Don’t go chasing cars away

Let’s talk about car chases. Obviously, they’re popular, entire series have been created about them *cough* Fast & the Furious. Productions spend a lot of money to create them and I’ve been told they draw in the traditional “action movie fans.” But, are they actually good? Do they ever move the plot forward in a way that isn’t just a stall? 

Yes, usually the protagonist and the antagonist end up in a different spot physically than when they started the chase, but in my opinion that’s about it. Car chases are never the final showdown between the hero and the main boss. There aren’t high stakes, main characters never meet their end in them, and if you were to walk away from the screen during the duration of the chase, you’d miss nothing essential to the story. They’re usually action filler. Which is why if I need to go to the bathroom during a James Bond flick, I always know when to make my move. 

I guess you could make the same argument for the hand-to-hand combat fights that a hero encounters on his journey, but to me those feel more like leveling up to get to the end. 

What are your thoughts on car chases? Entertaining or fluff?

– Katrina Rotondo

2 comments

  1. Car Chases are my favorite. They are some of the most exciting and technically amazing achievements in cinema. My favorites include: The Mall Chase and the Chicago Chase in The Blues Brothers, The Chase on The EL in Chicago in RUNNING SCARED, the amazing horseback car chase in JOHN WICK 3: PARABELUM, the scene in PATRIOT GAMES as Sean Miller are chasing Dr. Ryan and her daughter on the freeway, and the end of DEATH PROOF. The Matric Reloaded fight on top of semitrucks, the car chases in RONIN, THE ITALIAN JOB, and THE FRENCH CONNECTION are all legendary. The stunt teams and their commitment to showing us a great time is a military effort of safety and choreography. Essential and wonderful.

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    1. Hey Kiff,

      Thank you for your comment! I do also love the horseback car chase in John Wick, and The Italian Job is a great movie. I absolutely do appreciate them from a cinematic POV, and am hella impressed by the stunt teams that choreograph them. I guess they just don’t grab my attention as much as the hand-to-hand combat scenes. But I really like your passion for them, the next film I watch with a car chase I’ll try to remove my previously formed perception and see what happens.

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