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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Aug 8, 2016

Skiptrace Movie Review: Fast-Paced Buddy Cop Movie That Will Surely Please Action-Comedy Fans

JACKIE CHAN is no doubt the most successful Asian star who hit it big in Hollywood. His first hit was “Rush Hour”, an action comedy with Chris Tucker that made him a Hollywood star in 1998. This had two equally blockbuster sequels, “Rush Hour 2 and 3”. He also teamed up with Owen Wilson in “Shanghai Noon”, which also had a sequel. But his later releases, “The Tuxedo”, “The Medallion” and his own version of “Around the World in 80 Days”, were not as successful. He tried doing drama supporting Will Smith’s son in “The Karate Kid” remake.

He now returns in a buddy cop action comedy, “Skiptrace”, directed by Renny Harlin, best known for “Die Hard 2” and “Cliffhanger”. Jackie plays a Hongkong detective, Bennie Chan, who’s been trying to track down Chinese crime boss, Victor Wong (Winston Chao), for a long time. He believes Wong is actually the elusive crime lord called Matador who has earlier killed his young partner (Eric Tsang).

Jackie raises Tsang’s motherless daughter, Samantha (Fan Bingbing), who later runs into trouble with Wong’s crime syndicate while working undercover in a gambling palace in Macau. Jackie has to ask the help of Connor Watts (Johnny Knoxville of “Jackass”), a motor mouth gambler and con man who witnesses a murder and is taken to Siberia. Jackie has to rescue Johnny there and take him back to Hongkong so they can help Samantha.

Together, they team up on a dangerous series of misadventures that take them on a travelogue road trip to the panoramic sand dunes of the Gobi desert as well as the chilly mountains of Mongolia. As usual, they don’t hit it off well at the start but, as maybe expected, they later on become friends in this entertaining buddy cop action comedy. As directed by Harlin, this Hongkong-U.S.A. co-production relies much on the likeable comic chemistry between Jackie and Johnny (as funny as Chris Tucker) as well as the beautiful international locations where the movie was shot.

The movie offers a lot of slapstick comedy with many throwaway gags and references to other movies like “Titanic” and “Butch Cassidy”, as well as fast-paced action scenes that give you your money’s worth. It has already opened in China where it’s a big hit, now followed by Manila and later, on September 2, in the U.S.A. “Skiptrace” offers fast-paced, good-natured entertainment that will surely please action-comedy fans, even in its clips showing bloopers at the end. But the end credits sadly show a dedication to Jackie’s long time cinematographer, Chan Kwok Hung, who died in a drowning accident while the film was being shot.