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Best Car Chases 
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Post Best Car Chases
My favourite car chase movie is The Blues Brothers. Here's why -

For the most part the "car chase" is a piece of drama. Powerful machines hunting each other down, with skill and human error providing the variables of outcome. It's nearly always a serious or semi-serious affair. What I love about the spectacular car chases in the Blues Brothers is the fact they are played out almost wholly as a kind of dark comedy.

In the first big chase - Elwood makes a run from a police car and end up driving through, and trashing, an indoor shopping precinct. In the process of this both Jake and Elwood comment on the new shops that are there and what they would like to visit. It's like a kind of perverse twist on the nature of consumer capitalism and senseless destruction. And the picture of them bursting out of JC Penny and driving off like nothing has happened at the end of it is a work of art.

The BIG chase that forms the final half-hour of the film is for me the best and funniest car chase of all time. The Brothers spend the whole film living out the old saying "friend come and go but enemies accumilate". By the final act they have:

The City Police
State Police
3 especially disgruntled officers
A rival country rock band
And the Illinois Nazi Party

...after their blood. And a car chase that must include hundreds of vehicles rampaging on the outskirts of and inner city of Chicago. The actions contained within the chase scenes are filled to the brim with humour. The pace and action is relentless but with a huge dose of the knowing-ridiculous. And all this destruction of public property to pay a $5000 tax bill. Interesting that the tax man at the very end of the film is none other than Mr Stephen Spielberg too.

Wonderful stuff! Never been equalled in my view.

Edit: Love this review by Ebert too - http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-blues-brothers-1980

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Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:40 am
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Post Re: Best Car Chases
There's a few obvious choices, but I think I'll go with The Seven-Ups.

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Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:37 am
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Post Re: Best Car Chases
Too many to think of. Even naming my favorite Bond car chase would be hard.

Personally, I always thought the one in French Connection was a bit overhyped. And the movie a bit overrated.

What's fascinating for me is how different car chases can be from one another and how they emphasize completely different things. Transporter 3 emphasizes slickness and visceral editing. Good Day to Die Hard focuses on size and destruction. Fast & Furious is usually about sheer speed. Skyfall is more about the topography of the terrain they're travelling, while Taken 2 was just about the daughter's anxiety. The car chase may be an artistic medium of its own, a great opportunity for a director's personal nuance. A car chase lets you know what thrills a particular director, and knowing what thrills someone can tell you a lot about them.

I'll go with a tie between E.T. and Matrix Reloaded. I don't think I've sat through all of Reloaded in one sitting since 2003, but that freeway sequence is euphoric.


Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:56 am
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Post Re: Best Car Chases
This kind of scene is something I'm not a huge fan of. It seems like one of those things that's easy to do, but hard to do distinctively--particularly nowadays, when the current vogue is to chuck geography out the window for the sake of "immediacy". It's basically impossible to build suspense if nobody knows where the cars, objects, and locations are in relation to each other.

I'll throw in my lot with the car chase in the pre-title sequence of Drive, which is tremendous for what it doesn't do.

The motorcycle chase in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is a lot of fun, and wouldn't be half as much if it didn't saddle the hero with his nagging old dad in the sidecar. It turns the chase into a weird (and failed) grasp for fatherly approval.

And it's kind of a cliche to say so by now, but the chase in the Mini Cooper in The Bourne Identity is exhilarating, partly because of the dubious qualities of the car involved, and partly due to the fact that the hero's abilities are just as astonishing to him as they are to us.

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Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:12 am
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Post Re: Best Car Chases
I don't like things like the Blues Brothers as much because I don't perceive any real danger. It's fun, but would never be my number 1

I'll go, in no order, with the iconic scene in Bullitt, the final sequence in The Road Warrior, the truck chase in Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Wages of Fear/Sorcerer if you could them, which I probably wouldn't.

Seven-Ups has a decent one, as mentioned by Sexy Chocolate, and a few others spring to mean. Nifty one on icy Detroit streets in Four Brothers.

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Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:25 am
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Post Re: Best Car Chases
Speed counts right? One of my most favorite action films alongside Die Hard.

I've to think a bit, but off the top of my head now, I've always been struck by the originality of the "car chase" in Deja Vu. Very unique and invigorating.


Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:58 am
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Post Re: Best Car Chases
I'm pretty sure there was already a thread for this, but i'll go with the fairly obvious choice of the Fast And Furious films, with part 6 being my favorite, hard to beat a car chase that features a tank. Bad Boys 2 is another one of my favorites.


The upcoming film Getaway looks like it's going to deliver on the chases.
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Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:40 pm
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Post Re: Best Car Chases
And Ronin. The chase in the tunnel is one of the best ever. And it didn't use CG, which is even better.

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Fri Jul 05, 2013 3:36 pm
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Post Re: Best Car Chases
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
And Ronin. The chase in the tunnel is one of the best ever. And it didn't use CG, which is even better.


Great call. Oh, and also, To Live and Die in L.A.

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Fri Jul 05, 2013 3:54 pm
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Post Re: Best Car Chases
Bullitt was my first choice

Others that came to mind were the ones in the Bourne films, and the chase after the second robbery in The Town.

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Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:37 pm
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Post Re: Best Car Chases
I loved the chase scene from Blues Brothers - when the Nazi driver turned to the head guy (Henry Gibson) and said, "I've always loved you.", I nearly pissed my pants laughing.

Here's another chase scene from a little-known film starring Dabney Coleman that I liked:

Short Time car chase scene

EDIT: Oh, and I'll add the chase scene on the highway from The Matrix Reloaded despite the obvious CGI usage.

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Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:40 pm
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Post Re: Best Car Chases
Ragnarok73 wrote:
I loved the chase scene from Blues Brothers - when the Nazi driver turned to the head guy (Henry Gibson) and said, "I've always loved you.", I nearly pissed my pants laughing.

Here's another chase scene from a little-known film starring Dabney Coleman that I liked:

Short Time car chase scene

EDIT: Oh, and I'll add the chase scene on the highway from The Matrix Reloaded despite the obvious CGI usage.

I'll add in the car chase from the remake of Gone In 60 Seconds and the one from Swordfish.


Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:57 pm
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Post Re: Best Car Chases
Vexer wrote:
Ragnarok73 wrote:
I loved the chase scene from Blues Brothers - when the Nazi driver turned to the head guy (Henry Gibson) and said, "I've always loved you.", I nearly pissed my pants laughing.

Here's another chase scene from a little-known film starring Dabney Coleman that I liked:

Short Time car chase scene

EDIT: Oh, and I'll add the chase scene on the highway from The Matrix Reloaded despite the obvious CGI usage.

I'll add in the car chase from the remake of Gone In 60 Seconds and the one from Swordfish.


Which, incidentally, are fairly similar films

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Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:26 pm
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Post Re: Best Car Chases
I'll cite the aforementioned ones from Ronin, Bullitt and To Live And Die In LA. Not quite on their level but still pretty good is the one in Set It Off towards the end when Queen Latifah is trying to escape from the cops.

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Fri Jul 05, 2013 6:37 pm
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Post Re: Best Car Chases
The "Ronin" inspired car chases in the Bourne trilogy - as mentioned before - aren't too shabby.
I actually love the car chases in "Drive".


Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:42 pm
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Post Re: Best Car Chases
Threeperf35 wrote:
The "Ronin" inspired car chases in the Bourne trilogy - as mentioned before - aren't too shabby.
I actually love the car chases in "Drive".

I liked the car chase in "Identity" but IMO the one in Supremacy was mostly ruined by the awful shaky-cam, and I can't recall if the one in Ultimatum was any good or not. For me "Legacy" actually had the best car chase in the series.


Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:59 pm
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Post Re: Best Car Chases
Ken wrote:
It seems like one of those things that's easy to do, but hard to do distinctively--particularly nowadays, when the current vogue is to chuck geography out the window for the sake of "immediacy". It's basically impossible to build suspense if nobody knows where the cars, objects, and locations are in relation to each other.


That's a problem with a lot of action sequences in recent films, not just car chases.


Sat Jul 06, 2013 12:29 am
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Post Re: Best Car Chases
JamesKunz wrote:
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
And Ronin. The chase in the tunnel is one of the best ever. And it didn't use CG, which is even better.


Great call. Oh, and also, To Live and Die in L.A.


Great call Kunzie, I would also nominate the one in Four Brothers, an unconventional choice for sure but I found it to be quite thrilling personally. And as a plus, it was very crisply and clearly filmed. And why not throw in The Town as well?


Sat Jul 06, 2013 12:58 am
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Post Re: Best Car Chases
Quote:
That's a problem with a lot of action sequences in recent films, not just car chases.


I don't agree, I don't agree that it's impossible to build suspense if you don't know where things are. It's a movie, not a basketball game. Immediacy is a very powerful aspect of cinema, in fact probably the most powerful, IMO.

In my pick for this thread, E.T., I have no clue where anything is overall. What I do know, however, is the emotion and ideas behind it.


Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:09 am
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Post Re: Best Car Chases
"Immediacy" is a buzzword. Filmmakers use the editing room to compensate either for a lack of interesting/useful information going on in the frame, or for something wrong with what's going on in the frame--for example, non-martial artist movie stars creaking their way through choreographed fight scenes.

And then they claim "immediacy" to cover up for the fact that nobody can tell what's going on in their movie. Real immediacy is knowing what's going on from moment to moment. 10 seconds of any given car chase in the Indiana Jones movies are more loaded with immediacy than in any entire car chase from the Batman movies or the Bourne sequels.

Geography is essential for suspense--not the highly general "Gee, I hope things turn out alright" uncertainty that happens at the global level, but specifically cinematic suspense that gets crafted at the level of staging, shot composition, and goal-driven cutting. There is no reason to worry about Michael Meyers creeping up on the girl if there is no distinction between 10 feet and 10 blocks.

I understand the importance of emotion and stakes, but as far as story goes, those things are not medium-specific. This is an issue of craftsmanship, which is the medium-specific tool by which those things are effectively relayed--the horse that pulls the cart.

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Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:49 am
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