Coupled with the bland cinematography (medium shots are the only kind here), and it becomes evident that Chop Chop offers very little on the visual front. Sadly, the screenplay is even worse. Nothing is explained or makes sense. Chuck and Liv’s backstory is never told, so how they continue to give the slip to both murderous psychos and people with powers that are never explained is baffling. Also quite inexplicable is how people obtained such powers and what kind of world this even is exactly. Like, are everyday folks aware of these super-powered folks, or have they been kept a secret from most of society? Are there good people with powers?
However, the biggest downfall of Chop Chop‘s screenplay is one logical fallacy. Clearly, Chuck and Liv know how to navigate through this seedy, deadly underworld and are quite adept at killing. Why then, after being told how to begin their journey of disposing the body (don’t even bother asking why taking a shovel into the woods is beyond their grasp), do all these other seedy folks want them dead? Chuck calls in a favor to get this done, so it makes no sense, save for Teddy’s twin, that everybody goes after them. The world-building here is the exact opposite of the intricate beauty of the John Wick films, in the worst possible way.
“The world-building here is the exact opposite of the intricate beauty of the John Wick films…”
Luckily, there is a bright spot to the movie that saves it from being a total waste of time. The acting is pretty decent, all things considered. Despite unclear motivations and being directed to speak most of their lines quietly, Jake Taylor and Atala Arce are engaging screen presences, being a bit flirty with each other, while remaining a strange sort of menacing. That they don’t come off as entirely threatening is not their fault, and it is apparent that they are trying the best they can and almost succeed. David Harper as Teddy and the twin is also oddly eerie, with his slow drawl saying more than the script ever bothers to. The rest of the actors are not on screen long enough to make much of an impression, but no one embarrasses themselves, so they did achieve something the screenplay and direction failed to.
Based on its premise, Chop Chop should have been a violent, searing good time. Or, if the filmmakers wanted to make something more serious-minded, it could’ve been a contemplative screed on how violence only begets more violence. As it stands, Patel’s ineffectual directing, the poorly conceived story structure, and the shallow script render the movie a bad Tarantino ripoff; you know, the mid-1990s low budget thrillers that were all the rage after Pulp Fiction took the world by storm. How many of those turned out well?
"…a bad Tarantino ripoff..."