I’m going to start off by saying that I love action flicks; my girlfriends and I giddily chat about the newest 2 Fast and 2 Furious Drift x 5 (that’s the official title, right?) trailer, I scrambled to sign up for the Action in Cinema class in college before it got filled up with those boys who think that Die Hard is a classic right up there with Citizen Kane (OK, I kind of agree with them), and I often do work while casually watching 300 in the background. Done right, the action film offers up the perfect amount of drama, one-liners, tension, and, of course, adrenaline-pumping action.
That being said, there’s one thing that irks me the most about this wonderful genre: The car chase. Look, I’m not daft, I know that there’s a 99.9 percent chance that there will be a car chase through a busy street at some point in an action film, but after seeing it done over and over again, it’s lost the nail-biting edge that it used to have. When it came out in 1968, Peter Yates’ Bullitt freaked everyone out with its windy car chase through the streets of San Francisco. But now? The audience knows what’s going to happen: The police think that our hero is a bad, bad man. They will proceed to chase him through some busy street. There will be close calls, but the hero will outsmart them because the film must go on!
But in real life, a car chase through a busy downtown area is next to impossible. A Los Angeles highway late at night? Sure. I remember when I first moved to L.A. from New York, I was amazed that there were actual car chases on the news several times a week. They always got caught, but for a few minutes, perhaps even an hour, some schmuck would do 100 down the empty 110 at midnight hoping to get away. That is believable. Going record speeds and managing to escape the po-po in New York, London, or even downtown L.A.? Nope. Not happening. Have you seen what happens during rush hour? It’s hard enough for me to squeeze onto the subway let alone pass my car through nonexistent openings in lanes. It would also take about five seconds for a cab driver to crash into you.
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