Ever since his Punk'd days, Dax Shepard has been an underrated force in Hollywood — and no, that's not a joke. The former Groundling has starred in TV dramas (Parenthood), critically acclaimed animated comedies (Robot Chicken and King of the Hill) and even wrote, directed and starred in a pair of movies (2010's critically panned Brother's Justice and 2012's slightly better-received Hit and Run, which went on to gross over six times what it cost to make).
Shepard continues his good track record with CHiPs, a no-nonsense, high-octane action comedy that delivers on both fronts.
Based on the popular American television drama starring Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox about a pair of California highway patrolmen and their adventures roaming the streets of L.A., CHiPs stars Shepard as Jon Baker, a former motocross star who takes a job with the CHP in an attempt to impress his wife and save his failing marriage. It's there that he meets partner Frank Poncherello (Michael Peña, delivering a hilarious performance that would make the original Ponch proud), an FBI agent tasked with investigating a secret heist ring stemming from the CHP. Together, they uncover a conspiracy even more dangerous and sinister than they expected.
Bawdy and brash, CHiPs falls somewhere between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum's 21 Jump Street and Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott's The Dukes of Hazzard in terms of TV reboots on the big screen — its humour is surprisingly crude, but it lacks the self-awareness of the former and is, at times, played too straight up (like the latter).
Where CHiPs does shine is in its action sequences — fast-paced, cat-and-mouse road races that seamlessly transition from the road to the movie's comedic scenes. It's a rare feat for many filmmakers, but Shepard handles it well, further proving his strength, both literally and figuratively, behind the wheel. (Warner)