Renny Harlin brings the action buddy comedy back into full swing with Skiptrace, a rambunctious romp through the Orient starring the perfectly paired odd couple of Jackie Chan and Johnny Knoxville. Harlin has lovingly studied stuff like Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon, creating a piece of adventurous fun that sits on the same level as those beloved classics, and even outdoes them in some areas of the stunt work. Chan must be well into his 50’s now, but he still swings about like a squirrel monkey on Ritalin, agile as ever. Knoxville is a little less graceful, getting pummeled and thrown around in ways that must remind his weary bones of all that stupid, backbreaking shit he cavorted through on Jackass. Chan plays a Hong Kong police officer trying to bring down an elusive crime lord called The Matador, who is also Chinese, despite the Latin moniker. Knoxville is a bumbling casino hustler who accidentally witnesses said Matador execute some poor girl in cold blood. The chase is then on, Chan trying to get Knoxville to Hong Kong so he can testify, Knoxville hilariously trying to save his own ass and outrun clueless russian mobsters at the same time. It’s absolute juvenile chaos, and I mean that as the hugest compliment ever. Harlin just *gets* the simplicity of this subgenre, and makes a miracle of a buddy flick that I now rank with some of my favourites. He’s also an action guy (we have him to thank for Die Hard 2 and Cliffhanger, among many others), and the stunts on display here will box your ears. The choreography is just plain nuts and beautifully sans CGI, especially in a knockout early sequence where Chan extradites Knoxville from the russian’s possession, and a dizzying zip line ride across a canyon that evokes merry memories of Cliffhanger. Also, I have to give major kudos to any flick that let’s us see a hammered Chan wail away an impromptu rendition of Adele’s Rolling In The Deep, accompanied by dozens of Mongolian plain dwelling tribes people. Yeah. This is some of the most fun I’ve had at the movies so far this year, and it’ll go in the special section of my dvd shelf reserved for the best and brightest in buddy comedies. Not that I actually organize my collection that well, but whatever. Go see this now.
Podcasting Them Softly is overwhelmingly excited to present a chat with veteran action director Renny Harlin, a man who needs very little introduction! Die Hard 2. Cliffhanger. The Long Kiss Goodnight. The Adventures of Ford Fairlane. Deep Blue Sea. Cutthroat Island. Exorcist: The Beginning. And so many others. His latest action extravaganza, Skiptrace, stars Jackie Chan and Johnny Knoxville, and is set to explode into cinemas this summer. Listen as Nick and Frank try and contain their excitement, and Renny dishes on his incredible career and his newest cinematic offering — we hope you enjoy!