Wednesday, May 22, 2013

3 Amazing Chase Scenes

The adrenaline pumping, wheel burning, and engine revving moments of chase scenes are some of the most memorable parts of the movies we love. No self respecting action movie can do without a good old fashioned 'pedal to the metal' chase through crowded city streets or careening off of mountain cliffs. Here are some amazing scenes that you might consider watching in the near future, or that you remember fondly watching with white knuckles and sweaty palms.

Warning: While a healthy appreciation of cinema is always encouraged, like most movies, reenacting them in real life is considered foolish and extremely dangerous.

The Bourne Identity

The recipe is simple: a tiny car, narrow streets, Paris, a staircase, and a gang of police officers on strangely acrobatic motorcycles. Combined you get one of the most thrilling chase scenes in movie history. The amnesia plagued spy Jason Bourne, played by Matt Damon, finds himself being hunted by the local 'fuzz' and is forced to drive a less than pristine vintage Austin Mini Cooper down the winding streets of Paris. In one instance the tiny car even climbs and descends a small stairway to avoid authorities. The picturesque setting mixed with the unrelenting pace of the pursuit combine to serve a thrilling cocktail of narrow misses, driving against traffic, and generally giddy lawlessness.


Steve McQueen defined the art of the car chase with this iconic scene. Unlike the brash, wild, and teeth clenching speed of most action movies today, this movie approached the cliché with subtly and a masterful sense of tension. It starts slowly enough: the renegade cop Bullitt, played by the stoic McQueen, notices that two goons are following him. The speeds build as they wind their way up and down the hilly streets of San Francisco. Finally, when he fails to shake them off the gentle way, Bullitt revs up his 1968 Ford Mustang GT and the cars are rocketed into an all out race. Nearly flying over the steep roads of the city and out into countryside, the hitmen eventually meet their end in a fiery crash. One of the main elements of this scene that made it so 'cool' was the fact that no soundtrack played during most of the chase, allowing the sounds of the engines to come through clearly. Ford Mustang sales skyrocketed shortly after.

The Blues Brothers

In this classic lampoon of all chase scene stereotypes ever conjured on the silver screen, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi break every road law in their race to pay off taxes and save an orphanage. Driving a retired patrol Dodge Monaco affectionately named the “Bluesmobile” the brothers coolly incur the wrath of the most grand and destructive car chases on film. They are followed by a veritable army of state and federal police forces, a vengeful country band named “The Good Ol' Boys”, and a platoon of dimwitted Neo-Nazis. The scene involved they destruction of nearly 60 vehicles, and even the beloved Bluesmobile, which falls to pieces the moment the Blues Brothers step out of their trusty ride.

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