Quentin Tarantino has a lot to answer for. It’s been nearly 30 years (yelp!) since Reservoir Dogs yet people are still failing to emulate his imitable style. Chapters? Yes, please. Chapters with big writing on the screen to introduce them? Oh yes. Comic book characters based in the society’s dirty secretive underworld? Yes, yes, yes. But Tarantino’s earlier affairs always had a story, diamond-sharp dialogue and characters who you could relate to, even when being kidnapped by gimp-worshippers or stabbing an adrenaline shot through the heart. Their actions, in some brilliantly warped way, made sense. It was a risk, it was edgy, but that’s what great writers can do; push the boundaries and make them work.
You can’t be edgy by following a template. By definition that is completely un-edgy. Even Guy Ritchie stopped following his own template after 2 films (admittingly realising he couldn’t do anything else then reverted to type later on). Yet here we are in 2020 and still, the Tarantino wannabes are draining sub-standard copycats onto our screens.
Liv and Chuck seem to be your typical couple, enjoying a night in, making dinner, and relaxing sans trouble. When a pizza man attempts to deliver an unordered pie (this is American remember), Liv offers the odd-looking chap short shift and goes back into her living room. Yet behold, the aforementioned pizza guy is now sitting on her sofa and attacks her. With a little help from her boyfriend, they bump him off and are left with a body. And this is where it all goes wrong, both for the protagonists and the poor viewers. A call to the police is declined because of the boyfriend’s previous with the law, although this is never really explained. So what to do? Chop him up then go on the most unlikely road trip since Gandhi travelled around Berlin in the back of a pick-up (he didn’t).
Thom Yorke apparently wrote the lyrics to snobby rock-ballad Paranoid Android by writing down phrases and randomly picking them out of a pile. You feel that writers Patel and Ericksen have tried a similar trick here. We have a supernatural home break-in movie, then a road movie, then a cop show, then an ending straight out of Mr. Blonde ear-trimming for dummies book. None of it makes any sense and all characters appear and disappear with very little flow or logic. Everyone seems to be kidnapping or killing each other for absolutely no reason at all.
Chop Chop is a mess, and worse, it’s a mess trying to be something else infinitely better than it. At least there is some cool 70s Jazz in there to make you weep for 1992.
Dir: Rony Patel
Scr: Rony Patel, Andrew Eriksen
Cast: Atala Arce, Jake Taylor, David Harper
DOP: Ryan Emanuel, Carter Fawcett
Run Time: 81 Minutes
Chop Chop is available to Rent or Buy on iTunes and Prime Video October 20th