Jon Baker (Shepard) and Frank Ponch Poncherello (Peña) have just joined the California Highway Patrol (CHP) in Los Angeles, but for very different reasons. Baker is a beaten-up former pro motorbiker trying to put his life and marriage back together. Poncherello is a cocky undercover Federal agent investigating a multi-million dollar heist that may be an inside-job inside the CHP. The inexperienced rookie and the hardened pro are teamed together, but clash more than click, so kick-starting a real partnership is easier said than done. But with Baker’s unique bike skills and Ponch’s street savvy it might just work…if they don’t drive each other crazy first.
1080p, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
2017, Rated R, 1 hour 40 minutes
Starring: Dax Shepard, Michael Peña, Kristen Bell, Rosa Salazar, Adam Brody
Directed by: Dax Shepard
CHIPS, based on the old TV series, is a Dax Shepard comedy chronicling the pairing of a tenured undercover FBI agent, Ponch, and a newly sworn-in and very physically fragile California Highway Patrol officer, Jon, as they set out on their first assignment. Of course, little does Jon know that Ponch is an FBI agent at the outset. Ponch is embedded in an effort to catch a number of dirty cops, including the lead bad guy, Ray Kurtz. Jon’s skill as a motorcycle whizz, coupled with Ponch’s determination and experience allow them to get past their initial intrapersonal issues to become a great team. As they pursue the crooked cops, Jon is also in the process of trying to put his marriage back together despite the fact that his wife is already living with another guy in their house. Meanwhile, Ponch is a sex addict who is constantly succumbing to his desires.
The movie isn’t going to win any awards for the story, but there are some extremely funny exchanges between the two characters that makes it worth a watch. Initially, Ponch is a hardened detective that doesn’t want to discuss his issues with his new partner, while Jon is overly psychoanalytic, bordering on invasive. This dynamic coupled with the characters’ personal issues leads to much of the humorous interaction. I can’t honestly say I found it all funny, but there were definitely parts that had me laughing out loud.
Not everything in the film is all laughs. In fact, the one thing that actually surprised me about the film was the level of violence. There were some fairly graphic action sequences that one does not expect to be in a comedy, but they were not so gritty as to be completely out of place. Vincent D’Onofrio always gives a superb performance, especially when he is a bad guy. You never know just how close his characters are to tipping over the edge of crazy. That is true of Ray Kurtz as well, who is supposedly crooked for nothing more than to get funds to pay for his son’s special needs. Thus, he is able to justify the aforementioned violence and brutality in his pursuit.
CHIPS actually had a lot more action and big-budget style explosions than I would have thought, and they looked excellent on screen. I thought the Blu-Ray presentation looked sharp. In addition, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track really impressed me. They made excellent use of the surround channels especially during the chase scenes. I may go so far as to use one or two of the action sequences to demo my system.
- This is Not Your Dad’s CHiPs
- Practical Pursuit
- Ducati: The Perfect Bike
- Director’s Commentary
- Deleted Scenes