Love Those Chase Scenes
The pursuit. The hunter and the hunted. Chase scenes are the primal throb of thrillers. Our palms sweat, our hearts pound and our blood races as we revel in the chase, whether by foot, animal or machine.
A good chase scene not only will have action and suspense but will also reveal character. Put Keanu Reeves, Harrison Ford, or Steve McQueen on motorcycles and you’re going to have three very different scenes. Here are a few of my favorite cinematic chases.
Raiders of the Lost Ark. A legend for all time. From “Truck? What truck?” Indiana Jones overtakes the truck by horse, tosses a few bad guys off, is shot and is thrown out the front window. The look on his face when the hood ornament bends and cracks off is classic Indy. Before the scene is over, Indiana Jones makes his way under the truck and then uses his whip to be dragged behind the truck before climbing back on and regaining control.
The Italian Job. Most fun. Mini Coopers driven where no car dares to tread including the LA subway.
Return of the Jedi. Obstacle course. Luke and Leia race on flying speeder bikes through a dense forest with Storm Troopers smacking into trees.
Bourne Ultimatum. Wings on feet. Bourne’s breathtaking foot race across the roofs of buildings in Tangier makes one think he stole the god Mercury’s winged shoes.
Live Free or Die Hard. Best knock down. After being chased throughout DC, Bruce Willis’s John McClane takes out the pursuing helicopter with a car.
Live and Let Die. Spectacular boat chase. Have to list at least one James Bond movie. Gotta love speed boats peeling around the Louisiana bayou with one ending up in a pool and Bond leapfrogging in a boat over the redneck sheriff’s patrol car.
As an aside and on a lighter side, I also want to pay homage to the chase scene in What’s Up Doc? when Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal drive a Volkswagen Beetle down San Francisco’s famous ‘Lombard Street’. Hysterical.
What are your favorite chase scenes, whether cinematic or literary?