HAVE HOLLYWOOD MOVIES PRODUCED BETTER CAR SCENES IN THE 2010s?
Have the car scenes improved from the days of Bullitt to Gone in Sixty Seconds? Let's find out.
Whether you enjoyed watching Steve McQueen's chase scene from Bullitt or Nicolas Cage power sliding 1967 Shelby GT500 Eleanor, it's always a pleasure for a car enthusiast to see some of their favorite cars on the big screen. The Hollywood industry has produced some of the best car scenes in the last 30-50 years. From classics like Bullitt, Dukes of Hazard, Back to the future, Days of Thunder, The Man with the Golden Gun, The French Connection to 21st-century movies like Gone in 60 seconds, Italian Job, The Transporter, etc. But what about the last decade? Has Hollywood improved with time and produced better all-round car scenes and movies? Allow me to feature some of my personal favorite movies which I feel like had one of the best car scenes in the past decade.
Man do I get excited whenever I see movies like Baby Driver! I'm a fan of pseudo musical movies and Edgar Wright certainly didn't disappointed in this movie. Also, I'm a fan of his movies, Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgrim vs the World. I had high hopes before watching Baby Driver and needless to say, I wasn't disappointed at all. This movie is cinematography genius at it's finest. Baby Driver is pretty much a pseudo-musical-action-thriller-romcom movie if you look at it. All the soundtracks used in the movie are unique and they all have their purpose in the movie. The editing of this movie is top-notch in all honesty. The soundtrack flows with the action scene we are seeing due to the fact that the songs are incorporated in a particular manner. Jamie Foxx, John Hamm, Kevin Spacy, and Jon Bernthal had very charismatic performances. The only disappointing part would be the second part of the movie which felt quite slow to me due to the fact that the romance between Baby and Debora feels quite weak and doesn't make me feel invested in their story. Which is a concerning matter as it's the major part of the movie! Also, Debora making life-altering decisions like to uproot her entire life and run away with Baby when she had only known him for a week shows how dumb Debora is as a character.
The starting chase scene is probably my favorite out of all the car scenes in the last decade. I'm a fan of 80s and 90s music(Thank you James Gunn for making me realize that!) and the fact that the entire six-minute chase scene was incorporated in a way that the entire scene was flowing with the song 'Bellbottoms' left a huge smile on my face. The entire scene is perfectly orchestrated to Bellbottoms played over the top. From the door slams to the character introduction, everything is in tempo in this beautiful scene. The entire starting scene has no dialogue at all, which makes you even enjoy the scene more altogether. If you're someone who enjoys the 80s-90s music, you surely will enjoy this car scene even more.
Jack Reacher is a 2012 American action thriller film, written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, based on Lee Child's 2005 novel One Shot.When a former US Army sniper, James Barr(Joseph Sikora), is accused of killing five people, Jack Reacher(Tom Cruise), a former Military Police officer, takes it upon himself to investigate the case along with Helen Rodin(Rosamund Pike). Jack Reacher is an awesome action-thriller movie in all honesty. The fight scenes, the car chase, the shooting scenes, everything is intense in this movie. It's almost like this movie has a real sense of some fright and some realism to the majority of the events that happen in the movie. Meanwhile, Tom Cruise is just straight up ruthless in this movie. He's aloof, piercing, and not the Tom Cruise we often see in other movies. If he doesn't like you in this movie, you're probably dead by now. And this movie also has my favorite Tom Cruise line of all time. F's in the chat for the lady in the bar fight scene.
This car chase is just simply beautiful when you look at it. Not a single dialogue, no music track. Just the sound of a 1970 Chevelle SS doing power slides and taking heavy damage performed by none other than Mr. Tom Cruise himself. Staying true to his roots, Tom was actually the driver in the scene, no trick photography or whatsoever. Tom Cruise doesn't need any stunt drivers. He gets things done on his own. And I guess that's what makes Tom Cruise the most alpha male actor in Hollywood currently. No green screen, no stunt driving, just the actor actually driving the car. There's even an improvised scene where Tom actually slides the car and slams it to the water barrier which results in the car stalling out while performing an exit from a tunnel. Car chases that aren't full of fast cuts cobbled together are rare to see and that too when an actor is actually driving the car instead of having a stunt driver.
Nightcrawler is a 2014 American thriller film written and directed by Dan Gilroy. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Louis "Lou" Bloom, a stringer who records violent events late at night in Los Angeles and sells the footage to a local television news station. A common theme in the film is the symbiotic relationship between unethical journalism and consumer demand. Jake Gyllenhaal absolutely kills it in this movie with his insane performance. For me, I didn't see Jake Gyllenhaal performing a role, I saw a character in this movie. And when an actor is able to accomplish that feat, he/she deserves all the recognition for their work. It's not only Jake's performance that was fabulous, the script, the directing is so brilliant that you are rooting for someone who is doing terrible things.
For a thriller/crime movie, this is one quality chase scene. Lou Bloom is chasing a police chase in a Dodge Challenger. The entire chase scene is well crafted considering how realistic and chilling the scene is. There are no soundtrack, just a pure chase scene, and dialogues. Considering how much of a method actor Jake Gyllenhaal is, I was surprised to know that Jake is actually performing all his driving in the movie. What a great performance! What a great scene! What a great movie!
Need For Speed(2014)
Firstly, seeing Aron Paul perform stellar drifts on a Mustang was definitely a bit weird and secondly, I know that this movie might be the weakest when you compare it to the other awesome movies on my list, but this movie probably has one of the best driving in all of the car scenes. This movie has some amazing car scenes, there is no denying that. From classic cars street racing to Toby Marshall performing powerslides in a customized Mustang to hypercars racing each other, this movie was a delight for any car freak. But the action sequences can't alone make the movie worth the watch. Need For Speed continued the trend of video games made into movies, but sadly the trend has been deeply disappointing.
Needless to say, the car chases in this movie are probably the best part of this movie. For this list, I choose the scene where Tobey Marshall is gaining attention in order to make into the race to defeat Dino while also making sure he reaches the destination in time. It was hard to choose just one scene from this movie because almost all the car scenes are really really good. But this Mustang scene makes the cut for me. The car chase in this scene was fantastic, practical, in-camera stunt work, no CGI. And I was particularly happy by the fact that the film at least acknowledges the fact that the Mustang needs a fuel refill after doing drifts, ramp jumps, and more drifts. (I'm looking at you F&F). Great job by the stunt drivers for the thrilling action scenes.
Rush is a 2013 biographical sports film centered on the Hunt–Lauda rivalry between two Formula One driver, the British James Hunt and the Austrian Niki Lauda during the 1976 Formula 1 motor-racing season. Rush is directed by Ron Howard. James Hunt, often called 'Hunt the Shunt' and Niki Lauda often called 'The Rat' share a developing rivalry which is portrayed wonderfully by the actors Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl. This movie brings joy to every F1 fan out there as the Hunt-Laude rivalry is one of the most debated F1 rivalries of all time. As the movie progresses we get to see how these two characters mature over time and push each other's limits. The characters, the script, the dialogues are very well written and makes me wanna care for both of the characters at times. Though some liberties were taken out from the true story between these two racers which pretty much happens in almost every movie which is based on a true story. Nevertheless, Hanz Zimmer's score is always pleasing to the ears.
For this list, I choose the final race, the 1976 Japan Grand Prix where James Hunt wins his world championship. This racing scene is intense as it's the battle for who becomes the world champion. The 1976 Japanese Grand Prix was one ugly race. The rain was too heavy and the race should have probably called off, considering the cars were less safe back then. Despite the rain continuing to fall, the race organizers decided to start the race after a delay of nearly two hours. They chose to do so because they did not want to lose money from the television contracts if the race was canceled. To complicate things, Lauda's tear ducts had been damaged by fire during the horrific crash at the German Grand Prix earlier in the season. His healing injuries left him unable to blink and his eyes were watering excessively during the race. This complication from his injury, combined with the rain, caused him to retire himself from the Japanese Grand Prix after two laps, as he felt it was unsafe to continue. The championship was ultimately won by James Hunt as he managed to finish third in the Japanese Grand Prix. Needless to say, the racing scene was thrilling to watch, from the Ferrari 312t and the McLaren M23s revving their engines while spitting out flames to seeing the shots of a piston-cylinder to a slow-motion shot of the start of the Japanese Grand Prix, this racing scene was thrilling all in all and for sure a treat for every F1 fan out there.
Before you start berating me for featuring a Micheal Bay movie, just hear me out, I agree with you! But, slightly not. Jeremy Jahns defined this movie the best in my opinion, "6 Underground is like snorting cocaine while chugging a keg of red bull up your ass". If I'm being honest, I'm not surprised by the fact that no one likes this movie, even I was thinking halfway throughout this movie that did I purchase a Netflix account to see this type of content? Just like any other typical Micheal Bay movie, 6 Underground also had the true stars of any other Bay production, the spinning camera shots, fast cars, destruction in the streets of famous cities, Military, Army or Navy is involved, Slow-motion low-angle 360-degree shots, destroying cars, destroying cars, and uh, destroying cars.
But that doesn't mean the entire movie was a disappointment. See, for us car enthusiasts, the opening scene was especially rewarding as we got to see a neon green Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio in action. And not only that, we get to see Ryan Reynolds do what he's best at. Shout at other people with unique jokes, and one-liners. The Giulia chase scene was pretty fun to watch in all honesty as seeing a bright Neon Green Alfa Romeo in the streets of Florence, Italy do drifts, run over people, almost kill puppies, and making nuns show their middle finger is a sight to behold.
Before writing this article, I promised myself that I won't feature any F&F movies but I just can't help but admit to the fact that this is probably the only F&F movie that I would ever include in my article. And I am including this movie. Damn, so brave of me! In all honesty, though, this movie was fun, fast-paced and the way how the characters interact with each other is entertaining. This movie literally set the blueprint for every upcoming F&F movie ever, by featuring cross-overs. The movies before Fast Five were all criticized(the new ones are even more criticized) and failed to land a mark on the box office, but the Fast Five was the movie that broke the barrier and actually made an F&F movie enjoyable as a movie to watch.
For this list, I choose the vault heist scene from the movie where Dom and Brian steal the vault containing $100 million from the Police Station along with the help of none other than Hobbs, and Elena in a freaking Gurkha. The blacked-out modified Dodge Chargers looks mean as hell and is certainly rocking a lot of horsepower under the hood as taking out a vault from a wall isn't a task that any stock car could do. Who am I kidding here, stock car in an F&F movie, haha! Fun fact, the vault used in the heist scene is an actual 9,000 lb vault. This vault scene is a complex scene if you look at it from a stunt coordinator's perspective, that's why I would recommend watching the Fast Five's stunt coordinators break down the vault car chase scene. It's a really detailed video explaining all the behind-the-scenes things that happen in a heist scene like this one. For an F&F movie, Fast Five was a fresh breath of air and the action scenes certainly did not disappoint at all. Though, one thing that still concerns me is that how come can Brian upshift the charger when the car is still in reverse ???????????????? I guess that's just F&F things!
John Wick: Chapter 2(2017)
John Wick: Chapter 2 is a 2017 American neo-noir action-thriller film directed by Chad Stahelski and written by Derek Kolstad and is the sequel to the 2014 film, John Wick. The whole John Wick franchise is one of the most unique franchises of the past decade. The fight scenes are always amazing, the car scenes are phenomenal and Keanu Reeves is just elegant in this whole franchise. In the starting scene of chapter 2, John is out to take what's his, a beautiful 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1. He doesn't care whoever stands in the way of his Mustang, he's angry, he's mad, and he's out for revenge! The pencil fight scene is hands down my favorite fight scene in this movie.
The opening scene reuniting with his Mach 1 Mustang, and man does it look sexy! One hell of a spec. If you compare this car scene to the other car scenes in this list, this one is probably the most unique and the most brutal one yet. John Wick doing handbrake slam in his Mach 1 Mustang on a thug is just straight-up diabolical. The action sequences in the scene are well directed, fight scenes were dope, cuts were minimum, no heavy CGI scenes. However, the Mustang breaking it's each and every part was tough to watch. There's actually a scene breakdown as the John Wick 2's Stunt Coordinator Breaks Down the Opening Car Chase. Great video for someone who is interested in knowing the behind the scenes of how an action sequence is produced.
Mad Max: Fury Road(2015)
Mad Max: Fury Road is a 2015 Australian post-apocalyptic action film co-written, co-produced, and directed by George Miller. It follows Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy), who joins forces with Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) to flee from cult leader Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) and his army in an armored tanker truck, leading to a lengthy road battle. This movie rightfully deserves to be one of the best action movies ever made. It also rightfully deserves every recognition it received such as the multiple directing and technical achievements, and ten Academy Award nominations at the 88th Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and won the most awards of the ceremony with six awards for Costume Design, Production Design, Makeup and Hairstyling, Film Editing, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing. Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron were fantastic in the action sequences that were out of this world!
This particular scene was such a staggering piece of film making. From the custom truck to car flips to Charlise Theron hanging out of a door to blast the thugs like a badass. Did I mention the guy playing an electric guitar on the top of a heavily customized truck shooting flames from the top of his guitar? Nevertheless, all the cars featured in the movie were cofounding, and it was nice to see the infamous Interceptor once again.
Ford vs Ferrari(2019)
Ford v Ferrari (titled Le Mans '66 in some European territories) is a 2019 American sports drama film directed by James Mangold and stars Christian Bale and Matt Damon as the main lead. The movie is about Ford Motor Company teaming up with Caroll Shelby and Ken Miles to compete against the race cars of Enzo Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 1966. This movie is a joy to every racing fan out there. Christian Bale nails the role of Ken Miles further showcasing why he is one of the few actors who can still disappear into a role. The chemistry between Miles and Shelby is beautifully portrayed by Bale and Damon. The car scenes in this movie is surreal and staggering and feature legendary cars like the Ford GT40 Mark II, Ferrari 330 P3, Porsche 906 LH, Ferrari 275 GTB/C, Corvettes ranging from 1956-1963, Slam Slide Cobra. By the way, If you're someone who has an interest in sound editing and sound mixing, you should check out this video of Ford v Ferrari sound editors explaining the mixing sound for the film.
This particular scene I choose for this list is the scene where it is GO BIG OR GO HOME for Shelby's team as Miles has to win the Daytona race in order to get a seat for the 24 hr Le Mans race. This race scene is intense, amazing, gives you the chills and the sound editing is amazing, all in all, a very good racing scene. I remember watching this movie in theaters as I forced my non-car friends to watch this movie and after watching this scene, they were like, "that was insane, I had goosebumps throughout the scene!". Whereas, Matt Damon holding the sign '7000+ GO LIKE HELL' is probably the most Matt Damon thing ever. Granted, CGI was used and there is some decent amount of liberties taken in this movie, which happens like in almost every movie which is based on a true story, this film is still worth a watch for showcasing one of the most ferocious battles in the history of car racing, FORD VS FERRARI. Fun fact, as you can see in the movie that Ken finishes in style by defeating Leo Bebe's driver with a close finish line battle, that never actually happened in real life. In fact, it was actually the co-driver Llyod Ruby who won the race, by five freaking laps and was the driver who was actually driving at the end of the race, not Ken. Needless to say, the ending of this epic car battle is thrilling by all means, It even made Jon Bernthal say, "How about that!".
So there you have it folks, these are some of the movies which I believe were movies that had one of the best car scenes in the 2010s. If you feel like I missed out on any other movies, do let me know about it and also let me know about how you feel about my list.