Varaces - The Car Chase Movie Database

Switch to desktop Register Login

Features

Getaway might be the car chase movie you were expecting, and it may not be

  • Category: Features
  • Created on Saturday, 19 October 2013 18:39
  • Written by Star Wars Fanatic

 

Getaway might be the car chase movie you were expecting, and it may not be. However, if you go into it expecting to see a lot of car chases, you won't be disappointed. It is literally one car chase after another. Some of them are pretty straightforward with routine wrecks, nothing spectacular. But, a few chases show some pretty gnarly car crashes, I won't lie. The final chase begins on a freeway (which I was wondering why it took so long for the chases to move to a freeway), but it is pretty cool. Cars are weaving in and out of the wrong side of the freeway, and the Mustang (which takes a real beating in this movie) is trying to outspeed a couple of BMWs with a henchman sporting a grenade launcher, is intense and outstanding. 

The standout scene though comes a few minutes later with an unbroken shot of the Mustang chasing a Mercedes SUV at high speeds and both vehicles are crossing intersections where they nearly miss pedestrian cars. It is really a high-tension scene and I was literally gripping my seat through this almost two minute shot. It reminded me of the Blues Brothers chase through Chicago, where the Blues mobile is racing through the streets narrowly missing cars.

The acting of the film is subpar and Selena Gomez's performance is okay, but not terrible (I've seen worse performances in other movies). The film keeps you going by trying to figure out what the villain's plan is. 

The chases continue to switch between standard frames and shots from cameras mounted on and inside the car, which make some of the pursuits seem different and refreshing, if that sort of thing appeals to you. At times, the editing is rather frenetic, so you really have to be paying attention to what happens to which car.

If you go into Getaway with low expectations, you shouldn't be disappointed. If you go into Getaway expecting the greatest car chase movie ever, you might be really disappointed. However, if you go into Getaway expecting a subpar action movie packed with a lot of car chases, then this is the movie for you. It is something to be experienced on the big screen, and I'm glad that I was able to.

Words by guest contributor and long-time VaRaces member Emilio Rodriguez, aka n_easter12345.

 

 

 

 

Car Chase Cliches

Car Chase Cliches

Over the decades of films showcasing car chases, a few reoccurring situations seem to pop up. Since car chases are most often used as a climax to a film or to move the story along, things like realism and physics often have to take a back seat to convenience and plot. Even some of the greatest car chase scenes on film fall victim to a cliche or two.

It has happened so often that some things are often overlooked by the audience or it's just understood that this is how things work in the fictional movie world. Here are some of the most often used car chase cliches.

Anti-Lock Brakes and Traction Control don't exist
A chase wouldn't be a chase without tires screeching and brakes squealing, but pesky safety enhancements have made driving a lot more boring than it used to be. Since the invention of antilock brakes, it takes a lot to get a modern car to car to conjure up the unmistakable sound of rubber being dragged to a stop over asphalt. And traction control computers make sure that your wheels never have to work harder than neccessary to get the car moving. Luckily, movie directors have sound editors to help put the excitement back in driving fast.
Example : The Chase

When a car stops, no matter where or how, the tires will screech
It seems that the only way to stop a car in a movie is by slamming your foot as hard as possible on the brake pedal. This is why whenever you see a car come to a halt, you will hear the tell tale 'chirp' of the brakes locking and tires dragging the car to zero. And the tires will chirp wherever the car is driving, it doesn't matter if the car is on asphalt, ice, gravel, or dirt.

A fruit cart will be destroyed
Cars hate fruit carts. Cars hate fruit carts with a passion. A car in a chase will find any excuse to mow down any fruit carts in the vicinity. They aren't happy until apples and oranges are flying through the air and splattering on the ground. They hate fruit carts so much that the hatred spills over into any food related product that is sold on the street. This includes hot dog stands, ice cream vendors, and soda machines.
Example: Ronin

Cars are indestructible until they reach their destination
Movie cars have the hearts of athletes. They will refuse to die no matter what abuse is put on them. Being slammed into poles or jumping 20 feet to the ground has no adverse effect on the handling of the vehicle. The car will continue to persevere until the driver has reached the destination or the bad guys are no longer following.
Example: Gone in 60 Seconds(1974)

Cars are extremely flammable and explode when airborne or after rolling over
When a car leaps into the air or rolls onto it's roof, the odds of it exploding is 100 times greater than if it drove slowly through a burning warehouse filled with dynamite and gasoline. If a car goes airborne, the driver of the car is usually out of luck because the vehicle will blow up before it hits the ground. But if it merely rolls onto it's roof, the driver will have enough time to kick the door open and dive to safety just as the car bursts into flames.
Example: The Wraith Charlies Angels Cliche

When a car crashes it will be launched airborne while spinning to the side
Movie cars dont just crash. They CRASH!. This often means that the vehicle will fly into the air. And just to make sure the audience is paying attention, it will do a 1/4 - 1/2 roll while airborne. This will happen whether the car is involved in a 5 mph rear end collision, or if a tire blows out on the freeway.
Example: Charlie's Angels

Heroes never get seriously injured in crashes
According to all those seat belt safety commercials, if you crash at 10 mph your head will go flying through the windshield. And even if you're wearing a seat belt, you won't be ballroom dancing anytime soon. But movie crashes are different. No matter how horrific the crash, the hero (or main badguy) will stumble away from the twisted wreck with at most a cut on the forehead and a torn shirt. Add the fact that most car chase drivers don't wear seat belts and you get a new respect for the apparent tank-like safety of cars on film.
Example: Exit Wounds

If a car goes over a hill, it will get airborne and land without any damage
Movie cars love to jump. It's in their blood. So of course they take to the air whenever possible. And sometimes they get airborne when its not possible. When most real cars crest a hill at high speed, they're lucky to get their 2000lb+ bodies a couple of inches off the pavement. But in films, that same hill means at least a 36 inch high, 10 foot long flight. And watch out if theres a flatbed trailer in the vicinity, because those things are just Evel Kneviel ramps waiting to happen.
Example: Jade

Cars in a chase always have a full tank of gas
If you're in a chase, you can count on your car having a full tank and being in good repair. It doesnt matter its been taken directly out of a dealer's showroom, or car jacked as it pulls up into a gas station.
Example: Arlington Road

A large truck or 18 wheeler will somehow block the chase
In movie truck driving school, the first thing students are taught is how to be in the wrong place at the right time. During car chases, trucks are lurking in every alleyway and at every street corner, just waiting for the right moment to pull out and stop in the middle of the street, blocking traffic and allowing the lead car of a chase to escape.
Example: Gone In Sixty Seconds (2000)
 

Taken 2: skip the film and cut to the chase

  • Category: Features
  • Created on Sunday, 10 February 2013 16:45
  • Written by Martin Bigg

Taken 2 is the very definition of a heinous Hollywood cash-in. The original worked perfectly as a standalone film, and yet its sequel has us believe that lead character Brian Mills seemingly has the same sort of luck as Die Hard's John MccLane.

After saving his kidnapped daughter Kim from human traffikers in the first film, the father figure and ex CIA operative gets ‘taken’ himself along with his ex wife Lenore by a gang of Albanian henchman out to seek revenge for the countless number of men that Brian shot, punched and electrecuted in the last film. All in all, while entertaining, Taken 2 pales in comparison to the acclaimed original thanks to its lazy writing, ridiculous plot and watered-down violence.

Fortunately, there was at least one aspect of the sequel that improved on its predecessor. You guessed it: the car chase.

After Brian escapes captivity and saves Kim from pursuing henchman, he attempts to reunite with Lenore as Kim waits in a stolen taxi. As if the film was already woefully unoriginal, the filmmakers had the audacity to copy Drive and their use of The Chromatic's 'Tick of the Clock' to create suspense during this scene as Brian searches for Lenore against the clock. Unforgivable.

In an alternative ending seen in the home release of Taken 2, Brian manages to successfully rescue Lenore who comes along for the ride in the chase, resulting in different interior dialogue scenes. Brian’s motivations for chasing and executing the lead villains were therefore somewhat darker compared to the final cut where his primary motivation was to save Lenore.

Brian returns after failing to rescue Lenore who is whisked away in a van, and it’s up to him and Kim to drive to safety at the US Embassy. There’s just one problem: Kim is technically a learner driver, having failed her test twice. And yet we’re somehow led to believe that, despite her constant complaining about her own incompetence throughout the chase, she’s somehow capable of driving a manual Mercedes (I presume she would have learnt in an automatic) with considerable skill. As far as I know, evasive reverse 180s, tailslides and handbrake turns aren’t part of a standard driving test. Although perhaps they should be, if you should find yourself in a similar situation.

It’s a shame that the contrived setup diminishes the scene’s credability, not to mention the fact that actress Maggie Grace is clearly a lot older than Kim who is still portrayed as a troublesome teenager, because there is some daring driving on display as the Mercedes and its pursuing vehicles barrel through the tight narrow streets of Istanbul. It’s a location that is rarely used as the backdrop for car scenes, and yet it seems like an ideal car chase location.

Apparently, local shopkeepers refused to close their businesses during filming of the chase on location – many of the passers-by were real Turkish commuters going about their business, adding to the risk factor. Liam Neeson even admitted to being terrified during the filming of the scene, and was instantly reminded why he doesn’t like rollercoasters.

Initially, the chase starts at a somewhat pedestrian pace as Kim struggles to control the cab, spinning out of control and barging into Istanbul’s police force who apparently still drive crusty cars from the 1970’s. It's hardly representative of modern-day Turkey, which reportedly prompted outrage from Turkish residents.

After smashing the tacky Turkish police cars into submission, the chase picks up the pace as a Mercedes ML 4x4 filled with gun toting bad guys convieniantly resumes the pursuit right on cue. Neeson does what any action hero would do at this point: lean out the window and fire arbitrary pop shots. Meanwhile, the stilted dialogue between Brian and Kim continues: “Faster Kim!” Brian barks in that trademark Liam Neeson authorative voice. “I can’t!”, she squirms. “Do it!” “I can’t!” At no point do the exchanges sound natural, and Kim’s incessant ineptitude soon grates.

At this point, we get to see the standout stunt of the chase. Approaching a busy junction, Kim (sorry, a professional French stunt driver) executes a superb handbrake turn, causing a BMW traffic car to swerve into the path of the pursuing 4x4. The Mercedes comes to an abrupt halt and Brian leans out the window, gun in hand in perfect harmony to take out his pursuers, sending the ML soaring over the BMW before crash landing and rolling over several times before landing upside down.

Unfortunately, Taken 2’s chase suffers from shaky cam syndrone and incoherent rapid cut editing, as director Oliver Megaton reprises his kinetic direction last seen in Transporter 3. The aforementioned handbrake turn is a prime example - the use of approximately two dozen shots looks completely overdone.

But it’s not over yet, as another identical black Mercedes ML joins in the fury as the chase continues through a trainyard. You don’t even need to have seen the trailer to predict what happens next.

Yes, it’s one of our favourite car chase cliches of dodge the train! Cue another excuse to repeat the same dismal dialogue: “Faster Kim!” Brian shouts again. “I can’t!”, Kim replies. Unsurprisingly, Kim and Brian just about make it through unscathed, whereas the enemy vehicle gets broadsided by the unstoppable freightliner before being dragged down the rail line and exploding in a typical Hollywood fireball.

With the bad guys left to cook in the smouldering wreckage, Brian and Kim arrive at their destination, but not without impolitely ploughing through the US Embassy’s hut in a glorious slow motion shot of flying glass and debris. A spectacular end to an entertaining car chase.

Despite my disdain for Kim's presence and Megaton’s direction, Taken 2’s car chase manages to surpass the original’s. Taken's chase was destructive yet shortlived, but Taken 2’s chase improves on it in almost every respect, with a longer running time, more daring driving and superior stuntwork.

Money talks in Hollywood, and considering that Taken 2 was a hit in the Box Office despite its mediocore reviews, this no doubt won’t be the last we see of Liam Neeson’s seminal action hero. Indeed, Taken 3 is already said to be in the pipeline, with plans to shake up the formula next time round. Not that they had much choice now that every character has been ‘taken.’

Hopefully it won’t be shaken up too much to the extent that we won’t be treated to another car chase action sequence. Just please, please don’t let Kim drive next time.

2013 Car Chase/Racing Films

  • Category: Features
  • Created on Sunday, 20 January 2013 13:34
  • Written by Martin BIgg

2012 may have had a slow start in terms of high-octane Hollywood car chase content, but it soon picked up as the year panned out, with notable releases including Safe House, Taken 2 and Jack Reacher. 2013, on the other hand, looks like it will start with one hell of a bang, with a multitude of films released in the first half of the year that promise significant car chase action. Here’s hoping it’s a sign of what’s to come in the summer and beyond.

Varaces 2013

As is tradition on VaRaces, we thought we’d gather every film due out this year we could find to give you an idea of lies on the road ahead for chase fans in 2013.


Gangster Squad

Loosely based on a true story, Zombieland’s Ruben Fleischer tells the tale of an elite squad of cops who form an allegiance to take out Mickey Cohen, a ruthless mob leader who has taken over the city of Los Angeles circa 1949.

With Drive’s Ryan Gosling playing a central role, it’s logical to assume there’s a high chance that a car chase will erupt in this gangster action thriller. And you’d be right, as one of Gangster Squad’s pivotal action scenes happens to be a multi-car pursuit in which a plethora of vintage cars, including several 1949 Cadillacs, crash, flip and explode as the protagonists attempt to intercept a drugs convoy.

Much like the late H.B. Halicki, many of the rarities seen in the film were sourced by Ruben’s personal collection, private car collectors and junkyards in order to make the 1940’s Los Angeles look as authentic as possible. And yes, don’t worry – all the cars you see getting dismembered were written-off junk cars specially modified for one last send-off in the film.

Release date – January 10th 2013



Broken City


Mark Wahlberg plays an ex-cop seeking revenge after being double crossed by the city’s corrupt mayor played by Russell Crowe.

The film features a short yet pleasingly destructive chase – you can watch an excerpt from the scene in an official video below where we get to see an Impala get impaled by a Charger down some night time rain-soaked streets. Despite the numerous crashes, Broken City continues the Hollywood tradition where airbags don’t seem to have ever been invented.

Release Date – January 18th 2013



Death Race: Inferno


This direct-to-DVD third chapter in the Death Race saga sees Luke Goss reprise his role of notorious racing driver Frankenstein who once again finds himself driving for his life in a series of prison yard races with a deadly twist. Expect explosions, bad acting, explosions, cars with guns and explosions.

Indeed, while Death Race: Inferno offers more of the same racing action and OTT fatalities we’ve come to expect from the not-so-subtle series inspired by the cult-classic Death Race 2000, it at least manages to shake things up by moving the action over to the desert landscapes of South Africa in contrast to the dingy prison arenas seen in the last two instalments.

Our advice: put your brain in the backseat, don’t take it too seriously and enjoy the ride.

Release date: January 22nd 2013

The Last Stand

Arnie’s iconic “I’ll be back” catchphrase resonates very true here. After a supporting role in last year’s sequel to The Expendables, the ex-Governator has redonned his action hero sunglasses to star in The Last Stand, his first leading role in 10 years since Terminator 3.

Arnie plays Ray Owens, a hardened town sheriff who represents ‘the last stand’ between a runaway felon and his freedom in the Mexican border. Of course, being an Arnie film we can expect a barrage of bullets, one-liners and, you guessed it, car chases.

The real star of the show is a souped-up Corvette ZR1, which takes quite a battering in the film – only two out of seven of the Corvettes provided by Chevrolet were returned in decent shape according to producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who also worked on the Transformers films.

We know there’s at least one car chase between the Corvette and Arnie in a Camaro through a cornfield, but car action seems to be prominent throughout the film as the trailer shows a truck ploughing through a police roadblock and an SUV flipping onto its roof – a stunt that was apparently responsible for wrecking one of the Corvettes.

Release date – January 24th



A Good Day to Die Hard


Bruce Willis reprises his role as cocky cop John McCLane in the fifth entry to the seminal action series Die Hard, this time venturing outside the US to inflict some considerable damage to the city of Moscow.

In what promises to be a sure contender for the Most Destructive Chase in VaRaces’ annual awards, A Good Day to Die Hard will feature a highly destructive truck chase that could well rival last year’s rampage through Rio de Janeiro in Fast Five.

Apparently, the mammoth scene took 78 days days to film and there are rumours that the Top Gear team helped out with the chase just like they did in The Sweeney last year. We should therefore be in for something special indeed.

Release date – February 14th 2013



Identity Thief


From the director of Horrible Bosses comes Identity Thief, a comedy film starring Jason Bateman who becomes the victim of identity theft by a seemingly harmless woman.

While Horrible Bosses’ chase was nothing to write home about, Identity Thief looks as if it will have more ambitious stuntwork, as a van can be seen rolling over and a pristine Ford Taurus gets broadsided by a passing semi-truck in a freeway chase.

Release date – February 8th 2013



Snitch

In addition to Fast and Furious 6, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson stars in the far-fetched flick Snitch, playing the role of a father whose son is about to go down for selling illegal drugs. Johnson’s character subsequently hatches a deal with a U.S. attorney, acting as an informant in order to infiltrate a drug cartel.

The trailer shows numerous glimpses of a high-octane freeway chase as Johnson evades pursuing bad guys in a semi- truck, with some well-executed stuntwork. There’s a smattering of gun-fire, cars flip and explode and the stunt in which the trailer detaches from the moving truck looks particularly thrilling.

Snitch’s director Ric Roman Waugh also has some car chase credentials too, having worked as worked as a stuntman and co-ordinator for over 17 years with notable films including Tango & Cash, Total Recall (1990), Hook and The Crow.

Release date – February 22nd 2013



Vehicle 19

Fast and Furious star Paul Walker gets back behind the wheel in independent thriller Vehicle 19 that has all the hallmarks of a typical Paul Walker film.

Walker playing the role of an ex-cop? Check. Lots of car action? Check. Sold.

Indeed, the majority of Vehicle 19’s screentime seems to take place behind the wheel of a minivan, after Walker’s character takes it for a drive believing it to be a rental car, only to become embroiled in a conspiracy involving corrupt cops in South Africa after discovering a suspicious woman being held captive in the back.

It’s currently unclear whether or not Vehicle 19 will get a theatrical release outside of Japan which is scheduled in February, implying that other territories may get a straight-to-DVD release.

Release date – February 23rd 2013



The Host

An unlikely entry in a list of films containing automotive action, this film adaptation of Stephanie Meyer’s (the person responsible for corrupting millions of teens with the Twilight series), book of the same name about an alien species taking over human minds will contain a chase set on desert roads involving a truck, a group of exotics and a helicopter.

Release date – March 22nd 2013

Fast and Furious 6

The never-ending Fast and Furious franchise is set to race another money-making lap this May directed by Justin Lin, who has been at the helm of every film in the series to date since Tokyo Drift.

Fast and Furious 6 will reportedly be a direct sequel that sees the likes of Paul Walker, Vin Diesel and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s bulging biceps reprise their roles, but other than that little is known about this latest sequel other than the fact it will continue the new action heist movie format established in Fast Five.

While it’s difficult to imagine how the inventible auto action scenes in Fast and Furious 6 will trounce Fast Five’s gloriously destructive finale, in which two Chargers preposterously towed a bank vault destroying half of Rio De Janeiro in the process, Justin Lin has yet to disappoint since he took over the series.

We certainly can’t wait to find out, but for now we know that scenes have been filmed in Glasgow and London, and some amateur behind the scenes footage confirms a police chase set in Glasgow, with one video capturing a rollover stunt.

Additional footage shot in Spain also confirms another action sequence involving some classic Mustangs, a Roadrunner and…a tank.
You can always rely on the Fast and Furious series to deliver thrilling, destructive and innovative racing and chasing scenes which automatically makes Fast and Furious 6 one of our most anticipated auto action films of the year, but will it be able to secure the coveted VaRaces Chase of the Year award just as its predecessors consistently did?

Fortunately, we won’t have too long to wait for an official trailer as Vin Diesel recently confirmed it will air during the Super Bowl on February 3rd before the film’s final release in May.

Release date – May 24th 2013







Now You See Me

The Social Network’s Jesse Eisenburg plays one of four illusionists capable of pulling off bank heists during their magic performances and rewarding audiences with the loot. Other big star names include Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman.

From the brief glimpses seen in the trailer, it looks as if a car chase occurs on a freeway bridge, as an Impala is seen flipping over the divider and exploding.

Release date – June 7th 2013

Red 2

The original Red, based on the limited comic series, was surprisingly lacklustre in terms of car action. Fortunately, its recently announced sequel, the aptly named Red 2, looks to up the ante, as the teaser trailer shows some action in London as a Lotus Exige sweeps under a truck Fast and Furious-style while a Range Rover flips spectacularly in front of a truck on a British motorway.

At long last, then, it seems that car chases set in Britain are becomingly increasingly common, with last year’s The Sweeney concluding with a chase filmed by the Top Gear crew in a caravan park and the upcoming Fast and Furious 6 featuring scenes set in Glasgow and London.
Additional scenes featuring a Citroen 2CV and a Porsche barrelling through the streets of Paris can also be seen, but it’s unclear if these scenes are part of a car chase.

Release date – August 2nd 2013



Getaway

Before you get excited, no this is not a remake of The Getaway with Steve McQueen. While there’s currently no trailer available, the film’s premise hints at the possibility of car chases being at the forefront, as Ethan Hawke plays an ex-racing driver following orders behind the wheel from a mysterious man in order to save his kidnapped wife with the assistance of a young girl. It may have direct-to-DVD written all over it, but Getaway is slated for a theatrical release this August.

Release date – August 30th 2013

Rush

While not strictly a car chase film as such, Rush still deserves a place in our list considering it’s a film revolving around motor racing.

Following the success of Senna, Formula One is about to return to the big screen in this American adaptation of the 1976 grand prix which follows the rivalry between drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda that picks up after a near-fatal fiery crash at the Nürburgring. The film documents the driver’s contrasting personalities and Niki’s miraculous comeback from his accident after just 4 weeks. Both real and replica vintage cars were used to dramatise the action.

Rush is being directed by Ron Howard, who is no stranger to automotive action having directed the cult-classic Grand Theft Auto and starred in Eat My Dust and American Graffiti.

Release date – September 20th 2013

Found anything we’ve missed? Continue the discussion on our forum!

Jack Reacher's car chase is a gritty, visceral thrill ride

  • Category: Features
  • Created on Sunday, 30 December 2012 22:11
  • Written by Martin Bigg

We’ve been eagerly anticipating the release of Jack Reacher, a film adaptation of Lee Child’s 2005 novel, One Shot, following the various trailers and publicity stills showing glimpses of a promising car chase starring a Chevrolet Chevelle. Having now seen it myself, I can vouch that the chase sequence in Jack Reacher lived up to my lofty expectations and was undoubtedly the standout scene of the film. It’s a gritty, visceral piece of filmmaking that harkens back to the car chase glory days of the 1970’s, where flashy CGI, overblown stunts and shameful shaky-cam were non-existent.

 jack reacher1

Even the initial setup has echoes of Bullitt and Gone in 60 Seconds. Suspected for murder, Reacher, who is already on the tail of who he believes to be the culprit, pulls up to the scene of a crime surrounded by police officers. There’s a tense moment as Reacher and the lead pursuer knowingly stare at each other while the sound of the Chevelle’s ticking engine pre-empts the action about to unfold.

Jack Reacher’s chase firmly focuses on that most vital ingredient of a captivating car chase: the driving. Unlike most films where the director will do their utmost to disguise the stunt driver who's obviously wearing a wig to resemble the main actor, the film goes out of its way to constantly remind you that it is indeed Mr. Cruise performing his own stunts behind the wheel.

Those who saw his appearance on Top Gear will already know that Tom Cruise is blessed with some considerable driving skills, but, to me, hurling a lumbering old Chevrolet Chevelle around 90 degree corners is a more impressive feat than driving a Kia C’eed around the Top Gear test track with the aid of power steering. Indeed, the Chevelle certainly gets an exhaustive workout, speeding down highways, sliding round corners and torturing the tyres with copious amounts of burnouts.

And yet Reacher isn’t portrayed as a perfect driver. He makes mistakes, just as you and I probably would in the midst of a tense police chase, bumping into walls, clipping oncoming cars and misjudging corners, pushing the car to its limits. In one scene, Reacher slams into a row of barrels after barrelling round a corner too fast, before stalling in his haste to chase after his elusive target. According to Cruise, stalling the car was completely unintentional, but I’m glad they kept it in the final cut – it all adds to the immersion and plausibility of the scene.

The Chevelle sustains a hefty amount of damage throughout the chase, becoming a battered wreck fit for the scrapyard by the end of the Jack Reacher chase

scene, but the destruction never feels gratuitous. A high speed and brutal tussle between the Chevelle and Jack Reacher’s target in an Audi across a bridge causes the most damage, but a few police cars also find themselves on the receiving end of the Chevelle’s front end for good measure. There are no exceptionally flamboyant stunts to speak of, but this would detract from the gritty realism the director intended to achieve.

Watching the chase in a packed cinema was an absolute aural assault. Like the very best car chases that repeatedly crop up in top ten lists, Jack Reacher’s chase is completely devoid of incidental music, allowing the almighty sound of the Chevelle’s guttural engine to dominate the scene, along with the wailing of sirens, crashes and screeching tyres. The sounds are used to full effect, creating one of the most visceral chase scenes in recent memory.

There’s an element of suspense, too. At one point, Reacherends up in a cat and mouse sequence, creeping through alleyways after losing sight of the Audi which, unbeknown to Reacher, is hiding in the shadows ready to pounce. 

Considering this is the first film Christopher McQuarrie has directed since 2000’s Way of the Gun, the director has little prior experience of directing a car chase, and yet the directing of Jack Reacher’s car chase is superbly slick. The cinematography is completely devoid of shaky cam and rapid-fire editing to create spurious tension as seen in many contemporary chases, instead opting for lingering shots that focus on Cruise’s driving prowess.

This is best exemplified where, in an inspired piece of driving, Cruise performs a swift u-turn, mounting the Chevelle over a center divider, before darting back around to exit the highway in a glorious tyre-shredding tailslide. The entire manoeuvre is seen in one clean shot, whereas many movies would most likely cram in three or four.

To some, the ending, which you will already have seen in the trailer anyway, may come across as something of an anti-climax. We have a perception that all car chases must end with a spectacular stunt, such as the death of character or a devastating car crash full of carnage and explosions. And yet Jack Reacher’s chase couldn’t end on a more casual note.

After all that drama, he simply pulls up, blends in with a nearby crowd and whisks away on a bus with the help of a passer-by’s camouflaging cap. It’s a fitting end, however, that befits Jack Reacher’s mysterious character. In fact it’s not too dissimilar to the conclusion of Drive’s introductory chase which ended in a very similar fashion – it’s no coincidence, since both characters share similarly shadowy personalities.

Much like last year’s Drive and 2010’s The Town, Jack Reacher proves that relying on realism over flamboyance can create a truly thrilling, suspenseful, and gratifying car chase that fully immerses you. A sure contender for the best chase of 2012, then – find out if Jack Reacher came out on top in our annual VaRaces awards coming soon.

Subcategories