Need for Speed opens in theaters today. This movie will be all about the car chases. And who doesn’t love a good chase scene?
So we thought about it, what are some the great car chase sequences…that no one remembers. Yes, we can talk about the classics like The French Connection, Bullitt or North by Northwest. We can talk about the unique ones like The Blues Brothers or The Matrix. We can even talk about the past 20 years or so with Speed, Wanted and all those Fast and Furious movies. But, we decided to dive deep into the movie vaults and pick out some chase sequences that had our pulse pounding as we white knuckled our way through the scene, that most of you probably forgot or never knew about.
Starring: Bruce Willis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Robert Pastrorelli, Tom Sizemore, Dennis Farina, John Mahoney, Andre Braugher, Timothy Busfield, Brion James
Director: Rowdy Herrington (Road House)
Release Date: 1993
Plot: This was Bruce Willis’ dark period, that time when flicks like Hudson Hawk and Color of Night filled his resume. Here he plays Tom Hardy, a disgraced former Pittsburgh detective who has been busted down to river patrol. A serial killer, thought to be long gone, has resurfaced and Hardy, on his own time, decides he’s going to solve the case.
The Chase Scenes: Striking Distance begins and ends with two great yet very different chases. The first is an insane, Bullitt-level car chase with the entire Pittsburgh P.D. in hot pursuit of a serial killer with cars flying all over the place, hitting hard hills and sharp turns. The second features a thrilling finale where Hardy is chasing the killer, whose identity has been finally revealed, who has taken off via boat to escape Hardy. You don’t see too many boat chases on screen, outside of maybe Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, and this one is one that is hard to top.
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze, Lori Petty, Gary Busey, John C. McGinley
Director: Kathryn Bigelow (Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty)
Release Date: 1991
Plot: Special Agent Johnny Utah (Reeves) goes undercover to infiltrate a gang of surfers lead by the super radical Bodhi (Swayze), who might be the mastermind behind the uncatchable group of bank robbers known as “The Ex-Presidents.”
The Chase: The chase is in two-parts. The first part is a great car chase as the Ex-Presidents flee a bank robbery with Utah and his partner Angelo (Busey) in hot pursuit. The chase is a messy and chaotic slam bang of a chase, but it’s not the best part. As Angelo’s car gets cracked up and the Ex-Presidents split up Utah and Bodhi take it to the streets…on foot. The sequence is fantastic with the two running around the tightly knit bungalows of the beachy California. The two go through backyards, front yards, glass doors and Bodhi even tosses a pit bull at Utah to slow him down. There’s never been a better foot chase sequence out there.
Children of Men
Starring: Clive Owen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Julianne Moore, Charlie Hunnam, Michael Caine
Director: Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban )
Release Date: 2006
Plot: In 2027, women have become infertile, but somehow and someway, one young woman has become pregnant with the first child in years. A former activist (Owen) is recruited by his radical ex-wife (Moore) to help smuggle the woman to a group of scientists who can help her not only deliver the child but solve the infertility issues ravaging the world. Unfortunately for them the government and various terrorist and radical organizations will do anything, including kill everyone in their way, to have the child either eliminated or in their control.
The Chase: It’s a star-studded one. Clive Owen and Julianne Moore’s former husband and wife team, along with a few trusted confidants (including Oscar nom Ejiofor), are out of nowhere besieged by a band of hooded terrorists looking to eliminate or kidnap the young, pregnant woman. Ejiofor must drive and get away from attackers on foot and on motorcycles who are trying to firebomb, shoot and jump on their car. One of those attackers? None other than Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam. Alfonso Cuaron masterfully directs this scene with an uninterrupted 247 second scene, which is just mind-blowingly awesome. The continuous shot just adds the utter insanity of the assault and the chase.
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Matthew Fox, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, Christina Ricci,
Director: Andy & Lana Wachowski (The Matrix series)
Release Date: 2008
Plot: The big screen adaptation of the classic cartoon series really suffered from poor PR, lackluster reviews and a miserably scheduled summertime release. The film revolves around the best racer in the world Speed Racer (Hirsch) who is being recruited by a major corporation seemingly to win some big races. However, after a conversation with Racer X (Fox), the corp’s evil intentions are revealed. So, Speed and his crew decide to race for good and protect one of the racers, who if killed, could have global ramifications.
The Chase: Seriously? This whole movie is one big massive chase. The Wachowskis do what they do best — create visually dazzling, high impact, big thrills action sequences, but set in the fantastical world of Speed Racer, everything is more grandiose, more exciting. This movie isn’t for everyone, but if your pulse isn’t raised during these chase sequences, you might wanna check if you even have a pulse.
Starring: Jason Statham, Matt Schulze, Qi Shu
Director: Luc Besson (The Professional)
Release Date: 2002
Plot: Frank Martin (Statham) is the ultimate “transporter” — you need something transported from your ban robbery crew to a package, he’ll get it there with great speed and precision. Unfortunately, one of his transport missions goes bad when he discovers he’s transporting an innocent, young woman who’s bound and gagged in his trunk. Then it’s a run and gun story from there on.
The Chase: Most people roll their eyes when you mention Jason Statham, yet people seem to give the first Transporter a break and they should — it’s actually a fun movie. The opening car sequence is great and it really sets the tone of the film, as it’s all octane. Yes, the plot and dialogue and acting might not be there at all but sometimes you just need to unplug and enjoy something exciting and the Transporter does that in spades.