Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Dax Shepard|
|Written by||Dax Shepard|
by Rick Rosner
|Music by||Fil Eisler|
|Edited by||Dan Lebental|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$26.8 million|
CHiPs is a 2017 American action comedy buddy cop film written and directed by Dax Shepard, based on the 1977–1983 television series of the same name created by Rick Rosner. The film stars Shepard as Officer Jon Baker and Michael Peña as Frank "Ponch" Poncherello, with Rosa Salazar, Adam Brody and Vincent D'Onofrio in supporting roles.
Principal photography began on October 21, 2015, in Los Angeles. The film was released on March 24, 2017, by Warner Bros. Pictures and grossed $26 million worldwide. It has a 17% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which called it "only mildly arresting at best".
Unlike the original series, the movie was produced without the cooperation of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and without a license to use CHP logos.
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The film begins with a getaway driver waiting for his crew in a Miami bank. Following a brief car chase, the driver reveals himself as Special Agent Castillo (Michael Peña) of the FBI. He then arrests the criminal crew who killed his former partner. During the arrest, Castillo fires his service weapon through his partner's, Special Agent Clay Allen's (Adam Brody), shoulder. He then proceeded to show a naked photo of the criminal's wife to prove Castillo's affair with her.
Meanwhile, at the training center for the California Highway Patrol, Jon Baker (Dax Shepard) is a trainee who is awaiting his final exam to graduate. Failing a series of simple tests, he is placed at the desk of CHP Sergeant Gail Hernandez (Maya Rudolph) for a final interview and decision. Hernandez acknowledges his ability to "ride" a motorcycle better than the majority of the cadets she trained. She grants him probationary approval to graduate pending a performance review based on Citations, Arrests and Good overall evaluations from Superiors.
During the interview he mentions his past as a motocross competition champion and the fallout resulting from his injuries on the track. After losing all he had gained, from sponsors to contracts, Baker's wife Karen (Kristen Bell) divorced him and allowed Baker to remain a resident of their estate in the guest house.
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, the California Highway Patrol begins a pursuit with a crew of robbers that ride motorcycles following their robbery of an armored car. During the chase, a CHP Air Unit is overhead. The helicopter's pilot recognizes the Armed Guard that is being held hostage and is told by the hostage taker to jump from the chopper to prove his love. The pilot subsequently jumps to his death. The guard is told by the Hostage Taker, referred to as "L.T.", to return the money he stole as part of the crew.
In Miami, Castillo's boss Agent Peterson (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) notifies him that his actions resulted in the Bureau convening a review panel to consider terminating Castillo from the FBI. Following the conversation, he orders Castillo to go undercover in California to help investigate the series of armored car robberies with alleged connections to the police.
Castillo is given the alias of Officer Frank (Ponch) Poncherello in the California Highway Patrol's LA District. Unknown to the officers, CHP Lieutenant Raymond Kurtz (Vincent D'Onofrio) is the leader of a small group of corrupt CHP Officers. The group is committing these robberies to gather money for Kurtz's heroin addicted son (Justin Chatwin) to escape the access to drugs he has in LA.
Now undercover as Officer Poncherello he arrives at his assigned station. There he is partnered with Baker who immediately shows the inability to speak to women as fellow Officer Ava Perez (Rosa Salazar) invites him to take a motorcycle tour of her favorite route. Baker mistakes this as an attempt to hit on him, which angers Perez greatly.
Following a long time in a public restroom, Baker accuses Ponch of masturbating multiple times a day to refrain from his sexual addiction. As they discuss the issue, Ponch brings up the fact that if Baker hasn't had sex with his wife for than a year, it obviously means that someone is doing her for him. During that argument, the robbery crew makes another attempt at an armored truck job. The crew shoots and kills two CHP Officers during the attempt prompting a police response. While responding the crew evades them using Ducati motorcycles. Baker then saves Ponch from being run over by a trucker who was unfocused on the road.
During another chase, Baker encounters Kurtz' son. The two begin a pursuit that results in Lieutenant Kurtz running Baker over with a SWAT van after his son is decapitated and subsequently killed by a steel cable. Officer Perez begins CPR and the air unit is called in to airlift Baker to a hospital while Kurtz escapes easily. Following the incident, Castillo is held responsible by the FBI Agent in charge of the case for the 3 CHP officers and 2 FBI agents that were injured.
During that time, Baker is confronted by Officer Perez and asked if he would like to get a ride home from her. Baker responds that he would like to wait for his wife to come for him. Perez leaves upset about the encounter. While this is happening, Castillo mistakenly dials Captain Jane Lindel and begins sexting her. When he sees her naked and has premature ejaculation, Castillo destroys his phone.
The next day, Peterson travels to LA to speak to Castillo since his phone wasn't working. Upon seeing the level of destruction Castillo caused, Peterson agrees with the panel's decision and terminates Castillo from the FBI. With no one picking him up from his discharge, Baker is met by Castillo and the two discuss the sexting issue and his termination from the bureau.
Baker and Castillo return to the Baker residence to find that Karen (Kristen Bell) and her new boyfriend Rick (Josh Duhamel) sold the house and all of Baker's assets to another family. They sit down and enjoy dinner together while discussing the case. There, after seeing the photo of the severed head of the suspect, Baker realizes that the suspect competed against him in the Motocross sport. They begin a simple Google Search that reveals the full legal name of the suspect and the clear connection to the CHP Lieutenant as the suspect was a motocross competitor named "Reed Jr". The search gave a Wikipedia page that made the connection to the Kurtz family as the Lieutenant's son.
Together, they approach CHP Captain Jane Lindel (Jane Kaczmarek) to demand resources from the CHP and to arrest the five officers they've discovered to be working with Kurtz. However, Castillo realizes that he was fired from the FBI and no longer acts as a officer of the law. Captain Linden subsequently swears him in as a CHP Officer. Meanwhile, Kurtz Jr's cousin and corrupt CHP Officer, Brian Grieves (Ryan Hansen), was discharged by fellow corrupt CHP Officer and Castillo's love interest Lindsey Taylor (Jessica McNamee). Officer Ava Perez, upon arrving too late to apprehend them, begins recruiting a group of officers to go on the hunt.
Now formally a CHP Officer, Castillo recruits Baker into the hunt for the Kurtz crew. As they gear up, Kurtz sends a photo of Karen tied up and demands that they come to a location in the middle of the desert. There, Kurtz opens fire and shoots Castillo's fingers off. As Kurtz enters he begins a fistfight with Baker and Castillo. During the fistfight, fellow CHP members led by Officer Ava Perez encounter heavy gunfire from the corrupt Officers guarding the location.
Following an attempt to shoot Kurtz, Baker shoots an explosive resulting in a massive explosion of the bunker. However, Kurtz is still alive and begins another fistfight with Baker. Lindsey Taylor arrives and fakes an arrest. She places the pistol in Kurtz' hands and reveals herself as a crew member. Kurtz fires the pistol into Baker's arm three times with the third bullet splinting off of his titanium arm implant into Kurtz' head, killing him instantly. Baker reveals his arm was titanium following an injury in a motocross competition that he won 1st place in. Meanwhile, a fistfight begins between Officer Perez and Taylor ending in Perez taking Taylor into custody.
While in the ambulance to the hospital, they encounter a Paramedic (Erik Estrada) who treats Castillo's injuries. With them is Officer Perez, who was asked to ride in the ambulance by Baker. Baker and Perez begin having sex in the Ambulance as Castillo and the Paramedic converse, in Spanish, on Perez' body and Baker's reluctance to perform analingus. The movie ends with Perez acknowledging the comments and revealing that she does speak Spanish, understanding what they're saying.
A final cut scene shows Castillo receiving a call from his former FBI boss, Agent Peterson, offering his FBI position back to which he responds that he'd prefer to stay in the CHP.
- Michael Peña as CHP Officer Frank "Ponch" Poncherello (FBI agent Castillo) working undercover at the CHP
- Dax Shepard as CHP Probationary Officer Jon Baker, a former motocross riding champion looking to restore his marriage via a police career
- Vincent D'Onofrio as CHP Lieutenant Raymond Kurtz, the bloodthirsty leader of a group of corrupt cops within the CHP
- Rosa Salazar as CHP Officer Ava Perez, a CHP officer who initially rejected the idea of dating Jon but began a relationship anyway
- Jessica McNamee as CHP Officer Lindsey Taylor, a corrupt CHP Officer who dated Castillo and was a member of the Kurtz' crew.
- Adam Brody as Special Agent Clay Allen, Castillo's (Ponch's) FBI partner and the lead on the FBI's case in LA.
- Isiah Whitlock Jr. as Special Agent Peterson, Castillo's (Ponch's) FBI Boss
- Richard T. Jones as CHP Officer Parish, the co-pilot and former partner for the CHP Pilot
- Kristen Bell as Karen Baker, Jon's estranged wife
- Ryan Hansen as CHP Officer Brian Grieves, a corrupt Kurtz crew member and cousin of Kurtz' son
- Jane Kaczmarek as Jane Lindel, Jon and Ponch's CHP Captain and Station Commander
- Carly Hatter as FBI Agent Angela Roth
- Justin Chatwin as Raymond Reed Kurtz Jr., Lieutenant Kurtz' son and heroin addict
- Vida Guerra as Ann, Castillo's affair while undercover in Miami
- David Koechner as CHP Officer Pat, a CHP police academy instructor
- Ed Begley Jr. as WASP Driver, an entitled Ferrari speeder who is almost arrested in a rage filled traffic stop by Baker
- Maya Rudolph (uncredited) as Gail Hernandez, a CHP police academy sergeant
- Josh Duhamel (uncredited) as Rick, Karen Baker's boyfriend and sex affair
- Erik Estrada (uncredited) as Paramedic
The project began as a personal film that Dax Shepard wanted to do: a motor sports comedy starring him and Michael Pena, and a tribute to the CHiPs television series. In an interview with Vulture, Shepard said:
...I’m always looking for something that will hold both comedy and motor sports. I’m looking for anything that I think I can combine those two things and that someone will make... I couldn’t have gone into any studio and said, “The movie’s called, uh, Eat My Dust” — well, that’s actually a title — “Burn Rubber, and it’s me and Michael Peña, and we’re on motorcycles.” They’d go, “No thank you.” It had to have a safety net, and the safety net I found was CHiPs, which as a kid I saw it, I was 2 when it came on originally and I think I was 8 when it went off the air... I lived in Detroit and it was cold and cloudy every day, and you’d turn this show on and for an hour you were in California, and it was beaches and palm trees and this weird pair on motorcycles, and as a kid, I was in. I didn’t follow any of the plotlines, and I didn’t know what the show was about, but it just had California and motorcycles. I thought, this could hold a Bad Boys version of the movie, because your heroes have motorcycles, so it’s got an inherent coolness if we just keep pushing in that direction.
On September 2, 2014, Warner Bros. announced a film adaptation of the 1977-1983 TV series CHiPs created by Rick Rosner, Andrew Panay would be producing along with Shepard. Shepard also wrote, directed and starred in the film. It was announced that Panay would produce the film through his Panay Films along with Ravi Mehta. In August 2015, the film was selected by the California Film Commission to receive $5.1 million in tax credits.
Principal photography on the film began on October 21, 2015, in Los Angeles, California, utilizing many of the same sections of Southern California freeways used for the original television series, notably Interstate 210 in La Crescenta, California.
In September 2014, Warner Bros. announced that Shepard would write, direct, and star in the film as Officer Jon Baker, and that Michael Peña would portray Frank "Ponch" Poncherello. In May 2015, Vincent D'Onofrio was announced to be playing a former cop turned car thief and gang-leader. In September, Adam Brody joined the film to play an officer, while Rosa Salazar and Shepard's wife Kristen Bell also signed on to star. A few weeks later, Jessica McNamee signed on to play Lindsey Taylor, a tough young California Highway Patrol officer. In November, Jane Kaczmarek joined the film to play the police captain. In March 2016, it was announced that Ryan Hansen would join the film.
CHiPs was released digitally on June 13, 2017. Two weeks later on June 27, 2017, Warner Home Video released the film on Blu-Ray and DVD.
CHiPs grossed $18.6 million in the United States and Canada and $8.2 million in other territories for a worldwide gross of $26.8 million, against a production budget of $25 million.
In the United States and Canada, CHiPs opened alongside Life, Power Rangers and Wilson, and was projected to gross around $10 million from 2,464 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $500,000 from Thursday night previews at 2,400 theaters. It went on to debut to $7.6 million, finishing 7th at the box office. In its second weekend the film grossed $4 million (a drop of 48.7%), finishing 9th at the box office.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 17% based on 101 reviews and an average rating of 3.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "CHiPs abandons the endearing innocence of its source material, using the titular cop show's premise as a setup for aggressively lowbrow gags that prove only mildly arresting at best." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 28 out of 100 based on 26 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B–" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave a 74% overall positive score and just 50% gave it a "definite recommend".
Variety's Owen Gleiberman called the film lazy and clichéd, saying: "The film's model is—or should have been—the movie version of 21 Jump Street and its sequel, but the co-directors of those bumptious nihilistic undercover burlesques, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, knew how to turn comedy into suspense and thrills into media-mad absurdity. Shepard just sprinkles overstated banter onto a generic plot and bits of pedal-to-the-metal action, as if he was serving the action-comedy gods by sticking the usual ingredients in a blender and pushing 'purée.'"
The film was awarded the Barry L. Bumstead Award at the 38th Golden Raspberry Awards.
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