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Car chases: who doesn’t love them?
We like to see action scenes done in a practical manner, unfolding onto us on-screen and releasing all that adrenaline onto our collective senses. From the craftsmanship and planning, all the way to the final visceral result, there’s nothing as satisfying as a great chase scene involving automobiles of various sizes and build.
To celebrate the release of the new Fast & Furious “gaiden” movie starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Jason Statham, the KKP team will list down their favourite car/bike/automobile chase sequences in film history. No, we cannot list all of them because they’re too many, but we’ll talk about the ones that stood out to us.
The Bourne Identity’s Paris Chase
While most car chases focus on speed, Bourne Identity’s pursuit scene through the narrow streets of Paris exemplifies the skill and precision which can only be exhibited by THE super spy who’s deadly regardless of gear. Where other super spies rely on secret hidden blades to incapacitate their enemies, Jason Bourne only needs a pen. While James Bond relies on his tricked-out Aston Martins to get himself out of a pickle, the REAL JB only need a beat-up Mini Cooper with sloshy tyres which veers to the right to out-maneuver Paris’ finest.
Oh yeah. Paul Oakenfold’s Ready Steady Go blaring in the background definitely helped dial the coolness factor of this scene to eleven as well.
Baby Driver, The very first 6 minutes of the film
When you have a getaway driver who tunes to his iPod for music while on the go, and your escapades are put on-screen by Edgar Allen Wright, you know you have something spectacular that’s also car chase-savvy. Viewers were introduced to a lovely chase scene that set the tone of the film, all the way to the third act with resolutions and showdowns involving lots of crashes and in-sync-to-the-music action.
Mission Impossible: Fallout’s Bike Chase
The Mission Impossible movies have always been chock full of action only Tom Cruise can pull off. It’s positively insane how the famous actor still insists on doing his own stunts, despite being 57 years old. Most people are busy enjoying their retirement plans by that age, but not Tom Cruise.
2018’s Mission Impossible: Fallout was the most successful instalment in the franchise to date, and the crazy stunts in it are a testament to that. One of the most memorable and thrilling scenes in the movie has Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt trying to escape from the French authorities on a motorcycle while skillfully evading the congested Paris traffic.
While he ultimately crashed, it turned out that he had a contingency plan in place. That’s how good Ethan Hunt and his team is. That is also why they’re now working on the next two sequels, which will be shot back-to-back. Let’s not kid ourselves, Tom Cruise is actually Ethan Hunt in real life too.
Blues Brothers’ Third Act Climax
Who knew that one the best car chases in film history is in a friggin’ Saturday Night Live sketch turned into an awesome full-fledged movie? Our heroes Jake and Elwood are chased down by the state police, their rival the Good Ole Boys, and nazis, while the duo are on the run to get the money for their childhood orphanage on time. The hallmarks of a great car chase are prevalent in this 80s film: gravity-defying stunts, gunfire, and a lot of metal and automobile casualties.
Ronin’s Paris Chase Scene
Way before your Jason Bourne, Mission Impossible, and Baby Driver flicks, John Frankenheimer’s Ronin shows all these guys how it’s done.
Robert De Niro and Jean Reno drive down a scaled-down version of Paris in Birmingham just so they and a couple of other BMWs can burn rubber and asphalt for what could be one of the most intense chases in an action film. Almost all these beats from driving in opposite traffic to narrowly driving over 100mph through narrow gateways and arches are enough to inspire others to follow suit.
Hell, one could argue that this 1998 ode to films like Bullitt and The French Connection surpasses its inspirations, right down to the tense music that punctuates the halfway point courtesy of Elia Cmiral. Even Burnout creators Criterion cited this pivotal scene as their source of inspiration to their car-crashing racing game antics.
Mad Max Fury Road; All Of It
This might seem like cheating. since the entire freaking movie is a madcap balls-to-the-walls car chase/road trip. Some people would call an entire movie like that to be too simple or boring, but director George Miller and his talented cast pulled it off somehow.
The most incredible thing about it all is that the car chases and stunts were made with practical effects and not CGI. Remember the scene when Tom Hardy’s Max was strapped on the front hood of a moving car? Yeah, he really was actually honest-to-goodness strapped to that speeding metal deathtrap.
That’s only one of the many bizarre scenes and setpieces in the movie, which is essentially almost two hours of pure adrenaline and action. The people living in Mad Max Fury Road’s post-apocalyptic wasteland even worship the V8 engine for god’s sake. What could be more pedal to the metal than that?
We’ve also got a guy whose sole purpose is to play riffs on his flame-spewing guitar while on a moving vehicle outfitted with loads of speakers. Look upon his glory below.
Death Proof’s Final Car Chase
Serial killer stuntman Mike McKay gets his comeuppance in this thrilling chase scene directed masterfully by Quentin Tarantino. Part righteous ass-kicking, part female empowerment, all car-chasing awesomeness.
The Matrix: Reloaded’s Highway Scene
This scene is proof that you can blend practical and special effects masterfully and come up with a great action beat that stupifies and defies all sorts of physics while coming off as super-cool. You can slag the Matrix for its convoluted story, but you can’t knock it for its revolutionary film-making and action scene-making techniques, especially with this top-tier scene that’s just the right amount of badassery.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day’s Truck Chase
Remember when everything in the 90s wasn’t CGI and all done with one takes because these things are expensive to do? Well, James Cameron knows this too well and went on to do one of the highlights in his career: defining action films with his take on killer cyborgs who look like humans chasing down kids on a bike. With a truck. And good Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger doing his best to waylay Robert Patrick’s persona with a pump-action shotgun. Action scene gold.
Let us know what your favourite chase sequences involving cars and bikes are on our Facebook page, or on our website.