The problem is the slapstick comedies it has become due to the American commercialisation of it to try and make it a Hollywood blockbuster instead of an art film. The film follows the exact boring recipe of almost every other previous Jackie Chan movie with nothing new on the big screen. A martial arts buddy comedy full of cheap stunts and jokes. This time the character of Owen Wilson or Chris Tucker has just been replaced with Johnny Knoxville, who fails miserably in his role. But maybe it is not so much so just Knoxville’s character, but the film itself that fails so miserably. 

It is as if director Jenny Harlin tried to squeeze in all the martial arts comedies of the last century into one single film. So much is happening and yet nothing is going on. There is no flow in the film, scenes seem too impulsive and the film just never comes together. The fact that Knoxville’s character has to have some funny one-liner or gag at the end of each scene also becomes very annoying. The action scenes are typical to any other Jackie Chan film, except  that he is not a spring chicken anymore.  It now just feels more unrealistic and makes the scenes even more difficult to believe than before.

Except for the non-existing story progression, the dialogue in between all the weird accents is hard to follow and just as bad. It is films like this where I feel the actors alone can’t be blamed. We’ve seen our main stars in other action comedies before that worked. This comes down to a bad script, bad direction and poor editing. The so-called “twist” at the end falls flat and practically just doesn’t make sense. For me the only thing it did was to put the Honk Kong Police in a bad light. Then there is another ridiculous scene where the two heroes find themselves in the Gobi desert breaking out in a sing-a-long with a tribe of Mongolians to Adele’s Rolling In The Deep.

After The Accountant, this was a big disappointment. What happened to all the good action and martial arts films? Or rather, the good action and martial arts screenwriters? Why is it that filmmakers feel the need to shove a bunch of lame jokes and bloody fist fights into the face of the audience in order for them to be entertained? We’ve all seen it a million times, now let’s see some proper story telling. This one is not even worth the wait for the DVD or TV release.

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