What I Learned from Movies: Car Chases

  1. All car in a chase will eventually run into an Italian fruit stand ominously parked in the middle of the road. This fruit stand is an omen of death and the proprietor is actually a minor demon; a minion of Lucifer set to test mankind’s will… and driving skills.
  2. Alternatively, two elderly identical men will be carrying a large pane of glass across the street without OSHA-approved gear. It is rumored that the glass industry is in a slump, and employees are required to listen to police radios for possible police chases. This gives them ample opportunity to sue for exorbitant insurance claims.
  3. All car car chases will at some point, venture through a narrow alley requiring drivers to either turn their cars at an angle to continue, or fire a Glock 27 at a dumpster, turning it into a single-use ramp.
  4. At some point, it will be necessary to drive at top speed on a crowded sidewalk, preferably through an outdoor café. The patrons of the café—their senses heightened by espresso and Brésiliennes—have cat-like reflexes and will roll and flip away from the oncoming vehicles with an agility that would put an Olympic gymnast to shame.
  5. Another omen appearing in the typical car chase is the elderly woman or blind man who crosses the street painfully slow, but timed perfectly to avoid being hit. These are in fact, large squirrels in the guise of old women.
  6. Midway through a car chase, the driver may tire of the drudgery of street after endless street and decide to off-road it a bit. There are two globally-approved methods of signaling to the other driver that it’s time for some unpaved action:
    1. Veer off the freeway unexpectedly on the one section of road where the embankment is missing
    2. Using the top of a parking structure as a ramp and careening into space. Best to land neatly on solid ground without damaging the suspension or breaking a tie rod.
  7. Leaning back in your seat will prevent you from being hit by enemy gunfire, as will ducking for a split second. Car doors are impervious to rounds up to .50 caliber and hand-held grenades.
  8. Audis are the fastest cars known to man and have up to 37 forward gears. They can and should be used in the War Against Terror, as they can withstand more abuse than an M1A Abrams tank.
  9. Crime-lords sitting in the rear seat of a vehicle can—and will—be shot to death during a high-speed pursuit. Attractive women in the same seat will miraculously escape unscathed. Something to do with the weight of their breasts counterbalancing the fabric of their slender, strapless gowns and the ratio of how much sheen their hair has. I think. It’s all very scientific.
  10. But the most important thing of all: no matter how old or smashed up the vehicle, brakes never fail in a car chase.

What have you learned from car chases in movies?


  1. Patrick

    Dibs on firsties! I think this list is fairly comprehensive. But you say these like they’re bad things. If others ask me to buy into all the crap they throw at me in kung fu movies, I’ll ask for the same suspension of disbelief in car chase scenes. Bullitt still rocks!

  2. Cobe

    I’ve learned that driving through a mall in a car chase and smashing everything in sight would be really cool.

  3. 11. No traffic jam, slow ass trucks or gereal a**holes at the wheel can stop our hero.

    12. Bridges in construction, roads closed and police blocks are no obstacles. In fact, the chased has to speed up.

    13. Police choppers are no problem, just drive near an airport: they will leave and drop their googles.

    13. Driving aganist the traffic flow in a highway is a must, either for the chased (bad guy o wrongly accused good guy escaping the law) and the others 12 police cars. Only minor scratches when leaving the highway.

    14. Unless good guys cars, that are indestructible (no matter how many bullets recieve or feet they have to jump), bad guys cars always explode.

  4. fruf

    all of the bad guys cars end up in the junk pile but the hero’s car looks pristine
    large block V-8’s in long chases and never run out of gas
    no tire has been shreded in one of the heros tires

  5. Mini Coopers are best for transporting stolen gold. The added weight will not slow them down.

  6. chainstay

    When the hero gets behind the wheel of a large public bus this bus will then outperform the Audi.

    Bad guys can unload 50,000 rounds at good guy and only scratch the paint. Conversely, one round from good guy will smash a window and kill a bad guy or blow the entire car to pieces.

    If an elderly squirrel is not available a slow woman pushing a stroller across the street will work. This woman will then stop in the road and gape at oncoming cars while they roar around her missing her by inches.

    If a car hits said stroller, the stroller will be full of old cans.

  7. A stalled car will start just in time for the good guy to put it in gear and get out of the way of the oncoming train.

    The world is your jump ramp. Be secure in the knowledge that the cops will only be able to get two wheels on the ramp, thus catapulting them in to a slow motion barrel roll. This works especially well in construction zones. While your car will deftly climb that mound of sand and land safely beyond the construction, the first chase car will plow right in to that same mound, only to be hit by the next three or four cars. If a car manages to get around the sand, it will end up in the hole that the sand was removed from.

    The lead cop in the chase will swerve to avoid the trash, the little old lady, the woman pushing the baby stroller, or the squirrel (I hate squirrels!) and will take out all but one of the chase cars behind him. The one lone car will slow down, drive around the carnage, and still be able to catch up to the hero within two or three city blocks.

    Running a red light at high speed: If you’re the hero, you will narrowly avoid all cross-traffic. If you’re pursuing the hero, you may survive that first light, but someone will take you out at the next one.

    Transport trucks and garbage trucks will always come out of alleys to interrupt any chase. Despite seeing the flashing red lights of a cop car, the truck driver will not back up. If he does, he will do it very, very slowly.

    The hero’s car will always outperform the chase vehicles. Even if it has less than half the horsepower of the other vehicles.

    At least one chase car will burst in to flames for no apparent reason.

    At least one chase car will end up on its roof. Typically after doing a slo-mo barrel roll.

    The hero’s car will hit oil drums, parked cars, drive through buildings, complete jumps that would make the Duke Boys jealous, and yet, will continue to work perfectly. If a chase car hits so much as a squirrel (I hate squirrels) or a speed bump, it will veer off the nearest embankment into a ravine, and burst into flames. That is, if it doesn’t do a barrel-roll and end up on its roof.

    After speeding through an alley, the hero’s car will manage to avoid pedestrians and other vehicles while making that 90 degree turn on to a busy main street.

    In the movies, even Dodges are reliable if driven by the hero.

  8. DaPopster

    No ,matter the road, paved, dirt, the tires always squeal.

  9. If you accidently drive onto a pier trying to escape from bad guys, simply drive off the end into the water… you’ll be able to escape the sinking car without being trapped or drowning! (The same is NOT true for bad guys.) And swimming underwater protects you from all gunfire too! Wherever you exit the water, it will be so far away from the bad guys that they won’t find you until the end reel.

    Also, driving off a cliff into the Grand Canyon ends the movie. Avoid it if possible.

  10. AlexBallew

    If the car chase is in San Francisco, it must go down Lombard street with its seven curves in one block.

  11. chainstay

    Is an Italian fruit stand one that is owned by an Italian or one that sells Italian fruit?

  12. When the hero evades his pursuers by going the wrong way down a highway there are never two oncoming cars driving side by side – so the hero can always get clean away just by making a few brisk swerves. (the first vehicle he meets head-on is always a truck and it always honks loudly)

    Sometimes badguys’ cars that careen off a high cliff mysteriously explode in mid-air thereby proving the scientific theory that gas tanks suffer from vertigo.

    Comic relief during a chase usually comes from the back seat and usually involves a short guy flailing around and yelling hysterically.

    The glass shopfront which one car frequently rams through to end the chase is always the perfect width for said vehicle. You’d think that by now, store owners would have cottoned on and narrowed their crystal facades or at least planted a bollard in the middle. Oh and make the back door to the shop a little harder to find/bolt through while you’re at it.

    If a van is implicated in the chase, some will end up hanging from one of the rear doors. It’s a fact of life.

    Hillbillies don’t have car doors, they have car windows y’all.

  13. Timm

    If no fruit stand is available a pile of empty cardboard boxes will provide a substitute.

    and why do cars that can’t have more than a few gallons of gas in their tanks explode as if they’re stuffed full of TNT?

Comments are closed