There’s almost always constant debate about the best car-chase movies of all time. Some of the classics like Bullitt or Vanishing Point are starting to be considered overrated and some of the underdogs like Bourne Supremacy and Ronin are gaining some real popularity. Personally, the latter has always been one of my all time favorites and I never really had a taste for the old classics. However, I think I have a new favorite and it’s a movie that needs to be added to everyone’s list of great car-chase movies — Mission Impossible: Fallout.
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You might be thinking, “That movie came out a year ago. Why are you writing about this now?”. Well, I’ve been a new parent for the past year, which means that get to watch a movie about as often as I see a lunar eclipse. So I just watched Mission Impossible: Fallout last night, on my laptop in bed, at 1AM. And I’m glad I finally got around to it because the main car chase scene is one of the best I’ve ever seen. Maybe even the very best.
It’s not just because it features a BMW, either. It’s because it has everything a great car chase scene needs and then some. It has unique cars, practical effects, realistic driving, realistic engine noises, superb cinematography and masterful stunt work by none other than Tom Cruise himself.
Without spoiling the movie for anyone (for those of you like me, who rarely get the time to watch movies), the main car chase scene involves Ethan Hunt [Tom Cruise] driving an beautiful faded green E28-generation BMW 5 Series through Paris, being chased by a baddie. Cruise did all of his own stunt driving (and all of his own stunts in general), including an incredible reverse e-brake turn down a small flight of stairs while shifting into first gear mid-air. According to the director Christopher McQuarrie and the stunt team, Cruise did all of that himself and nailed it. He’s apparently an excellent driver.
The crashes are realistic, the damage done to the cars stays consistent (without magically disappearing like in some other movies) and the chase driving doesn’t seem coordinated. It seems real, organic and improvised.
It’s also thrilling, as tensions are as high as the stakes. In fact, the entire movie is tense and thrilling, with some of the best action sequences and set pieces ever put on screen. There’s an early fight scene in a public bathroom and a cliff-side scramble for survival, among others, that are both sensational. But the standout of the movie is the car chase in the E28 5 Series.
There are some really great car chase movies and you can now add Mission Impossible: Fallout to the list. Hell, it might even top them all.