It’s become a regular occurrence in Hollywood nowadays to take old television shows and adapt them into big screen features. For some reason, they always end up as comedies, even if they weren’t on TV. 21 Jump Street, Baywatch, Dark Shadows, Dukes of Hazzard, the list goes on and on. The latest entry is based on the show CHiPs which ran from 1977-1983 and while it was slightly cheesy, it was just a cop show. For the big screen version, they have opted once again to go the comedy route and drop the offset capitalization with Chips.
Dax Shepard co-writes and directs as well as stars as new Highway Patrol recruit Jon Baker, the oldest new recruit on the force. Baker wants to make a change in his life to win back his ex-wife after a career as a pro freestyle motocross racer left them on the rocks. Baker is partnered with Frank ‘Ponch’ Poncherello (Michael Peña), an undercover FBI agent trying to sniff out corrupt cops that may be involved in an armored car robbery. Jon and Ponch are polar opposites but must find a way to work together if they are to solve the case and put their lives back in order.
Chips is not outstanding in any way really, but still managed to be a fun timewaster with some solid performances and good laughs. Shepard has tried his hand at directing a few times before but Chips is by far the biggest film he has ever helmed. And he does a good job, the pace is good, the characters are fleshed out enough to make them matter and the action is well staged. Chips just doesn’t go that extra mile to become something special. But they do get kudos for casting Vincent D’Onofrio as a crooked cop, you can’t go wrong there. If you are planning a movie night with friends and need a good laugh, Chips will fill that order just fine.