Blu-ray Review: CHIPS (2017)


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Dull, rude, and insulting, CHiPs is bro cinema at its worst, the movie equivalent of two teenage boys having a contest to see who can come up with the most swear words in two minutes. The movie is based on the popular late-’70s/early-’80s TV show of the same name, but as a fan of the original, character names aside, this movie has little in common with its original source material.

Trying to score a large amount of cash to help himself and his drug addict son, Raymond (Justin Chatwin), California Highway Patrol Officer Ray Kurtz (Vincent D’onofrio) is leading a group of corrupt cops in a series of armored car heist, in a bid to get his son out of Los Angeles.  Writer-director Dax Shepard plays Jon Baker, a former motocross rider who’s the oldest rookie on the police force. His partner, Frank “Ponch” Poncherello (Michael Peña) is an FBI agent, undercover the California Highway Patrol to investigate the corrupt cops. While John desperately needs a change in his life, Ponch is hoping to impress his supervisors, and salvage his broken marriage to Karen (Kristen Bell).

As the story unfolds there are absolutely no surprises. John and Frank, unable to find any common ground, don’t get along at all. While Jon wants to impress his supervisors with his work, Ponch avoids police duty whenever possible, by pursuing various clues, hoping to gather enough evidence to expose Kurtz’s increasingly hostile actions.

For fans of the original series, CHiPs biggest disappointment will be Dax Shepard’s apparent commitment to largely ignoring the source material. Ponch, a lady’s man on the original show, is now a full-blown sex addict who requires several maturation sessions a day. This Ponch comes across as a dirty, middle-aged man, which is neither funny nor interesting. While I know it’s not the 1970’s anyone, was it necessary to turn a fun, rather innocuous cop show into a raunchy, not particularly funny comedy?

There have been a lot of television shows made into films over the last decade or so. I  think it’s safe to say that CHiPs given the lack of chemistry between Shepard and Peña, Bad jokes, and penchant for swearing, is somewhere on the list of the worst. Walk, don’t run, if you plan on renting or buying this title.

Presented in the 1.85 aspect ratio, this 1080p presentation is a strong one. The image is  clear, and details are strong, whether it be the blacktop of the highway, textures, or blood from an injury. Movement is smooth throughout, and separation looks good. Black levels are deep, and rich. The color palette feature lots of blacks, and browns, while vivid reds and yellows fill the screen during fires and explosions. Skin tones appear natural and realistic throughout, and artifacts aren’t present.

The 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack allows for a fairly immersive experience, which is nice, given this is a fairly loud film. Vocal, effects, and score are all given an opportunity to  dominate the presentation. Everything is well balanced, never crowding a competing element. The effects have a nice level of depth as well. Surround sound placement is excellent. Rear speakers are fully engaged during the action sequences, but rightly fade into the background when more ambiance is required. This is really a solid mix.

English, English SDH, French, Spanish, and Portuguese subtitles are included.

The following extras are available:

  • This Is Not Your Dad’s CHIPS (HD, 9:04) Writer/director/actor Dax Shepard, producer Andrew Panay and actors Ryan Hansen, Kristen Bell, Jane Kaczmarak, David Koechner, Jessica McNamee, Adam Brody, Rosa Salazar, and Michael Peña discuss the original TV series and its adaptation, the cast, characters, and performances.
  • Practical Pursuit (HD, 9:15) Dax Shepard, Pursuit Systems chief designer/partner, special effects coordinator Larz Anderson and stunt coordinator Steve DeCastro discuss the films various stunts.
  • Ducati: The Perfect Bike (HD, 4:38) Dax Shepard, Ducati North America CEO Jason Chinnock, and motorcycle mechanic Tyler Loguzzo discuss the bikes used in the film. Comes across like an ad for Ducati.
  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 10:19) Ten in all. Can be viewed with or without intros from Shepard. With inros, the runtime is 14:58.
  • DVD Copy of the film.
  • UltraViolet.

Movie title: CHIPS (2017)

Director(s): Dax Shepard

Actor(s): Dax Shepard , Michael Peña , Adam Brody , Jessica McNamee , Ryan Hansen , Kristen Bell

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Action

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