March 28, 2017
CHiPs Big Screen Reboot Panned by Critics
Growing up in the 70s and 80s, most American kids – and many of their parents – were big fans of CHiPs. The program followed the exploits of a pair of California Highway Patrol officers out to do good, help people, and generally look cool cruising on their motorcycles. The episodes were fun brain candy, a chance for the whole family to hang out and share some TV time.
According to many critics, though, the new big screen remakeis anything but. Dax Shepard wrote, produced, directed, and starred in the remake, alongside Michael Pena … a remake one critic described as a “tawdry, testosterone-fueled tale built around penis jokes and endless evaluation of women’s appearances…”
Now, this is hardly the first time a big budget Hollywood action movie was built around locker room humor, so what’s all the fuss about?
Some are calling the movie an affront to nostalgia that borrows the name of the classic TV series and then destroys everything people loved about it. Sure, the 70s “Ponch” and John were cast as beefcakes to make the ladies swoon, but it was always played as camp with a flair that reflected a distinctive time and place.
This isn’t the first time Hollywood has tried to turn a hit TV action series into a movie … with mixed results. The Miami Vice big screen adaptation was not very well received, and the silver screen version of the A-Team got mixed reviews, some loved it, some hated it. With these shows, though, the producers and writers tried to stay true to the spirit of the show. Miami Vice was slick and flashy, while the A-Team depended on comic one-liners and sleight of hand action. One was family friendly. The other, not so much … and the movies followed that script.
CHiPs doesn’t rely on the charm of its earlier iteration. Though, what it does deliver is some truly inspired bike action, as well as some gorgeous scenes blazing through the City of Angels. Speaking of charm, the lead actors do their best to exude it, but that, according to the critics, just works to emphasize how out of place their middle-school dialogue feels.
There will be some who will like this movie, no doubt, no matter what the critics say. Even the almost universally panned remake of the Swayze-Reeves classic Point Break has its share of fans. This new CHiPs borrows a lot of the same ideas as the Point Break remake. Actions sports star turns cop sets out to fight crime but can’t quite shake his bad boy image.
Critics imply the movie feels like a bunch of one-note clichés blundering into one overplayed action movie staple scene after another, with frequent stops to leer at every woman on the screen. There’s a market for that, sure, and it’s very possible moviegoers will prove the critics wrong.