16 June 2013

Ten Of The Best Ever Movie Car Chases

Bullitt Car Chase GoogleMapped
Bullitt Car Chase GoogleMapped (Photo credit: Podknox)
If, like me, you think even the most lacklustre, uninspired film can be redeemed instantly by slipping in a fast-paced car chase scene, then no doubt you will already have in your own head a list of the greatest chases ever put to film.

Here’s my list, most of which come out for a viewing at least once a year. In fact, often I will skip straight to the chase sequence, disregarding the rest of the film, just for a ten-minute pick-me-up of joyful mayhem.

The Blues Brothers
This riot of a movie held the record for most cars destroyed onscreen, until it was surpassed by its own sequel. Sixty old police cars were used for the grand finale, forty stunt drivers, and a 24-hour bodyshop to keep them all moving. And it shows – this is one of the most hilarious, exhilarating chases ever filmed, as Jake and Elwood try to stay one step ahead of the cops.

A modern classic, this tale of rogue undercover agents brought together in France to steal a mysterious briefcase features an incredible chase the wrong way through the streets of Paris at up to 130mph. The film was directed by John Frankenheimer, who has previous form.

The Italian Job
This entertaining caper sees a bunch of British crims make off with a shipment of gold after engineering a huge traffic jam in Turin. The gold bars are bundled into three minis, painted red, white and blue, which are then pursued by Italian police through shopping centres, down flights of steps, over the roof of an arena, through a sewer tunnel and finally at speed into the back of a bus.

The Road Warrior
Also known as Mad Max 2, the film finds our hero trapped inside a colony in a post-nuclear wasteland. Surrounded by a vicious gang of crazies who want their priceless supply of fuel, the inhabitants decide to make a desperate bid for freedom. Cue an epic chase through the desert on a variety of bizarre vehicles.

The French Connection
An all-time classic that will make most people’s lists. John Frankenheimer’s cop thriller became known for Popeye Doyle’s high-velocity pursuit of an assassin escaping on a subway train. Doyle gives chase through the streets of New York, a scene that was so authentic because apparently Frankenheimer didn’t get permission to shoot, he just went ahead and filmed in real traffic!

Die Hard with a Vengeance
Also featuring a car versus a train, this thriller sees John McClane tear up Central Park and make an unforgettable leap over a rock.

This French comedy sees a clueless cop team up with a crafty taxi-driver to outwit a gang of crooks. The satisfying chase at the end is actually just as notable for the funky soundtrack that accompanies it.

Steve McQueen as cool as ice puts his Ford Mustang through its paces on the streets of San Francisco. For many tourists, recreating this scene in slow motion is one of the ultimate USA adventures.

The Fast and the Furious
This series of films is often mocked, deservingly, for their poor acting and plotting. But that misses the point – it’s all about the stunts. And the Fast and the Furious deserves credit for making use of proper stunts instead of green-screening it, putting authentic risk back on the screen for once.

The Bourne Identity
Midway through this amnesiac thriller, our hero and his girlfriend are forced to make a fast exit from Paris in her battered old mini. Luckily, Bourne has had some incredible driving skills embedded in his mind, and the subsequent chase is glorious.

About Today's Contributor:
Rob is in avid film buff and never lets a poor script get in the way of a darn good chase sequence

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