Warner Bros. // 1998 // 94 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // November 17th, 2012
It's their road. It's their rules.
Officers Baker (Larry Wilcox) and Ponch (Erik Estrada) return to their California-issued motorcycles for this 1998 TNT reunion movie. It's been God knows how many years since this dynamic duo rode tandem on the concrete highways of the City of Angels, but as the saying goes you can't keep a good CHiP down. Actually, that's a not saying, and judging by the girth of our heroes, it looks like they haven't had any trouble keeping those chips down.
Not long after Baker and Ponch reunite they start getting their highway patrolling on. First, they track down a cyclist who is not employing proper yielding techniques and subsequently endangering innocent motorists. But when they remember him as a six year old learning to ride a bike, all three men have a hearty laugh and forget about the near-fatalities. Then, Ponch gets towed by a helicopter across the LA skyline for no reason other than it looks like someone wanted to use their awesome new blue screen technology. If that weren't enough, Baker goes on Judge Judy to settle an issue with his neighbor whose dog continues taking dumps on his lawn.
Amidst all this excitement, a gang of criminals have launched a diabolical car theft ring, sweeping through the city and scooping up valuable vehicles. The malevolence comes to a head, when Ponch and a hotshot rookie (Is there any other kind?) find themselves in a standoff with the bad guys...and Baker is held at gunpoint.
Thrilling stuff from top to bottom.
That's sarcasm, by the way, because CHiPs '99 is not thrilling. It's corny and lame, though that's sort of the point. The only time things get semi-serious is in the finale, when the femme fatale loses her mind, starts spewing terrible one-liners and pointing a shotgun at Baker's face. Which leads to a high-speed chase and a couple of skilled stunt guys pretend-fighting on a bus.
And that's the sum total of everything I enjoyed about this made-for-TV movie. Yet, like a Nick Jr. cartoon, I am not the intended audience. This trip down to memory lane is obviously designed for die hard fans of the original series. There are various call-backs to plot points and characters. Indeed, the film's multiple flashbacks employs a technique which pauses the frame and inserts a picture-in-picture video pane with a clip from the old series.
Pursue this only if you're a true CHiPie or want to see some legendary Estrada hair.
This is a Warner Archive release which means a threadbare DVD: standard def 1.33:1 full frame, Dolby 2.0 stereo, and nothing else.
I'll end up using this as a coaster for my root beer, but series disciples
might find value. Might.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 94 Minutes
Release Year: 1998
MPAA Rating: Not Rated