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A modern CHIPS for a modern era! Gone is the wholesome persona from its television predecessor of the late 70’s and early 80’s. This very funny and very “R” rated movie looks to separate itself from the TV series while still offering a tip of the hat to the original television show. For this incarnation of CHIPS, Jon Baker (Dax Shepard) is a retired X games moto racer with more scars on his body than one can count. Frank “Ponch” Poncherello (Michael Pena) is an undercover federal agent who’s addiction to women tends to cloud his judgement and blur his professional ethics. Both are unexpectedly paired up as motorcycle officers in the CHP with very different goals. Jon Baker is one of the oldest rookies to ever join the department and is looking for a stable career to help save his marriage. In direct contrast,  Poncherello is sent undercover to Southern California to investigate a multi-million dollar heist.

This buddy cop movie is filled with action, explosions, fast cars, motorcycles and plenty of R rated adult humor. The chemistry between Shepard and Pena conveys very well on screen as both characters learn to humorously cope with one another. The movie was written, directed and stars Dax Shepard along with Shepard’s real life wife Kristen Bell, Michael Pena, Vincent D’Onofrio, Rosa Salazar, Jessica McNamee, Adam Brody, Maya Rudolph and Jane Kaczmarek.

I had the opportunity to talk to Micheal Pena (Frank “Ponch” Poncherello) about his experience riding a motorcycle for the film.

“You know you think as an actor you can do anything because you can visualize it and then you get on (Motorcycle) and you think “Whoa, I can die real quick.” You know because they’re so fast and so powerful, It’s not like a car where you just get in, sit down and you’re already good to go right there.”

Robert Garcia: From what we recall of CHiPs, it was all about the motorcycles and sunny Southern California as the backdrop. While preparing for the role, did you have the opportunity to participate in the CHP motorcycle course at their academy or any training from CHP motorcycle officers?

Michael Pena: Oh no, that would have been too much, I just didn’t have the time to do that. What I did do was get my motorcycle license and it’s not super easy. You know you have to turn two times in these short little circles around the cones and go through this obstacle course, it’s harder than it looks. 

Look for CHIPS coming to theaters this friday March 24

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