Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Top 10 Chase Scenes of All Time

Let's face it, top 10 lists are fun. Especially when I get to decide what does and doesn't make the list.

This time around: The best chase scenes ever captured on film. And before we get started, I know Bullitt
and The French Connection
always get mentioned when people talk about chase scenes. Well guess what? I've never seen either one and when I watched the chase scenes on YouTube I wasn't impressed. True, I didn't see them in the context of the film and they were innovative at the time but I'm not grading on innovation. I'm grading on what I think was cool. And at the end of the day, that's all that really matters. I mean for real.


10. Running Scared (1986)
I was 16 when I saw this Billy Crystal/Gregory Hines buddy-cop flick (yes, you heard me right. Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines played Chicago cops). As a whole the film itself is pretty mediocre, but when Billy and Gregory's high-speed chase leads them onto the rails of the Chicago El system - the cars racing along the tracks - it was something else. It was that scene that first made me say to myself One day I'm going to make a compilation of the best chase scenes, and this one is going to be on it.

9. Vantage Point (2008)
Forget the fact that I thought this movie was pretty freakin' cool. Any movie that has me shouting "Get 'em, Dennis Quaid!! Go, Dennis Quaid!! Drive faster, Denis Quaid!!!" at the top of my lungs...yea it had a pretty cool chase scene.

8. Children of Men (2006)
How do you know a chase scene is a good one? When they are moving at like 2 miles per hour and it's STILL exciting. Clive Owen sabotages the bad guys' cars before he sneaks away from their hideout in a countryside cottage. But, of course, the car he's in doesn't always start when it's supposed to, so he has to get out and push while Julianne Moore is in the car trying to pop the clutch and get it going. The baddies are soon after them, pushing their cars and in the same situation. OK, I admit it sounds pretty ridiculous in this context but trust me, it was pretty intense.

7. The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
The only redeeming quality about either of the sequels to the Matrix series was the freeway chase scene. I don't know how much of it was CGI, how much was shot on location, or how much was shot on a soundstage - I suspect it was a combination of all three - but this sequence was so manic and crazy it made me forget for a few minutes that I was watching a really crappy movie.

6. Casino Royale\ (2006)
James Bond movies are supposed to have really cool chase scenes, but it wasn't until the latest incarnation that I realized just how cool they could be. It opens with Daniel Craig chasing some dude who jumps around like a human Frogger through a construction site. Freakin' awesome.

5. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Most people choose Raiders of the Lost Ark when they choose their favorite Indy chase scene, and I can't really argue with them. But for me, it's hard to beat the mine car chase. True, when you watch it now it's almost painfully obvious that most of the sequence is actually shot in miniature, but let's be honest. When you saw the trailer for Journey to the Center of the Earth with Brendan Fraser and you saw the clip of the mine car sequence, you thought of Indy II. And odds are you think of our favorite fedora-wearing hero every time you see a mine car in a movie traveling quickly. That, my friends, is what you call influence.

4. The Bourne Trilogy (2002, 2004, 2007)
Yes, I cheated a little on this one, but since it's my list, I can make the rules. And break them. But I couldn't single out one chase scene in the series of films that are pretty much one long chase scene (not unlike the surprisingly-forgotton Run with Patrick Dempsey....and don't think that one didn't almost make the list). So instead of trying to single out one of them, I'm just lumping the whole series together into one big chase scene chunk. MMMM. Tasty, huh?

3. The Italian Job (2003)
I'm not too proud to admit that this is the film that made me want to buy a Mini Cooper. I haven't wanted a car this badly since I was a kid and was wayyyy too into the Herbie films (a pox upon thee, Lindsay Lohan! I miss you, Dean Jones). Watching these little cars zip around, eluding the bad guys, and custom-built to carry hijacked could make me not want one of these cars. And then my boss got one and beat me to the punch. I guess I could still buy a VW bug and paint a '53' on the side.

2. Jurassic Park (1993)
Are you kidding me? I don't know what freaked me out more, the T-Rex thumping after the jeep or the two raptors chasing our heroes through the grounds. Freak. Me. Out. I'm still against dinosaur DNA testing to this day.

1. Cloverfield (2008)
There's a scene where the stars of the film find themselves in the dark maze of New York subway tunnels with no light. And when they DO manage to get some light what they see following them in the dark...well...sometimes it's better to not see what it is that's stalking you. The chase is on and it's a hell of a chase. By the time the sequence was over, I could feel my heart trying to push through my ribcage. I turned to Sarah sitting beside me and could only utter these three words: "That was fun."

So there ya go. My favorite chase scenes. What about you? What movies got your heart racing and your feet tapping overtime? Leave your favorites in a comment below.


Brad said...

Good list idea and good list. But what about Ronin?

Chris said...

dennis quaid wasnt in vantage point

Aaron said...

No way cloverfeild is a good movie at all. never should be on there. and definattly should be taken out if ronin isnt in there.

mike said...

what about apocalypto? that was one of the best chase scenes ever...

arron menezes said...

what about next and thomas crown affair?

rotaryseven said...

I thought Ronin had one of the best too, plus Diva a movie from France and made around 1982.
Then there was the scene from Road Warrior.
I think there was a good scene from that movie The Vanishing Point too.