CHIPs began life as a television series starring Eric Estrada and Larry Wilcox as a pair of extremely cool motorcycle-riding California Highway Patrol officers. The show ran for six seasons, was a pretty big hit and most importantly made a star of Estrada, whose Ponch character became an icon of '80s TV. It probably encouraged quite a few people to become motorcycle cops as well.
The show was briefly revived in 1999 as a one-off TV movie, then in 2005 an inevitable movie version was announced with Wilmer Valderrama to play Ponch. It only took about twelve years but that CHIPs movie is finally arriving, but with Ant-Man's Michael Peña as Ponch instead of Valderrama, and Dax Shepard as Baker (and also as writer). Now there's a trailer that shows us what this new take on CHIPs is all about.
The new trailer for CHIPs dropped on Jimmy Kimmel Live Wednesday night and it looks exactly as silly and filled with action as you would expect. Maybe it even looks a little bit sillier than you would expect. In the trailer, Michael Peña (who is also set to appear in A Wrinkle In Time next year) and Dax Shepard star as a pair of L.A. motorcycle cops recruited by the FBI to go undercover in the Highway Patrol to root out some corrupt officers who are part of a ring of car thieves, led by an ex-cop played by the always-crazy Vincent D'Onofrio. Mayhem and penis jokes ensue.
The biggest revelation in the trailer is that Ponch's name "Frances Poncherello" is actually an alias given to him when he goes undercover. The whole undercover angle is interesting and we'll see if it adds anything to the story. Shepard's Baker character looks like a crazy man who has to pop pills constantly because of his 23 surgeries. Much of what we see in the trailer looks like it is meant to cater to the Fast and the Furious crowd, which is probably a wise decision given the popularity of those movies; though Pena and Shepard certainly do bring a lot more comedy to the screen than Vin Diesel and his gang.
As we know, movie versions of older properties like CHIPs are always tricky propositions. On the one hand, you want to get young audiences in the doors, so you have to cater to their tastes. On the other hand, you don't want to alienate fans of the original shows, who are a little bit older and probably expecting something that shows a little more reverence for the original.
The Brady Bunch was an example of a movie that did the original show justice while still being entertaining and fun for younger people who weren't around in the '70s when the show was a hit. On the other side of the spectrum, you have something like The Beverly Hillbillies, which not only failed to capture the spirit of the original show but also didn't do anything to make new fans. From the trailer, CHIPs looks like it's going for a blend of crazy action and risque comedy, and we'll see if that formula proves to be successful when the movie hit theaters in March.
Source: Jimmy Kimmel Live
- CHIPS (2017) release date: Mar 24, 2017