The thing I love most about movie car chases (or any other vehicle chases), is you know it's dangerous from the jump. You know plowing down a main street or whipping through traffic at 90+ miles an hour has a huge element of risk. One false move and you fly from the car, you hit someone, you are hit, you crash into something, and on and on.
These chases are intense with heart stopping moments especially as you watch a car sail over something or someone or fly through something. The best ones put you right in the action, inside the car, at wheel level, or make you the ultimate spectator for something that there will be definite losers and winners in. It takes a physical street fight and makes it mobile, more dangerous, faster, and crazier. Here are a few of my favs in no particular order.
1. Mad Max: Fury Road
This re-make takes a classic and amps it up to epic proportions. Say what you will about how true or not, or how much homage this paid to the original, when you saw this race through the desert, you were undoubtedly blown away. Clearly the budget was spent in the right places. What more could you want with some of the most creative post apocalyptic vehicles, costumes, explosions, and gun play, speeding down the hot sands. This film "is" the car chase.
2. The Matrix Reloaded
You're told never get on the freeway. It's open season on anyone who tries, but being forced into the situation, it's guns, it's beings that can morph directly into your car, it's car crashes, and flips, it's motorcycles. It's amazing.
3. Bad Boys II
This is sort of that classic pedal to the metal road battle. Cops vs. the bad guys, hitting the main streets, and letting the road and everyone and everything in it, decide who's king.
4. The Dark Knight
Most villains on the hunt for you could be considered insane, but I think the Joker takes the cake for actually "being" insane, and when crazy is after you, literally anything goes. I love this chase for the innovative car to motorcycle transformation of the bat mobile, and for the truck flip that was, if you see the BTS, done for absolutely real.
5. The Hitcher
Another remake, this 2007 version of the 1986 classic should once and for all, if you still had any doubts, convince you never to pick up hitchhikers. Winter is definitely coming as two college kids nearly run into "The Hitcher's," Sean Bean who has an absolute lust for killing. Cops, children, helicopter pilots...just about anyone who gets in his way. He obsessively and most violently car stalks the young Jim and Mary in an attempt to implicate them in a murder he's done. The film should be called relentless. I do have to tip my hat to the 1986 version on this one, but I also have to give it up for Sean Bean who is the personification of disturbing behind wheels, face to face, everywhere in this film.
6. Grindhouse Death Proof
Mike is a body double who likes to pick up women, and then take them for a ride in his rigged up, souped up car, which he's designed to kill them. He's easily done so without much interference until he f's with the wrong women who decide they want vengeance. What ensues is an epic car chase complete with cars and bodies flying in and out of the cars.
7. The Blues Brothers
I like this one for the pure level of destruction caused by the Blues Brothers and the cops at their heels.
This has just about every movie car chase cliche in it from construction workers in the road, to hitting the old fruit stand, to pedestrians all amazingly athletically trained to dive out of the way of a vehicle they didn't know was coming, but I love it. The action is great. I love the cars whipping around corners and flying up and down hills.