One of the best aspects of the action movie genre is the car chase. Nothing gets the heart racing like good old vehicular warfare onscreen. The first car chase I ever experienced in a movie was from the James Bond film The Living Daylights, it's fair to say the Bond franchise made me love action and film in general.
I've seen some badly made car chases in some bad films, take the 2013 film Getaway with Ethan Hawke, which features some terribly rapid editing and incoherent car chases and destruction, to the point it's so vapid and uninteresting. We as the audience want to feel part of the chase, as if we're in the drivers seat or at least the passengers seat along for the ride. Here are 10 movie chases that are definitely my top choices, there are so many out there but these 10 really do it for me. Let me know what your favourite chases in film are below, and if you agree or disagree with my choice.
10. Jack Reacher - Tom Cruise does his own stunts. We know this, we've seen him pull off some of the most death defying, jaw dropping and mental stunts in numerous films over the years. You have to admire the man for this and his balls of steel. He appeared on Top Gear with Cameron Diaz for fun action romp Knight & Day, in which both stars revealed they do all their own driving stunt-work too, which is so cool, and it shows in Tom Cruise's action flick Jack Reacher, where he makes his star power even more engaging as he roars through the streets of Pittsburgh.
This shot above is a seriously slick crash zoom that rushes towards Cruise, looking all intense and ready behind the wheel. Chased by police and Jai Courtney's ruthless thug, this is vehicular warfare at its most realistic and brutal, as collisions and dead ends are always on the horizon and around each bend, the lack of musical score works superbly as does the lack of copious amounts of CGI you find in a lot of action films lately. It all comes to a mildly amusing end of Reacher steps out of his cruising car, enters the crowd to avoid detection and evades his pursuers with the help of a sly and knowing citizen.
9. Transporter 2 - You can't beat a good old Jason Statham action film. In this action packed sequel, Statham's professional driver Frank Martin finds himself caught up in a kidnap and virus plot. Statham brings his intensity and fight skills to the table and it's so much fun as expected. Amongst all the fighting and shootouts, there is a wicked car chase through the streets and on the beaches of Miami. With some charmingly naff CGI and Kate Nauta's crazy baddie Lola coming along for the ride, it's a bloody good time as Statham effortlessly evades the police.
Stylish camera angles move with the car, dozens of cop cars bite the dust whilst Frank Martin's gorgeous Black Audi remains untouched and unscratched, even when he drives through a parking garage roof and launches midair into another building opposite, spinning the car time and time again in an impressively staged stunt, all before gliding to a finish, dangerously teetering over the edge of a high-rise building.
8. Death Proof - With enough bumper shots to make even the most avid action fans dizzy, strap in tight for this one. Tarantino's two hour exploitation film makes you wait for its bursts of action, as the majority of the film you are introduced to many characters in compelling and enjoyable dialogue driven interactions. The payoff is worth the wait, as badass stunt star Zoe Bell straps herself to the bonnet of a 1970 Dodge Challenger at high speeds. With Rosario Dawson and Tracie Thoms driving, they find themselves under attack from Kurt Russell's "Stuntman" Mike, who knocks the girls car about like a rag doll.
Countless times I found myself yelling at the screen, concerned for the characters who are thrown into oncoming traffic and T-bone on numerous occasions. The best thing is, there is hardly any musical score, so all you hear are the screams, the revving engines and every hard hitting impact. Tarantino should definitely do more car chases, this guy has made one unforgettable ride in Death Proof.
7. Fast & Furious 6 - Since Fast Five, this franchise has completely revamped itself and become a worldwide hit, critically and commercially. Five, Six and Seven were universally loved, and the themes of family became central, with action set pieces that increased in size and creativity by each film. Coming away from the sole racing and focusing on actions and heists, part six boasts one of the most chaotic, eyeball popping and intense chases I've seen in quite a while. This scene sees Dominic Toretto and his team chase after bad guy Owen Shaw who is operating a high tech tank on a busy motorway.
Cars are crushed, bridges are blown to bits and by the end of this swift moving chase the tank flips sending Michelle Rodriguez' Letty into mid-air. It's as over the top as it can get and that's what these new Fast films embrace, the over the top insanity. Justin Lin's smooth direction gets you up close to each character's perspective of the chase, near misses come in the dozens and a highlight sees Toretto speed up to avoid being crushed by a falling bridge.
6. Diamonds Are Forever - Another classic Bond film, Sean Connery's last performance as 007, a great sendoff for the star. In the 7th film, Bond and Tiffany Case take the police for one hell of a ride through the streets of Las Vegas. Tires screech and scream as they rip across the asphalt.
This chase is a blast, the police hopelessly pursue Bond but end up either crashing or colliding with one another. However, the best part is the end where Bond takes a chance and tilts his car onto two tires and fits between a narrow gap. It's a cool stunt that remains one of my favourites in all Bond history, and made even better when the hopeless police try the stunt, only to fail spectacularly.
5. Drive - No explosions, no police, no guns, this is a raw, grounded and absolutely fantastic car chase in a truly stylish and exciting movie. Ryan Gosling is a skilled driver who in this chase, attempts to evade killers in a Chrysler. Dodging oncoming traffic, drifting by the side of steep drops atop hills and avoiding crashes, this chase is so unpredictable, you can't tell if our hero is going to make it out unscathed.
This is a royal road battle, Mustang vs. Chrysler, the handbrake turn shot is wicked, every single shunt and ram is blood pumping, with Christina Hendrick's character sat in the back feeling completely on edge, making us feel exactly the same. By the end, you can take a breather and sit back, cause this is pure edge of your seat action with Ryan Gosling making stunt driving look effortless and cool at once.
4. Quantum Of Solace - The Bond franchise is well known for its thrilling car chases and brilliantly staged stunts, like the iconic bridge barrel roll in The Man With The Golden Gun. Here is another film that wasn't as well received compared to the rest of Daniel Craig era, Quantum Of Solace directly picks up where Casino Royale left off, with 007 having taken Mr. White, only to be relentlessly pursued through Lake Garda in Italy.
This is a fast cut, loud, assault on your senses chase that goes on for five minutes, what a way to open a film! Bond takes a beating as he is shunted by Alfa Romeo's, shot at, ploughed into by big dump trucks and worst of all, ruins a lovely DBS. Reports say they used over 7 of these cars for this sequence. This car chase grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go until Bond takes out his last pursuer in spectacular style by shooting them off a cliff.
3. Need For Speed - Well, another film that boasts one truly tremendous practical effects with very little CGI. This adaptation of the popular racing game sees Aaron Paul as Tobey Marshall, a driver racing across country to get vengeance on those who wronged him. At the climax of this thrilling adventure, Marshall takes part in a high stakes race alongside five other drivers. The stunt-work is possibly the most daring and awe-inspiring put to screen in years.
The sound design is rich and crisp, right down to the flappy paddle gears to the roar of the supercar engines. Bugatti's and Lamborghini's get totalled and taken out in some inventive ways, the police set-up roadblocks and blockades to stop the race but that only adds to the tension in this crowd pleasing chase. The camera gets you right up close to all the action, cars flip and barrel roll through the air! This is how you do a car chase: Real stunt-work and intense, tight cinematography.
2. Mad Max Fury Road - As my number one favourite film, Fury Road surprisingly takes the second spot, despite all its crazy perfection that I just can't get enough of! There are several chases in this action masterpiece, but one stands out particularly and that is the first chase where Immortan Joe, and his War Boys go after Furiosa, who are attacked by the hostile Buzzards, which leads to a journey through a toxic sandstorm . This lengthy chase is a beautifully made journey filled with faultless continuity, a tonne of bangs for your buck and some of the most insane car designs and constant peril for Max and Furiosa.
The slow motion carnage is crowd cheering madness, especially when vehicles are tossed up into the air leaving a trail of debris and car parts falling back to the ground. Handbrake turns, shunts, flips and sweet drifts are all part of this nutty chase only gets better right up to the point where War Boy Nux crashes with Max onboard.
1. Total Recall - This 2012 remake wasn't very well received but I absolutely loved it, and I was never a fan of the original so this was just an awesome movie in my eyes. Amongst all the mixed to negative reviews, there is one scene that even dislikers of this remake have to admit is rather impressive and that is the hover car chase, which is my favourite car chase, hands down.
It is a stunning mesh of practical effects and unbelievably detailed special effects. The world of the United Federation of Britain looks real, there is not a single shot that is unconvincing or cheap. The thought and immense scale gone into this creation makes the car chase even more thrilling when said cars weave in and out of the traffic against the sprawling cityscape. Colin Farrell and Jessica Biel evade the police and Kate Beckinsale's killer wife, who really puts up a fight. The score is epic and brooding, filled with horns and riffs that hit when cars ram into each other. Each shot throughout this 2 minute plus chase is jaw dropping, the breakneck speed, constant threat and seamless editing leaves you breathless.
Things get even more insane when the chase goes down a suspension level, the hover cars drift and fly through traffic over the city below and the sound design is roaring, I've never felt more immersed and part of a chase more than in this movie!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9x0_dse9rk The quality is poor on this video, so find yourself a higher quality version, cause this is some terrific cinema.