CHiPs: Law & Disorder Review
Director: Dax Shepard
Starring: Dax Shepard, Michael Peña, Vincent D'Onofrio, Kristen Bell, Maya Rudolph, Rosa Salazar, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Richard T. Jones, Arturo del Puerto, Jessica McNamee, Adam Brody, Carly Hatter, Ryan Hansen, Jane Kaczmarek, Ben Falcone, Erik Estrada.
I'm actually old enough to remember the original American TV series CHiPs, that ran for 139 long episodes spanning six years from 1977 that followed the CHP (Californian Highway Patrol) officers as they tackled crime. Though mostly, they were reruns and from what I remember, which isn't much, is that it was a crime dramedy which had little violence but more pile ups and motorbike chases which became a signature of the show.
Now Dax Shepard takes the iconic TV series with some major tweaks which are not necessarily an improvement and it seems to be a growing trend with reworking American TV shows into something it originally wasn't, looking at the soon-coming Baywatch and Starsky and Hutch as examples. However, I will try to look at this as an isolated film, whilst referencing the original. It's a borderline spoof of Point Break with a style similar to Shepard's earlier film Hit and Run, which coincidentally has Carly Hatter both another FBI agent by the name of Roth.
Firstly the characters, the pair being very much the central part of the plot, that stays, including the their names, especially the mockery explanation of Ponch's name, Francis Llewelyn Poncherello played by Michael Peña. But there's a role swap, with Dax Shepard playing Jon Baker, who is no longer the straight-laced, level-headed highway patrolman, but instead an ex-X-Gamer who is as daring as he is stupid. His 'Baker' is like the love child of Will Ferrell and Owen Wilson.
Secondly, the film is a rather perverse version of the show with unnecessary nudity and strong sexual innuendos and reference, especially Ponch's bathroom habits and the effect tight jogging pants has on him.
The plot is basic consisting of some corrupt cops within the department who are performing robberies across the states, with little reason apart from the fact they can. There's some noticeable weak spots where they have tried to make scenes work but with bad editing. I think they ran out of budget as you notice certain action is implied off the screen.
The story serves drastically with a few comical scenes to try hold it all together, as it's quite messy and possibly confusing to some with too many side characters. There's some good editing and then some awful editing which makes me assume there was a couple of chief editors, one responsible for the action scenes and the other for glueing the whole film together, both in separate buildings. But clearly you can tell they either ran out of time, budget or both.
The action is acceptably good, nice camera angles but isn't outstanding and leaves you wanting more. Some of the explosive action certainly inspired by Heat. Something the TV series never did was fire their guns, but there's plenty of silly gun action here. It's just badly put together and shows poor editing skills. Though, come to think of it, instead of giving the editors a hard time, they clear did what they could with what they had to work which is obviously not the full picture.
Unfortunately, it starts off really well to only set you up for the messy crash with some shoddy acting and without playing homage to its source material, apart from the obvious cameo. But Peña and Shepard actually pull off a funny buddy cop bromance, with some shocking laugh-out-loud moments, but there's not enough to save the film and the lack of good action just becomes nothing else but a hint of what they could have done. Comedies seen to get a hard time, but this is a prime example of what happens when you cut corners.
Running Time: 6
The Cast: 6
Job Description: 3
The Extra Bonus Point: 0
Would I buy the Blu-ray?: Nah.
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