A history of lame car chases on film.Crazy car chases rule, but low-octane pursuits make for excruciating viewing. Derrick Hopkins, editor of Varaces.com, a site devoted to more than 700 movie car chases, and co-owner of DTMMovies.com, looks for quality car matchups, sizzling stunts and action, and story context, but he disdains most computer effects. Here, he analyzes scenes that never upshift.
The movie's bad guy inexplicably flees a car show in a Formula One and races down Chicago streets before Sylvester Stallone follows him. "And why would Stallone jump in another to chase after him?" gripes Hopkins. "What are these guys doing? That whole movie just [ticked] me off. None of it makes sense."
Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)
Hopkins calls the 1974 original "the greatest chase movie ever," but the sequel blows the climactic car jump on a bridge with CGI chicanery. "In the original, the director drove the car himself, and the car got almost completely destroyed. But these guys got $90 million to make a movie, and they couldn't even crash a car. It's not even a good CGI jump."
I, Robot (2004)
Great car, lame usage. Will Smith is driving a futuristic Audi in a straight tunnel, changing lanes really fast to avoid pursuing robots. "At one point, the car does a 360-degree spin. He couldn't be controlling it, and what you're watching on-screen doesn't even look like a real car at certain points."
I Spy (2002)
Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson flee pursuers while their car is stuck on a truck, only returning to street level at the end. "The entire chase, they were just sitting in their car," says Hopkins. We fell asleep before we noticed.
Maximum Overdrive (1986)
After a possessed 18-wheeler fails to run down a clunky midsize car (as if), the truck swerves off a hillside and blows up! "[It's like] every truck is just packed with napalm or something, so as soon as it does anything, it automatically explodes," quips Hopkins.
A View to a Kill (1985)
Even James Bond has his off days. When Roger Moore races a taxicab through Paris, "all of a sudden, the back half gets cut off, and he's driving half a cab. That makes no sense." But it looked cool (in 1985).
XXX: State of the Union (2005)
At the beginning, audiences are teased with Mustangs, Bentleys, Porsches, Ferraris, and the prototype for a Cobra. The Cobra gets minimal use in a low-speed pursuit of a train by star Ice Cube. Blah.
Even the greatest cinematic chase ever has its flaws. In Bullitt, aside from a green VW that keeps popping up in shot after shot, the black Charger that Steve McQueen's Mustang is chasing loses as many as eight hubcaps during the chase. At the climax, the Charger crashes into a gas station and blows it up. "But the driver was going so fast, he couldn't control the car and missed the building altogether," reveals Hopkins. "If you watch in slow motion, you can see him drive behind the building and come out the other side, and then the building blows up." Still, we didn't notice. This one rules because it has no CGI or cheap effects and was probably pretty dangerous to pull off.