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2003 VaRaces Awards

  • Category: Awards
  • Created on Tuesday, 30 August 2005 13:25
  • Written by Super User
Untitled Document

 

2003 VaRaces Awards

Varaces.com salutes the top achievements in car chases on film in the past year. 2003 featured movies like the The Matrix:Reloaded, 2Fast 2Furious, and Terminator 3 which proved that computer effects could enhance a chase without distracting from it. 2003 set new standards for car chases for years to come.

 

Most Inventive Car Chase

This award goes to the film that added the most new ideas to the car chase sequence. These nominees did more than show two cars following each other above the speed limit.
The Nominees are:
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
It's easy to show a couple of cars driving down a street and call it a chase. T3 took it up a notch by bringing in a 10 ton crane and remote controlled police cars.


An ATV flies across rooftops in
Cradle 2 the Grave
Cradle 2 the Grave
When the going gets tough, the tough jump on an ATV and escape from the cops by not only going through buildings, but over them

The Italian Job
A group of thieves use Mini Coopers to drive through the subway to escape a helicopter, among other things.

The Winner is:
Cradle 2 the Grave
Cradle 2 the Grave did something that few chase scenes, do. It moved the chase from the streets to inside buildings and onto rooftops. By taking a unique vehicle like an ATV and using it to it's full potential, this movie elevated what would have been a standard sequence to an award worthy chase scene.

 

Most Destructive Chase Scene

A movie isn't a movie until something blows up. This award goes to the chase scene that caused the most amount of damage in the name of entertainment.
The Nominees are:
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Police cars play pinball with a pickup truck, a crane smashes through a wall, and thats before the firetruck gets involved.

The Terminator doing what he does best.
Bad Boys 2
The Ferrari chasing the bad guys doesn't get a scratch, but the same can't be said for the dozens of cars left in it's wake.

The Matrix: Reloaded
The filmmakers built their own section of freeway so they could throw vehicles in the air in every way imaginable. It's a thing of beauty.

The Winner is:
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Athough all of this years nominees did a great job in destroying cars, trucks and 18 wheelers, T3 went the extra mile by dragging a crane through a building and up ending it. Did I mention the building?

 

Best Driving

Behind every good chase scene is a great driver. This award celebrates some of the best behind the wheel skills seen on screen.
The Nominees are:
Paycheck
It may have came late in the year, But Paycheck delivered a great chase with exceptional driving and motorcycle riding.


The Italian Job made the already cool Mini even cooler.
The Italian Job
Being the namesake of a classic film meant that The Italian Job had a lot to live up to. And it did.

Hollywood Homicide
Almost out of the blue, Hollywood Homicide hit the screens with a chase that was better than most.

The Winner is:
Paycheck
It looks like director John Woo took notes while filming his BMW film short and brought it to the big screen. Paycheck places the camera on a motocycle and lets the rider show his skills as a squad of Crown Vics pursue him down city streets and into a construction yard. It's as if every vehicle involved is a part of an elaborate dance.

 

Car Chase of the Year

This is the big one. The single most exciting, well done, car chase of 2002. This award takes into account everything from stunt work, how the scene enhanced the plot, how the sequence was shot, etc.
The Nominees are:
The Matrix: Reloaded
At lot of hype was built up around ths chase scene, and for good reason.


Trinity from The Matrix: Reloaded
goes against the flow of traffic.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Terminator movies are known for over the top action and T3 didn't dissapoint.

2Fast 2Furious
Both domestics and imports were showcased in a movie that had something for every kind of car lover.

The Winner is:
The Matrix: Reloaded
The Matrix: Reloaded raised the bar for chase scenes. In a movie that is known for it's special effects, a surprisingly large percentage of the scene was created with real drivers performing flawless stunts. And when special effects were used, they meshed perfectly. Not only do the technical aspects of the scene stand out, but the pacing and twists make the chase have it's own story arc. When you think it's about to be over, it ramps up again in a completely different direction. Thats what makes the chase scene in The Matrix Reloaded worthy of being the Car Chase of the Year.

2004 VaRaces Awards

3rd Annual VaRaces Awards

Varaces.com salutes the top achievements in car chases on film in the past year. To say that this year's awards were tough to compile would be an understatement. I'll give it to you straight, 2004 was not a good year for car chase films. Maybe after being spoiled by all the action in 2003 we were expecting too much. But no matter how you look at it, this year was lacking in big screen vehicle action. This year, the rules were stretched a bit to include a couple of movies. Gumball 3000 had a very limited theatrical release in late 2003 and Ong Bak had a scattered release that ranged from 2003-2004-2005. But in the interest of competition, they were included.

Most Inventive Car Chase : This award goes to the film that added the most new ideas to the car chase sequence. These nominees did more than show two cars following each other above the speed limit.

The Nominees Are

  • Torque This movie truly blurs the line between reality and CG. But even I'm hard pressed not to include a movie that has motorcycles racing on top or trains, hurtling down the street at near mach speed, and creating trails of flame on the asphalt.
  • Team America : World Police A Humvee chases after terrorists using machine guns and missles. And the whole thing is done by puppets
  • Ong Bak Not many people in the US know what a TukTuk is, but after seeing a fleet of them chase each other in the streets of Thailand, I'm sure everyone will want one.

Winner: Ong Bak

This movie sells itself on it's great stunt work, and you know the hype is real when you see guys jumping from car to car during the chase. The chase doesn't letup and goes on and on and on, but you don't want it to stop just so you can see what they do next.

 

Best DVD Release: This is a new category for 2004. With many great chases being made available on the small screen, it's only fair to recognize the releases that went a step further and gave people the chance to experience these chases again or for the first time.

The Nominees Are

Spielberg hit the small screen in a big way with Duel

Dukes of Hazzard: The Complete First Season - One of the most popular tv shows that regularly featured extensive chase scenes. The DVD set includes 13 episodes of the famous orange Dodge Charger running from the cops and jumping over rivers.

 

Knight Rider: Season One - If you're looking for a show about a talking black Trans Am that fights crime, then this is your choice. The set includes 21 episodes and even tosses in the TV movie 'Knight Rider 2000' for good measure.
Duel - This Steven Spielberg project started as a made for TV movie and grew into a cult classic. The DVD has a beautifully remastered picture and a number of featurettes.

Winner: Knight Rider Season One

This was the closest category of the year. Each of the nominees was long awaited and packed with features. But Knight Rider went the extra distance by including an extra movie, commentary tracks, an interview with the stunt coordinator, and even a tour of the Knight 2000's dash board.

 

Best Driving : Behind every good chase scene is a great driver. This award celebrates some of the best behind the wheel skills seen on screen.

The Nominees Are

The Bourne Supremacy ramped up the action this year

Bourne Supremacy- This is the second time a Bourne movie has been up for this award. And it's clear why. Two great chases each showcase some of the best driving seen on film in a long time.

Punisher � It's gotta be tough driving fast over uneven ground. It's gotta be even tougher with a trailer attached.

 

Winner: Bourne Supremacy

This is how a chase should be done. The stunt drivers toss the cars through crowded intersections and through tunnels with the precision of true masters.

 

Best Game: Another new category for 2004. With games getting better and better at portraying speed, realism and excitement, it's no wonder that some of the best chases on screen this year were being controlled by the game players.

The Nominees Are

This is one of the tamer, more subdued wrecks from Burnout 3

Burnout 3 � This series has set a new standard for arcade racing with it's incredible sense of speed and the best crashes anywhere.

 

Driv3r - The third game in this series came out of the gate with a bang. More cars and more locations were just a few of the enhancements made.

GTA3: San Andreas � The granddaddy of the genre. GTA came back with more cars and a bigger city to run away from the cops in.

 

Winner � Burnout 3

More than any other recent game, you can sit down with Burnout 3 and immediately start having fun. The background blurs and cars fly by as you desperately try to stay in control of your car. And if you get tired of racing, you can switch to crash mode and see just how much damage you can rack up by ramming into a semi at full speed in the middle of rush hour traffic. And on top of all that, you get to see it in slow motion.

 

 

Chase of the Year: This is the big one. The single most exciting, well done, car chase of 2004. This award takes into account everything from stunt work, how the scene enhanced the plot, how the sequence was shot, etc.

The Nominees Are

Gumball 3000 � This documentary follows the cross country race named after the Gumball Rally movie. Name an expensive exotic car and it's here, being driven at breakneck speeds across the US . They rack up speeding tickets and repair bills along to way. Easily the most fun I had watching a movie all year.
Bourne Supremacy � This chase embodies everything that makes chase scenes great. It's not bloated with the overuse of CGI, there's no MTV style cuts to get in the way of the action, and it's not just tacked on to the movie to fill out a quota. The chases move the plot along and feature incredible stunt work.

Winner: Bourne Supremacy

What more can be said about this film? The Bourne series will go down as one of the great chase franchises. Bourne Supremacy starts with a frantic chase through a crowded town and ends with a ballet of destruction in Moscow. And on top of all that, the chases aren't just tacked on. Each one is well thought out, executed to near perfection, and an important part of the plot.

 

Lifetime Acheivement Award: This is a special award to that goes to the people and vehicles that have become an important part of the car chase genre.

Person: H.B. Halicki

H.B. Halicki was a self made man that had a passion for cars and movie making. He wrote, directed, and starred in one of the most influential car chase films ever made, Gone in 60 Seconds. If he had stopped at that one film, his place in chase history would have easly been secured. But Mr. Halicki didn't stop there, he continued to add to the genre with The Junkman, and the ill fated Gone in 60 Seconds 2. His untimely death was a tragedy that is still felt today. His legacy can still be seen in today's chase scenes.

Vehicle: The Ford Crown Victoria

Over the years, a lot of cars have been in a lot of chases. The Crown Victoria makes up a big percentage of them. Whether it's as a police cruiser, a secret government agency vehicle, or a mobsters ride, the Crown Vic has been the �go to' car for years. It's been spun, flipped, blown up and sunk time and time again. You can see it racing to Chicago as the Blues Mobile, chasing the hero in Paycheck , transforming into a streetracer in Taxi, or flying off of bridges in Smokey and the Bandit. When you see a Crown Vic on the screen, odds are something exciting is about to happen.

2005 VaRaces Awards

  • Category: Awards
  • Created on Wednesday, 28 June 2006 00:00
  • Written by Super User

Most Inventive Car Chase :

This award goes to the film that added the most new ideas to the car chase sequence. These nominees did more than show two cars following each other above the speed limit.

The Nominees Are:
Batman Begins
The batmobile took a different approach to evading the police. Instead of using the city's streets, it took to the rooftops.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith
What could've been a standard chase went to a completely different level when it served as a backdrop for a argument between a married couple, with guns.

Transporter 2
The Transporter used his car like a swiss army knife. The Audi in this film felt at home whether it was jumping from the tops of buildings or diffusing bombs

The Winner:

Batman Begins
The Batmobile is one of the most famous cars in the world. And when the new version was unvieled, the reaction to the SUV like proportions was mixed, to say the least. But the chase put the tonnage to good use as the batmoblie barrelled through barriers and jumped across rooftops.

 

 

Best DVD Release:

The Nominees Are:
The Essential Steve McQueen Collection Bullitt was rereleased in 2005 as a 2 Disc special edition featuring 3 documentaries and an informative commentary from the director, Peter Yates. But then the studio topped itself with this collections which adds a Special Edition of The Getaway.

Gumball Rally
The best of the Cross Country race Genre finally got a DVD release in 2005.

Dukes of Hazzard
The Dukes of Hazzard movies came home with a number of features that dealt specifically with the General Lee, including a detailed look into how those spectacular jumps were performed.

The Winner:


The Essential Steve McQueen Collection
The collection has 4 movies, but the two that matter Bullitt and The Getaway propel this set into the winners circle. Simply put, every chase fan should have these films.

 

Most Destructive Chase Scene:

The Nominees Are:

Taxi
This remake of the Luc Besson classic starts off with a huge pileup and continues to add on the wreckage throughout the film

Batman Begins
The Batmobile makes short work of roofs in Gotham

Island, The
Micheal Bays frantic directing style enhanced the wonton destruction found in The Islands chase scenes.

The Winner:

The Island
It seems that when Micheal Bay does a chase, his goal is to leave as many bent pieces of metal on the street as possible. In The Island, he succeeds by destroying a number of vehicles, sometimes with simple crashes and sometimes by dropping truck axles on top of them.

Best Driving :

Behind every good chase scene is a great driver. This award celebrates some of the best behind the wheel skills seen on screen.

 

The Nominees Are:
Dukes of Hazzard
Shunning CGI, the film showed that precision driving still will always have a place in hollywood. Drifts that come within inches of other traffic and dirt road manuveurs that make you want to take a drive in the country are just a couple of the driving highlights from this film.

Taxi
A BMW and Crown Vic weave through traffic and glide around the corners of N.Y.C.

Initial D
With only a small DVD release in the US, this Hong Kong import was impressive enough to make the list. This movie is filled with hot hatchbacks screaming down twisting mountain roads.

The Winner:

Initial D
Great driving wasn't just a part of this movie, it -was- the movie. When skilled car control is one of the central plot points, you know you're in for a treat. These drivers drift thier cars down a mountain, inches from each other and the guardrail. And the fun part is, they dont make it look easy. It looks hard, and dangerous, and you appreciate the talent that must've been behind the wheel.

 

Best Game:

The Nominees Are:

 

Burnout Revenge The Burnout Series continues with this installment for the Xbox and PS2

Forza
Microsoft's answer to Gran Turismo ups the ante with cars that can be customized down to the paint job.

Need For Speed Most Wanted
Need For Speed gives you a chance to run from the cops without haveing to worry about jail time.

The Winner:

Need for Speed Most Wanted
NFS may have it's faults, but as far as recreating the thrill of a chase, it can't be beat. Hearing the police sirens behind you, the police radio chatter, dodging spike strips, short cutting through neighborhoods, it's all here and it looks fantastic.

Chase of the Year:

This is the big one. The single most exciting, well done, car chase of 2004. This award takes into account everything from stunt work, how the scene enhanced the plot, how the sequence was shot, etc.


The Nominees Are:
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
A freeway chase that's built around a martial squabble and a wrecked BMW's.

Island, The
CGI mixed with intense stunts made The Island one of the years most memorable chase scenes.

Dukes of Hazzard
This remake didn't fail to impress as it delivered great driving and spectacular stunts.

Initial D
The races in this film where inspired by a cartoon but they came into their own

Winner:


Initial D
Coming out of seemingly nowhere(Hong Kong actually) Initial D brought the car movie back to life. In this film, the cars became characters and the story was told through the races scenes just as much as it was through the spoken dialog.

 

 

Peoples Chase Award

For the first year, the vistors of VaRaces got a chance to vote on which chase they thought was the stand out of the year. The Nominees Are:
Island, The

Mr. and Mrs Smith

Dukes of Hazzard

Transporter 2

Sahara

Winner:

The people have spoken and with a commanding lead, the Dukes of Hazzard wins the first ever People's chase Award.

 

Jerry Summers, George Barris, and Carey LoftinLifetime Acheivement Award: Person

Carey Loftin

"The first stunt I did at Warner Bros. was a motorcycle wreck. The tires were supposed to shoot out from under me, so I jack-knifed it on this dusty road and took a big tumble. When they yelled "cut," I got up, dusted myself off and started walking away. John Hudkins, nicknamed The Bear, took me by the arm, pulled me over, and said, "Son, you're never going to make any money in this business. Limp till you make a deal." It was good advice and I took it."

As a stunt driver and stunt coordinator, Carey Loftin helped create some of the most exciting and famous chase sequences in history. His body of work spans 5 decades and includes classics like The French Connection, Bullitt, Vanishing Point all the way up to more modern favorites like Used Cars and Days of Thunder. When Loftin worked on Bullit, his fellow stuntmen said "Carey Loftin was easily the best car man in the business..." And that fact was proven time and again throughout his lifetime. He died in 1997 at the age of 83.

 

 

Lifetime Acheivement Award: Vehicle

Pontiac Firebird/Trans Am

The Trans Am is a car that seemed to be made for hollywood. It wasn't the fastest or best handling car on the road, but it had character, and thats all you need to be a star. In 1976's Cannonball, the Trans Am took center stage in the cross country race but it truly rose to stardom in Hal Needham's Smokey and the Bandit, it immediately became a must have for everyone who wanted to look like an outlaw. With the huge firebird decal across the hood, it was impossible to miss. When Knight Rider hit the air the Tran Am's legendary status was cemented.

6th Annual Varaces Awards

  • Category: Awards
  • Created on Saturday, 30 August 2008 12:47
  • Written by Super User
VaRaces: 6th Annual VaRaces Awards

The Annual VaRaces Awards returns again to celebrate the best car chase and racing achievements for 2007. This year continues on with the tradition of the People's Chase Award with a record number of users participating. Like last year, this year's awards have Special Guest Presenters providing commentary on the nominees or winners. And through popular demand we have introduced the new category - the Worst Chase of the Year Award - that acknowledges the lesser achievements. Thanks goes to all forum users for their nominations with an extra thanks to Derrick Hopkins for helping out with the selections. 

People's Chase Award

chase

In the tightest round of voting since its introduction two years ago, the People Chase Award saw the nominees go head to head with website users getting the chance to vote upon their favorite car chase or car racing film. The Nominees were:

The Bourne Ultimatum
The last entry in the Bourne trilogy proved the most successful of them all by taking over $227 million in rentals at the domestic US box office. It also did not disappoint automotive fans through its trademark car chase sequence.

Death Proof
Tarantino's homage to 1970s car chase films did not prove a hit wih audiences but it was the most anticipated car chase film of 2007. Car chase fans ignored the lenghty dialogue scenes and focused upon the film's concluding extended car chase.

The Invasion
The surprise car chase hit amongst varaces forum members, this sci-fi thriller brought new meaning to the term 'cover up'.  And it has Nicole Kidman at the wheel to boot.

Live Free or Die Hard
The fourth installment of the Die Hard series argably was the most action packed film of 2007. Not only did it feature a helicopter pursuing after a police car but also had John McClane escape in a semi truck from a fully armed jet. 

Redline
Despite the fact that many film critics took issue with the film's lack of plot, automotive fans were able to see an array of exotic vehicles in action. The film's producer Daniel Sadek provided his car collection for the film including a Phantom Rolls Royce, a Lamborghini Murcielago, an Enzo Ferrari, a Mercedes SLR McLaren, and most notable of all, a Porsche Carrera GT. 

Winner:

Death Proof
Special Guest Presenter: Star Wars Fanatic
Quentin Tarantino set out to deliver the best movie car chase ever - he may not have succeeded, but the result is still a glorious spectacle. The chase traces back to the roots of iconic car chases, which means the 20 minute scene is a gritty affair without the usage of infernal CGI. Even the chosen cars reflect this, by utilising the Dodge Charger from The Dukes of Hazzard and the Dodge Challenger from Vanishing Point. Whilst more impressive car stuntwork has been seen elsewhere, the chase succeeds for this very reason, and never strays to coming across as too absurd. Some may say the standout scene is the perilous stuntwork performed by the protagonist dangerously lingering across the bonnet of the speeding car, but for me it is the climactic highway scene. The imagery of the dueling old muscle cars merging, and smashing, with opposing modern day traffic cars is just sublime. Death Proof may not have been the greatest chase scene of all time, but it manages to be the greatest chase of this decade so far - which makes it the best chase since Ronin.  

Most Inventive Car Chase:

Filmmakers are constantly trying to reinvent the car chase by giving it a different spin. The nominees for this award are sequences that redefined audience's expectations about what a car chase is. The Nominees Are:

car chaseThe Invasion
Not often does one come across a chase in which the pursued vehicle is additionally impeded by having alien infected humans hanging off the car. It is also unusual that the pursuers not only come in the form of police cars but also an entire city of infected beings!

Live Free or Die Hard
Having a semi truck appear in a chase sequence usually brings something special, but it is quite another thing when its attempting to allude a jet fighter firing missiles at it. Enough said.

Shoot Em' Up
The car chase in Shoot Em' Up might have the bog standard vehicles chasing after each other but what makes this chase different is what Clive Owen's character does during the chase. He enters a vehicle below by jumping off a bridge, disarms a pursuing assailant by knocking him out by opening his car door, and flies through two windshields into the pursuing vehicle during a head on collision. 

Winner:

The Invasion 
Sci-fi thrillers are usually not the place where you would expect a car chase but when they do appear they usually stand out from the rest of the crowd. The pursuit sequence in The Invasion shows that all you need do to make a chase innovative is to have an imaginative premiss behind it.

Best DVD Release:

DVD Cover Art

2007 was not a good year for car chase film DVD releases. Few distributors went through their back catalogue to release car chase classics from the past that have yet to make it on DVD. However, there were a few notable releases that bucked the trend. The Nominees Are:

Death Proof
Most DVD extras are not worth watching but the 20 minute documentary Stunts On Wheels: The Legendary Drivers Of Death Proof definitely is. Not only do you get to observe the behind-the-scenes work that goes into making hair-raising stunts, you also get to hear Tarantino talk about his favorite car chase scenes from White Lightning to Vanishing Point.

Hot Rods to Hell
The release of this 1960s speedsploitation classic, long out of print, gave a chance for people to see the kind of grindhouse fare that inspired Tarantino to make Death Proof. Who can ask for more than watching fast cars and motor-psychos terrorizing an innocent family. 

Two-Lane Blacktop: Criterion Edition 
To be sure, Two-Lane Blacktop has come out before on limited DVD edition, most notably Anchor Bay's release that included a replica 1955 Chevy on a key chain. Yet nothing can top Criterion's release of the film which comes with Rudy Wurlitzer's screenplay, interviews with Monte Hellman and Kris Kristofferson, and an extra on the restoration of the '55 Chevy for the movie.

Winner:

Two-Lane Blacktop: Criterion Edition 
Some would argue that Two-Lane Blacktop is the greatest road movie ever. It is particularly appropriate then that it's available through Criterion, a distributor dedicated to releasing some of the best films ever made.

Most Destructive Chase Scene:

SemiOne of the main pleasures that pursuit sequences offer is the destruction that goes with the chase. Each year filmmakers try to outdo each other in the auto carnage department. 2007 was no different. The Nominees Are:
The Bourne Ultimatum
Although the car chase in The Bourne Ultimatum did not quite compare to its predecessor The Bourne Supremacy, winner of the 2004 VaRaces Chase of the Year, it made up for it in the sheer number of vehicles destroyed throughout the sequence. And the destruction starts right from the beginning of the sequence as Bourne drives an Audi off the top of a car park.

Live Free or Die Hard
A jet fighter firing missiles at a semi truck is bound to be destructive. But viewers did not expect to witness the wholesale demolition of a freeway in the process.

Redline
This film gained infamy for the destruction of exotic vehicles both behind and on screen. Auto enthusiasts around the world winced at the news of a Ferrari Enzo and a Porsche Carrera GT being trashed.

Winner:

Live Free or Die Hard
Special Guest Presenter: AndreTeh
Mr Willis is back and badder than ever! This chase easily kicks Bourne Ulimatum's butt for the simple reason that it has the greatest collateral damage in each of its chases than all of Ultimatum's chases combined! Seriously, let's do the math: We've got two knocked-over fire hydrants, several panes of glass and broken wire fences, one damaged toll booth (which served as a handy launch ramp for one of the most jaw-dropping stunts of the year), one wrecked helicopter, one crumpled cop car, one broken lift-shaft (with Maggie Q and SUV included), one obliterated fighter jet plane, one semi with its roof sheared off by bullets, a couple of destroyed overpasses, and a hundred zillion bajillion totaled civilian vehicles (from the gridlock, tunnel and fighter jet scenes), all wasted and blown to smithereens because of one man! Even if we weren't to count the secondary car action like the alley run and lift-shaft sequence, we would still have enough carnage in the two main chases to fill several summer blockbusters!

Best Driving:

car chase

Nothing elevates a good car chase more than the demonstration of expert driving skills. All of the major car chase releases of 2007 had great driving on show. The Nominees Are:

The Bourne Ultimatum
Car chases set in the busy congested streets of New York City, like The French Connection and The Seven Ups, tend to demand superior maneuvering skills while dodging traffic. The chase in The Bourne Ultimatum required equal skill.

Live Free or Die Hard
John McClane demonstrated his driving ability once again but this time in a semi truck. It's hard to avoid missiles being shot at when you are in a confined urban space along a freeway.

War
It is always difficult to navigate down busy city streets but even more so at night. The drivers in the car chase in War make it look easy.

The Winner:

War
Special Guest Presenter: AndreTeh
The point of being a good driver is not crashing, and the characters (and by extension, the stuntmen) in this San Francisco chase definitely fulfilled that requirement (at least till the end). Two of the best action movie stars from the East and West battle in two of the best cars from the muscle and exotic category (which makes for great contrast!). Not only do the cars swerve in and out of traffic like pugilistic butterflies (weird analogy), but at night with limited visibility too! The awesome soundtrack of pounding music and the roar of the engines are just the icing on this already intense pursuit. 

Best Game:

screenshot

With the gaming industry as big, if not bigger than the Hollywood film industry, the latest driving simulation game is met with the same anticipation as the release of a major car chase film. The competition between driving games in 2007 became even more intense. The Nominees Are:


Motorstorm
Special Guest Presenter: Star Wars Fanatic
Motorstorm was one of the best selling PS3 titles at launch - and what a launch title. The game is comprised of consistently intense off road racing action in an assortment of vehicles that doesn't only apply to cars. Bikes, trucks, ATVs and buggies also join in the action, which provides an endless variety of races - no race will ever be identical. Motorstorm would be an impressive title in its own right, but as a launch title it really shined in showcasing Sony's new console and is an experience that cannot be matched elsewhere.
Forza Motorsport 2 
The earlier version of Forza Motorsport, perviously reviewed in Varaces, set the standard for driving games when it came out. Forza Motorsport 2 sought to improve upon its predecessor through additional features, such as eBay-like car auctions. But the real attractions was the increased vehicle modeling and the superior handling.

Need For Speed Most: Pro Street
EA sought to revive its flagging Need For Speed franchise through its latest incarnation Pro Street. In this version, players compete in Race Days, which are set on abandoned airstrips, disused docks and stretches of barren desert, chase and racing settings that one would expect to see in a Hollywood film.

The Winner:

Forza Motorsport 2
The designers of Forza Motorsport 2 understand that the cars are the stars. Racing vehicles have increased detail, down to sponsor logos, with different vehicles exhibiting different handling traits. When it comes to driving games, Xbox still leads the way.

Best Racing Scene:racing scene

 2007 did not see the release of many racing films, be they about illegal street racing or out on the track. Two films though stood out in this category. The Nominees Are:

Redline
Returning to the now familiar terrain of illegal racing made popular with Fast and Furious franchise, but instead of portraying street racing culture amongst ethnic groups, the film focuses upon the exploits of bored billionaires. 

Ta Ra Rum Pum
A Bollywood film featuring NASCAR racing? Sounds unusual but such is the current trend in Bollywood in setting films in North America. At any rate, the racing scenes in Ta Ra Rum Pum have obvious influences from Days of Thunder.

The Winner:

Redline
Despite its dodgy story-line and the poor reception from film critics, Redline offered automotive enthusiasts a chance to see exotic sports cars racing each other at full speed.

Chase of the Year:

car chaseThis award goes to the best car chase sequence put to film in terms of execution, stuntwork, integration with story, innovation, and sheer destructiveness. Few car chases are strong in all areas. The best car chases are. The Nominees for the Chase of the Year Award for 2007:

The Bourne Ultimatum
Another classic pursuit sequence in the Bourne franchise and another major car chase set in NYC.

Death Proof
Tarantino's recreates the 1970s car chase film for contemporary audiences and offers one of the longest chase sequences in recent memory. 

The Invasion
One of the more innovative pursuits in a long time provides one of the most the unforgettable images in a car chase that of a vehicle completely covered by people.

Winner:

Death Proof
Some have disagreed with Tarantino's claim that the final pursuit sequence in Death Proof ranks amongst the top five of all time. But few would dispute that Tarantino has gone on to create a car chase especially designed for the appreciation of car chase fans. Be it the knowing references to the automotive classics of the past and the thought behind the selection of vehicles in the film, there can be no doubt that Death Proof was made by someone with a complete passion for car chase films. Ignoring the recent trend of using CGI for staging what would be dangerous stunts, Tarantino has shown that one can still make an engaging car chase using the tried and tested techniques of the past.

Worst Chase of the Year: Crash

New to the VaRaces Awards is the category for either the most disappointing chase or one that is the most poorly executed and ineptly staged. This award goes to the absolute car chase stinker. The Nominees Are:

Just Follow Law
Although one can forgive Singapore as not really being a country known for its pursuit sequences, the car chase in Just Follow Law is just downright laughable in a scene not intended to produce laughs.

Transformers
Transformers was one of the most anticipated films of 2007 amongst automotive fans given director Michael Bay's car chase pedigree. But apart from two very brief car chase scenes the film was a complete disappointment on the car chase front with Bay clearly having other things on his mind when staging the action sequences.

Winner:

Just Follow Law
What's with that shot of the car flying off the bridge? If one doesn't know how to integrate CGI shots with live action seamlessly, then just don't use them.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Person

DirectingBuddy Joe Hooker

Buddy Joe Hooker is arguably one of the most respected stuntmen working in the business who became famous by his expertise in staging automotive stunts for television and film. One look at his impressive stunting credits, often as stunt coordinator, explains why. These include: White Lightning (1973), White Line Fever (1975), King of the Mountain (1981), To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), The Wraith (1986), Days of Thunder (1990), The Chase (1990), Jade (1995), Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000), and most recently doubling as Stuntman Mike in Death Proof (2007). In the film Hooper (1978), the ultimate tribute to Hollywood stuntmen, Jan-Michael Vincent plays a stuntman whose character was loosely based on Hooker's real life exploits. In a scenario of life imitating art, Hooker was asked to act as stunt double for Vincent.

One could endlessly list Hooker's contributions to the car chase film as either stunt driver or stunt coordinator. His name is associated with some of the finest crash scenes brought to film - think of the final collision in Death Proof - and for that reason deserves this year's Lifetime Achievement Award.

 

Lifetime Acheivement Award: Vehicle

Dodge Charger
Dodge Charger

Few cars are as iconic as the Dodge Charger and perhaps no other vehicle best represents what a muscle car is all about. It first rolled out of the production line in 1966 and with its striking appearance and performance specifications, was soon being used in films, most famously in the car chase in Bullitt. Many experts have argued that there was no way in reality that the Ford Mustang in the chase could have kept up with a 1968 Charger R/T. Mustang enthusiasts debated such claims but the Charger would go one to make further notable appearances in car chase films such as Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry, The Fast and the Furious, and as one of Stuntman Mike's ‘death proof' vehicles in Death Proof. Yet what catapulted the Dodge Charger to international fame was its incarnation as the General Lee in The Dukes of Hazzard television series and movie spin-offs, a franchise dedicated to the showcasing of car chases. As a result, the General Lee became one of the most recognizable cars in the world and that is why this year's Lifetime Achievement Award goes to the Charger.