SURTALCHILGAAN DEER DARAHAD ARILJ KINO GARNA.
“You’re no spring chicken,” says an American player to his Chinese companion halfway through the East-West activity spectacle Skiptrace. It’s a put-down that is implied less for the character than the person playing him. Since Jackie Chan has been joking his age on screen for no less than 10 years now, the joke scarcely feels new, yet as there’s an inborn interest in watching icons age, this generally average film has a specific elegiac force. It opens like a satire (or perhaps a sham) of any number of Hong Kong policiers, with Chan’s upstanding Bennie watching his accomplice kick the bucket amid a medication attack turned out badly; as the film goes on, he’ll pick up another sidekick as Connor Watts (Johnny Knoxville), a skeezy player who’s evacuated to China in the wake of getting banished from homegrown club, and whose way crosses with the super cop’s through plot maneuvers excessively perplexing, making it impossible to synopsize here.
The storyline in Skiptrace is a summary of nonexclusive buzzwords, none of which get quite a bit of a workout. What’s conceivably intriguing is the area shooting (in Mongolia and the Gobi Desert) and the scene of Chan smacking down stand-ins at age 62, which he does with marginally mechanical aplomb. (Now, it’s less about direness than muscle memory.) Knoxville isn’t as starry a Hollywood foil to his co-star’s notorious stoicism as either Chris Tucker or Owen Wilson, yet playing an ass is right in his wheelhouse and in one activity set piece, he’s exceptionally clever as a sort of firmly bound human prop. The greatest current state star in plain view is most likely Fan Bingbing, whose part as the little girl of Bennie’s late accomplice is the lexicon meaning of “difficult.” Former WWE star Eve Torres makes a greater impression as a massive, iron-fisted henchwoman.
Executive Renny Harlin (Die Hard 2, Deep Blue Sea) has declined since his mid ’90s days as the poor man’s Wolfgang Petersen, keeping in mind he makes an expert showing with regards to with the battle scenes, he doesn’t have the light touch required for the (interminably) developed stretch of Hope-Crosby picaresque that serves as the motion picture’s center (and pinnacles, if that is the word, with Chan warbling Adele’s “Coming In The Deep”). Overproduced and endorsed, with altering that feels more like it’s filling crevices in the story than playing skillfully with space and time, Skiptrace is a film made to serve various contending premiums and markets, and in attempting to offer the famous something for everyone—i.e., thriller turns one next to the other with droll drama—it winds up having an exceptionally constrained advance.