Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Top 10 Car Chases

I've actually posted this before, but never on this site. I'm sure you'll hate me for some of them, but enjoy.

10. Bad Boys II- This movie was terrible, but the freeway car chase was fantastic, possibly the only good thing Michael Bay ever did. The cars falling from the back of the truck is honestly one of the most absurde things I've ever seen in an action sequence, but it works so well. Special commendations for the CG Mountain Dew product placement flying out of one of the crashing cars.

9. Ronin- This is one of the best shot movies on this list. The directing really is astounding. Doesn't hurt that diector John Frankenheimer was a grand prix driver, and he gave the instructions during the chases "I don't want to see no brake lights." Perhaps the most exciting moments are towards the end of the chase between the Audi S8 and the Citroen through the incredibly narrow streets is as good as they come.

8. The Italian Job (2003)- I may be strung up for this one, but I feel that the remake was better than the original. It was just as exciting, and less absurd (albeit only slightly). They kept everything important from the original- namely the mini coopers, and added a bit of flair that had been lacking. And the subway finish is just fantastic.

7. The Matrix Reloaded- Again, not a good movie, but an amazing scene. I include this scene because despite the tremendous use of CG in the rest of the movie, that kept in the tradition of using real cars in this scene. It's 12 minutes of excitment, and it's beautifuly shot. I will say, however, it's easily the least likely carchase to be seen in real life- though Bad Boys II does give it a run for it's money on that.

6. Blues Brothers- This was a tough call, but I'm including the mall chase over the Chicago climax. The mall is just so damn funny. Who would have ever thought that a car chase could be that funny- even more than Smokey and the Bandit and the Man with the Golden Gun. It's just a fun filled romp of destruction through a shopping mall, with perfectly timed, nonchalant, witty commentary.

5. Gone in 60 Seconds (1974)- This is the original, not the terrible Nicholas Cage remake. I am of course talking about the climactic chase at the end- or actually the entire second half of the movie. The chase scene nears 40 minutes long. It gets a little tiresom at times, but it's never repetitive, and keeps up the excitment the whole time. Allegedly this scene took 7 months to shoot, and I believe it.

4. French Connection- This has to be the most intense scene on the list. It has an interesting concept of Gene Hackman pursuing a suspect who hijacked an elevated train. He follows along on the streets below. There's very little actual destruction in this sequence, but just the intense acting of Hackman shows that he would stop at absolutely nothing.

3. Vanishing Point- As far as the actual story goes, this one is at number one. This car chase is essentially the entire movie. It's not like most where the chase is just fast and intense, these film makers knew how to build suspense. So much can be done in the lull between the major parts to to build the characters. This movie features the open road as its medium, as opposed to the crowded streets. It's almost more like a buddy picture between him and the radio DJ than an action flick. It really is just a fantastic movie, and one of the best endings of any car chase.

2. Bullitt- Steve McQueen really is the grand-daddy of all stunt drivers. It had been a while since I had seen this and I was a little skeptical of putting it on. But after watching it again, I remembered why it was so good. Actually driving at speeds over 100 miles an hour, this scene is really intense. And having it set in SanFransisco allows the cars to play off the landscape more than in and other setting. I will say it ends a little abruptly, but maybe that's because it only feels like half of the 10 minute length.

1. To Live and Die in LA- It's really tough to pick one for the #1 spot, and I really think the top 3 actually are a tie. I picked this one though, because I think it's the most real out of any of them. In this scene, the drivers arenn't perfect. They come to an obstruction that can't be crossed- they stop. It blends high energy, with necessary lulls so that the viewer doesn't get bored. The finale on the expressway is also one of the most amazing things I've ever seen on film. It doesn't look like a movie, it looks like actual footage of a massive pileup. I sill have no idea how they did it all.

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