Action hero Jackie Chan rises above uninspired sex jokes and a weak co-star in martial arts/road movie hybrid Skiptrace, a Midnight Run–style buddy comedy that shackles Chan to Jackass star Johnny Knoxville.
As no-nonsense Hong Kong police officer Bennie, Chan drags bawdy con man Connor (Knoxville) across Mongolia to testify against elusive crime boss Victor (Winston Chao). Chan also carries an uncharacteristically stiff Knoxville, who seems to be playing a high school class clown, particularly when Bennie, while cuddling with Connor to stay warm, tells his reluctant partner to stop whining about being the little spoon.
Better still: Director Renny Harlin (Cliffhanger, The Legend of Hercules) brings out the best in Chan during modestly scaled action set pieces. Chan may not be as limber as he was in the Eighties, when he actually broke his back and suffered brain damage while performing his breathtaking stunts. But he’s still got his signature sense of humor, as in the Buster Keaton–worthy chase scene that calls upon him to jump across a group of collapsing stilt houses as they knock each other over like dominoes.
Chan is so charming that he even lands a couple of misguided jokes (three words: drunken Adele cover). Who else could earn a chuckle by pervily exclaiming, “Size D,” after buxom villainess Dasha (Eve Torres) trips and falls bust-first between two warehouse pillars? Skiptrace proves that nothing can stop Jackie Chan, not even poor judgment.
Directed by Renny Harlin
Opens September 2, AMC Empire 25