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Drive Angry 3D Movie Pros Pick their Top 10 Car Chase Scenes

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author photo by Autotrader February 2011

In the upcoming Nicolas Cage film, Drive Angry, his character Milton escapes from hell to stop the gang that murdered his daughter from murdering his granddaughter (Amber Heard). The 3D film, out nationwide February 25, has an over-the-top plot with a ton of action, most of which takes place in fantastic car chases.

In honor of making the first 3D car-chase movie, Drive Angry’s director/writer Patrick Lussier and writer Todd Farmer compiled a list of their favorite chase scenes from movies. Here’s their list of the top 10.

Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (1974)

“Near the climax of this film, Peter Fonda, Susan George and Adam Roarke are desperately trying to flee police captain Vic Morrow. What’s amazing in this is the helicopter-to-car action that was clearly actually done. Long before CG was even thought of, the stunt performers and actors are driving at unbelievable speeds. What’s more incredible is that in several shots it is clearly the actors themselves behind the wheel with the helicopter perilously close, and several shots of Vic Morrow in the front seat of the chopper are terrifying as it flies ever closer to Peter Fonda’s Charger.” - Patrick

The Bourne Identity (2002)

“Every so often the Bond films will lose their way, thus thank goodness for Jason Bourne. Not only due to the brilliant Krav Maga hand-to-hand sequences but the car chases are stunning. Raw and real. The perfect blend of old school and new. As far as I’m concerned, Identity modernized the car chase. It reminded me that a car chase can still be thrilling and fun even within a digital, wifi world.” - Todd

Ronin (1998)

“The sequence where Robert DeNiro leads a team to find a box of ‘unspecified content’ is complete nailbaiting adrenalin. This was the first R-rated film I took my son to when he was 10. He loved it! Watching this through my own eyes was incredible enough, but seeing my boy transfixed by the relentless pace, the near misses and the perilous chase that winds through narrow European streets at such velocity was an absolute blast. For a long time this was his favorite film. John Frankenheimer had directed so many incredible action films, from Grand Prix to The Train, and my personal favorite, The Manchurian Candidate (though definitely not strictly an action film). I had the great fortune to work briefly with Frankeheimer, who reclaimed the height of his directorial game with Ronin.” - Patrick

Road Warrior(1981)

“The final chase scene never stops the movie. Its relentless pace and body count leave it as likely the best chase sequence ever put to film. The intensity of the chase is matched by the insanity of the hand-to-hand and vehicle-to-vehicle combat that ensues. The last moments, when Max is clawed to his seat as the tanker finally succumbs to physics and tips over, is a breathless moment.” - Patrick

Smokey and the Bandit/Cannonball Run/The Blues Brothers(1977, 1981, 1980)

“Some viewers have been surprised by the humor in Drive Angry. But that was always the plan. While Drive Angry is serious but with some laughs, Smokey and Cannonball deliver a perfect blend of high-speed chases and laughs. Then you have The Blues Brothers at the other end of the spectrum where even the car chases are so over the top they become a Chuck Jones cartoon.” - Todd

Bullitt/The Seven-Ups(1968, 1973)

“You have to credit these chase scenes together. They have the same basic structure, both chases start in the city – Bullitt in San Francisco and The Seven-Ups in Manhattan – and end on the highway outside of town. In both instances the heroes (Steven McQueen and Roy Scheider, respectively), chase two men in one car, the passenger literally driving shotgun. And in both chases, the driver of the pursued vehicle is the same driver/actor stunt man, Bill Hickman. Hickman not only drove and acted in both these sequences but also drove much of the car/train chase in The French Connection. If you examine the chases from Bullitt and The Seven-Ups, you can map out, almost beat for beat, many similarities of overall structure. And while there are differences throughout, the key one is in how each chase ends. Bullitt ends spectacularly with the villains driving into a gas station and exploding into a massive fireball while Steve McQueen watches from across the road. The Seven-Ups ends with Scheider getting forced into the back end of a (conveniently) parked semi trailer. He narrowly avoids getting his upper torso sheared off along with the roof of his Nova as metal tears under metal in a jaw-dropper of a stunt.” - Patrick

The French Connection (1971)

“This is likely the car chase of all car chases. And it’s a car chasing an elevated train. The almost documentary grit of the entire film is centerpunched in this pivotal sequence where Gene Hackman’s character is chasing after an escaping suspect on board the train. Hackman’s character wheels through traffic, both auto and pedestrian at such high speed, with such reckless disregard, you can’t help but be unnerved. Scoreless, the sequence is set against squealing tires and panicking sounds of passersby to chilling effect. If you ever wanna shoot a car chase, this is the sequence to watch.” – Patrick

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Drive Angry 3D Movie Pros Pick their Top 10 Car Chase Scenes - Autotrader