Car chases, chief! No one ever says the car chase was better in the book. And they’re usually pretty lame when they happen in real life, too. Nope, car chases are for the movies. In fact, one of the very first movies with a narrative centered around “the chase.”
1903: The Great Train Robbery
Why do you think it’s such a tradition for directors to yell “ACTION!” when they start filming? Well, it could have something to do with the first movie being an action picture. But although there are chases in The Great Train Robbery, this blog is dedicated to CAR chases. So let’s take a trip back through time, decade by decade, and look at the best cinematic car chases of the last 100 years:
We’ve wrapped up one decade in the new millennium so far, and there was no shortage of great cinematic car chases in it. In fact, the new millennium kicked off with a remake of a classic car chase movie, Gone in 60 Seconds. And say what you will about the story, there were some great car chases in this movie. Other nominees in this category are The Fast and the Furious, The Bourne Identity, and The Dark Knight. But the winner is undoubtedly Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, because ... wait, no, that’s not right. Why choose a ’70s throwback movie as the best car chase movie of the first decade of the NEW millennium? Just because the ’70s were the best years for car chases (we’ll get to them later) doesn’t mean we have to live in the shadow of them forever. No, the best car chase movie should combine the best of what the new millennium has to offer, which is groundbreaking special effects, with showing the audience something it hasn’t seen before. That said, the award for best car chase of the new millennium goes to The Matrix: Reloaded.
This decade is no contest. One of the greatest car chase movies of all time was released in the ’90s. It was so good I’m not even going to mention other honorable mentions like Terminator 2 and The Rock (even though I just did). Nope, the 1990s belong to the Robert De Niro action classic, Ronin. This was the first time the car chases in a movie actually made me nervous. The director John Frankenheimer set out to make the movie that all other car chase movies would emulate. This was the last great car chase movie.
This decade had a hard time living up to 1970s-era car chases, but it had some good contenders. Against All Odds, To Live and Die in LA, Mad Max II: The Road Warrior, and even anime classic AKIRA are all strong nominees. But the winner is an action comedy, and that comedy is The Blues Brothers. The sheer epic ridiculousness and audacity of the climactic car chase scene has to be admired, but it wins for just being one of the most entertaining car chases of all time. It gets extra points for the incredibly pointless property damage.
That’s it for today, chief. Come back on Friday when we discuss the greatest decade for car chases: the 1970s.
To be continued…
STV, STP® Blogger
- LEAVE A COMMENT