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Car chases in movies: Bullitt, Terminator 2, Mad Max 2…

I’ve already talked about gun scenes in movies (From Scarface to Smokin’ Aces: the art of the gun scene), now it is about car chases in movies; it is not a genre by itself but some chases are classics. In my opinion, Bullitt (1968), with Franck Bullitt chasing the bad guys, up and down the steep hills of San Francisco for almost 8 minutes, features the greatest car chase put to film. Steve McQueen’s Mustang GT390 400 horse power was impressive and the final scene when the bad guys’ Dodge Charger in a crowning moment explodes into the gas station, made the perfect ending for the chase (although the final running chase onto the airport tarmac amidst the air planes taking off was also very good). But it’s not the only chase I remember having seen in a movie.

The first one was in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991). The Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) was trying to escape the T-1000 Terminator model by riding his motorcycle at full speed in Los Angeles River concrete encased urban waterway, young John Connor (Edward Furlong) sat between his legs, while they were almost caught by the fire explosion. Then I remember Thelma & Louise (starring Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon) in 1991 when their 1966 Thunderbird convertible plunged into the canyon. It was unexpected and I could feel this tremendous sense of freedom. There is also The Blues Brothers (1980) with Jake and Elwood Blues and their 1974 Dodge Monaco in downtown Chicago (and through the shopping mall). Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, the best of the 3 Mad Max movies with stunts and chases all along. I enjoyed the post-apocalyptic future with almost no more gasoline (sounds familiar…); plus, I was dubbed Mad Max during a Poker party (I don’t know if I should be flattered or not by this kind attention, all I know is I won the game).

The French Connection (1971) is one of my favorite movie, I already mentioned it here. Popeye Doyle (Gene Hackman) chases an elevated subway train at 90 mph in the streets of New York; many of the stunts were unintentional, as well as several unplanned collisions (some bystanders clearly didn’t know anything about the chase going on…). The film won 5 Oscars, it’s a classic in the genre and it was produced by Philip D’Antoni, who also produced Bullitt. Most recently, I watched Grindhouse/Death Proof and once again, Quentin Tarantino surprised me. The same way I was thrilled by the storyline of From Dusk till Dawn when it switched from a thriller movie to a vampire action one, Death Proof starts slowly and then gradually, the girls (kudos to Zoe Bell!) finally take the power over Stuntman Mike and his 1969 Dodge Charger after an amazingly long chase. Neat. By the way, did you notice Stuntman Mike’s Chevy Nova license plate?

But there are a slew of other films with great chase scenes, such as The Fast and the Furious (2001), Ronin (1998), Taxi (1998), Gone in 60 Seconds (1974 original version)… I like cars and I like action movies, so the perfect crossover is car chases in movies.

The idea of this post came after a friend living in California called me a few days ago and asked me if I would accept to samaze -drawing my Sama characters on- his new car. I usually don’t samaze cars nor I do it on request, so I was curious to know what kind of car could convince me to change my mind. Then he told me he placed his Highland Green 2008 Bullitt order last year (in November) with his local dealer, and that he was now expecting his car to be delivered by May.

So maybe in the next few months, the first Bullitt Mustang ever Samazed will be made. I will wait until he gets his car, then I hope I could give it a try and see if I get inspired. Stay tuned. Meanwhile be careful on the road. Or play Burnout Paradise on X360 ^_^

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