Monday 8 November 2004

Great car chases.

A propos of absolutely nothing, here's my list of great car chases in film history. You will see that I'm interpreting "car chase" pretty broadly: they don't all involve cars, but that's a petty detail. They adhere, in my opinion, to the "car chase" form, whatever that is. Feel free to argue, but do bear in mind that I am right.

Chasing the train in The French Connection. Of course. It wasn't in the script: they just did it on a whim. And they didn't even get permission from the police or shut the roads, the mad bastards. Some of the people in that chase are genuine innocent passers-by. Billy Friedkin sat in the passenger seat wrapped in a mattress. He is a maniac. A member of the crew followed with wads of cash to bribe anyone they hit.

The speeder-bike chase in The Return Of The Jedi. That scene alone is why anyone who slags this film off is Wrong.

The bit where they all drive down the hill at the start of Police Story. It's one of those scenes where your mouth just hangs open. Mine did, anyway.

The final one in Terminator 2, starting with a helicopter and culminating with the liquid nitrogen spill.

The one in Terminator 3 with the crane, Arnie hanging on the end of it, looking only mildly annoyed as he is used to demolish building after building.

The Blues Brothers. "I've got to pull over."

The Matrix Reloaded. Flawed, perhaps, but still gob-smacking.

Almost all of Ronin.

The horse and the motorbike in True Lies. Startlingly original and funny with it. Schwarzenegger's repeated apologies just make it. So that's three for Schwarzenegger and two for James Cameron.

The first chase in The Gauntlet. It's not the chase itself that's so amazing; it's just the shock when it starts.

The Dead Pool. It may be a piss-take, but it's also an improvement. Two for Eastwood.

Tomorrow Never Dies. The only Bond that gets in here, for the simple reason that he's driving the car while hiding behind the driver's seat. Pierce Brosnan's look of child-like glee as he plays with his new toy makes this one. They're trying to kill you and you're having fun? Oh, and the music's by the Propellerheads. What more can you ask for? Oh, yeah: a better-looking car.

Raiders Of The Lost Ark. He starts on a horse, he gets dragged under a truck. Ford manages to look like he'd rather be sitting in an armchair with a cup of tea for the entire thing. Class.

The Corruptor. A nail-biting finish, and one of the most sickening portrayals of organised crime ever.

And the end of The Bourne Supremacy. Now the Best Ever, as far as I'm concerned. The Bourne Identity would have been in here, but they thoroughly outdid themselves in the sequel. I'm confident that they'll manage to do even better in the third one. Fingers crossed.

No, I didn't include Bullitt. I just don't think it's all that good. And The Vanishing Point is utter crap. Oo, controversial.

That is all.


Squander Two said...

Nah. Seen it. Wasn't impressed.

Stephen West said...

All good choices. But what about To Live and Die in LA?

Squander Two said...

Never seen it, I'm afraid. Any good?

Stephen West said...

It's one of my favourite movies. William Friedkin directs William L Petersen (CSI's Gus Grissom) as a Secret Service agent on the tail of Willem Dafoe as a psycho counterfeiter. The action is relentless, the plot is anything but predictable, and Friedkin puts it all together with the deft touch of a master. The car chase scene is incredible: every time you think it has to end they pull something else out of the bag. Very worthwhile.