Actor Dax Shepard sinks his directorial teeth into this remake of 1970s TV series CHiPs, in which he stars alongside Michael Peña as highway patrol partners Jon (Shepard), a down-beat ex motorcycle stunt guy trying to save his marriage, and Ponch (Peña), a womanising undercover FBI agent. The duo form a bromance and make an unlikely dream team when it comes to uncovering crime.
Shot entirely in Southern California, the audience is treated to some panoramic views of LA showcasing the best in modern technological achievements when it comes to filmmaking. Dax and Peña’s characters are both lovable, roguish and dim enough to be likeable and there’s a gay black cop-couple (move out the way, Moonlight). Shepard’s real-life wife Kristen Bell makes an appearance as his on-screen good-for-nothing wife – Bell supposedly refrained from breastfeeding their child for 24 hours in order to make sure her chest was fully engorged for the role, which, stunts aside, is an impressive feat in itself.
Remakes are often tricky territory, and besides the names of the characters and general job outline (in the original CHiPs Jon and Ponch were motorcycle cops who patrolled LA) it’s difficult to see why they would have tried to remake the TV show other than to half-heartedly piggyback on the popularity of the original series.
The movie is as heavy on the product placement and casual sexism as it is with the fast motors and explosives. As a cut-and-dried action feature CHiPs is a familiar formula that audiences have seen hundreds of times before, and with that in mind it’s hard to see how it’s bringing anything new to the table. That being said, if action is what you want then this film is entertaining, provided you don’t mind checking your brain at the door.
Tarn Rodgers Johns
CHiPs is released nationwide on 24th March 2017.
Watch the trailer for CHiPs here: