After watching Baby Driver, I got to thinking about the car chases I’ve seen over the past few years. This is the list of what I feel represent the best car chase scenes of the 21st Century.
I’ve watched a lot of movies that feature car chases through the years, and while there have been many good ones, I don’t think any comes even close to matching the sheer perfection of Scarlett Johansson as Lucy. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the kind of car chases that film schools should teach to their students.
First the only thing that makes a car chase even more fun is watching major Parisian points of interest flash past. And then there’s the way the scene was filmed. I don’t know how long it took the crew to splice together the different camera angles, but I do know that showing the car chase from both Lucy’s perspective and that of a wider angle somehow manages to crank up the intensity.
For me, the real piece de resistance is the dialogue that’s peppered throughout the scene. As far as I know, Joss Whedon wasn’t involved in this particular film project, but each time I watch the scene and listen to Lucy’s comments, I wonder if the actual writer didn’t consult with him. The dialogue is that good!
Bad Boys II
While I’m not particularly fond of either Bad Boy I or II, whenever cable television happens to air Bad Boys II I will sit down to watch it, and all because I happen to think it has one of the 21st Century’s top car chases.
The bridge this particular scene take place on makes the world’s longest suspension bridge, The Mackinac Bridge, look short. Each time I watch the scene, I fully intend to count exactly how many cars are destroyed, but I always get too caught up in the action, suffice to say, it’s a lot of cars! The thing that I really appreciate about this particular scene is that instead of just two cars zipping through traffic or a bunch of bad guys shooting at a bunch of good guys while driving, this particular chase is honest to goodness car vs. car. My absolute favorite part is when the bad guys release the cars that are parked on the truck trailer. I have no idea if the unchained cars would actually fall of the truck that way in real life, and quite honestly don’t care. The only thing I care about when I’m watching a car chase is how cool it looks, not how realistic.
And then there’s that moment where Will Smith’s character piolets his car directly under a flaming car. Pure movie magic!
The Raid 2
The great thing about chase scene in The Raid 2 is that, just like my first two examples, if features more than just driving and shooting. While the dialogue isn’t as wonderful a Lucy, and the chase seen lacks the visual delight of flaming, flying cars, it does have some well-choreographed hand-to-hand combat. The fact that it’s obvious that each of the characters is perfectly willing to fight to the death makes this chase scenes one of the most intense ones of the 21st Century.
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
The irony about the car chase scene in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift is that I actually had to watch the movie a couple of times before I really grasped the concept that the entire chase is choreographed around a single driving trick. On paper this sound pretty boring, but on the big screen it was sweet. Now, whenever I happen to catch that particular car chase, I always find myself wondering how the director pitched that particular sequence to the producers. It couldn’t have been easy explaining that the drivers were simply going to do the same thing over and over again, but that they would do it in such a way that the audience would find themselves hoping the scene never ends.
Mad Max: Fury Road
I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a car chase that was actually used to introduce the entire cast of characters the way that Mad Max: Fury Road introduces its cast. The stark landscape serves to keep the viewer focused on the scene itself. By the time that sequence ends, the entire movie is set up and the audience actually feels like they’re in each character’s head. It’s a masterful bit of filming and an example of what a skilled writer and director can accomplish when they put their heads together.
So, did I mention your favorite cinematic car chases of the 21st Century or do you think I made a mistake. Share your thoughts in the comment section.