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Blu-ray Review: CHiPs

June 23, 2017 | By Herija Green | Comments (0)
CHiPsThat truck blowed up real good.

There has been no shortage of loose remakes of old television shows into modern movies: 21 Jump Street, The Brady Bunch, Starsky and Hutch, Dukes of Hazzard and so on. Next up to feed at the trough is CHiPs, a buddy comedy/action film based on the late-70s, early-80s show of the same name — though how much it shares with its namesake other than motorcycles is up for debate.

THE PLOT

Following an armored car robbery that points to the involvement of members of the California Highway Patrol, the FBI sends an agent undercover as Frank “Ponch” Poncherello (Michael Pena) to investigate from the inside while his estranged partner handles its public face. Ponch is partnered with onetime motorcycle riding champion turned aged rookie officer Jon Baker (Dax Shepard).

Their partnership gets off to a rocky start with Ponch attempting to look into the robberies without tipping anyone off and Baker, who’s in a probationary period, trying to write up as many tickets as possible. While Ponch initially views Baker as a complete liability, the rookie begins to slowly alter that perception through some astute observations that benefit the case.

As Ponch and Baker start to progress, Lt. Ray Kurtz (Vincent D’Onofrio) is coordinating more jobs as he tries to stash enough money so that he and his crew, most notably his junkie son, can leave the country and retire. Despite some suspicions about Kurtz, Ponch and Baker need to find the proof before he skips town and leaves them high and dry.

THE GOOD

Typically cast in secondary roles, Pena shows he can handle an expanded presence and displays more comedic talent that we thought he had. Most of the film’s best stuff revolves around him, and he somehow manages to be the more competent one and the funnier one, even if much of the comedy is raunchy. Hopefully this opens new doors for Pena.

There are plenty of cool chase sequences for those that enjoy vehicular action. It’s not Fury Road to be sure, but CHiPs deserves credit for sticking to practical effects and shying away from green screen when piecing together some excellent motorcycle stunts. Jane Kaczmarek, Maya Rudolph and Erik Estrada pop in for fun cameos.

THE BAD

We’re not sure who decided to green light Dax Shepard as the writer, director and co-star of the movie, but watching the way the film unravels confirms it was a poor choice. Shepard is mostly annoying on screen — he’s joined by wife Kristen Bell, who’s wholly unlikeable and barely present but then somehow becomes a focal point of the finale — and seemed determined to have as many scenes with his shirt off as possible (yeah, we get it, you’re ripped).

His acting is actually the lesser of two evils. Better pacing and better writing could’ve minimized his performance, but those things are missing in spades. It’s largely passable for the first three quarters or so, but then it comes apart at the seams to a startling degree. The final shootout feels archaic, sloppy and oddly plodding, and the attempted mix of violence and comedy at the end just doesn’t work.

CHiPs tries to channel the 21 Jump Street brand of humor, earning its R rating several times over, but the jokes miss too often, and a lot of the conversations leading to them feel forced — Ponch’s habitual masturbating, eating ass on Tinder, and so on. And to be clear, Pena and Shepard don’t have a tenth of the chemistry as Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill.

THE BONUS FEATURES

There are a few “making of” extras, two of which focus on the bikes and stunts, and the other lets you know that while Dax loved the original show, the movie has almost nothing to do with it. There are a handful of deleted scenes as well, most of which feature D’Onofrio and offer a little more depth to his character, though we didn’t feel anything there really belonged in the film.

OVERALL

It’s obvious what Shepard was aiming for with the CHiPs, but like the character he portrays, Dax missed the target. While Pena is good and there are funny moments, the film ends up being a mess.

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Video Game Review: Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series, Episode 2

June 23, 2017 | By Mike Chen | Comments (0)
Under Pressure’s focus on character does slow the pacing down a little bit, though the episode’s sharp dialogue makes sure to move things along. Those hoping for something more epic will feel a bit of disappointment, but otherwise this dives deeper into the Guardians‘ mythology while maintaining the tone of the series.v
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Which MLB Manager is on the Hot Seat?

June 20, 2017 | By RotoRob | Comments Comments Off
Ausmus has already survived one scare after his second season in 2015 when it looked like he was on thin ice. He failed to enjoy any playoff success with a team built to win it all, and now he’s stuck with an old and underachieving roster that costs more than any in the game. The AL Central is up for grabs, but the Tigers under Ausmus seem incapable of taking advantage of this situation, just losing four of six on its recent homestand.
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The Wire Troll: Sandy Alcantara Turning Things Around

June 18, 2017 | By RotoRob | Comments Comments Off
Another top prospect that’s recently gotten the call, Chapman’s arrival has coincided with the A’s starting to heat up, and yes, these two events are clearly connected. He drew two walks and scored a run in his debut, got a hit and three RBI in his second game and then had two hits, including his first double, and a run in Game No. 3. Chapman is another one that looks here to stay.
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Potential Las Vegas Expansion Draft Fantasy Stars

June 14, 2017 | By Simon Banks | Comments Comments Off
So, let’s take a look at some of the goalies, defensemen and forwards who could potentially bring your Fantasy team the most value, should the Vegas Golden Knights snap them up in the Expansion Draft.
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