Greatest Car Chases In Science Fiction (Part 2)

Milla Jovovich's weird strappy leotard and crazy talk beguile Bruce Willis into helping her jet away from the cops in his flying taxi. He swerves through CGI tunnels at a breakneck pace. It's another one of the greatest car chases in science fiction, according to us as well as you, the readers. Click through for more hyperkinetic clips.


I wasn't able to include all of your suggestions in this list because I ran out of time. And I was already frantically sourcing clips from Fifth Element and Deja Vu when I posted part one yesterday. But this includes most of your suggestions as well as a few surprises:

The Fifth Element (1997). This is basically just an old-fashioned chase. You have a cop scanner-blocker instead of a radar-detector, and the cop cars have machine guns on their hoods. But then it ends in the traditional way, with Bruce scooting onto the train tracks and avoiding a freight train, which the cops crash into, spilling cartons onto their hood. You can practically hear the banjo music.

Deja Vu (2006). Denzel Washington is wearing a headset which lets him see four days into the past. He drives around looking at the past (night-time) through one eye, and the present (daytime) through the other. He's chasing the past movements of a terrorist who blew up part of New Orleans three days ago. And of course he wreaks major havoc in the present while he tries to chase a phantom from the past. It's an amazingly brilliant moment in an otherwise dull movie. Washington drives a Hummer H1 modeled on a real robot car, the H1ghlander. An autonomous robot car built by Carnegie Mellon for the 2005 DARPA challenge, the H1ghlander features LIDAR laser-ranging units, an intertial navigation system and SICK laser sensors. (I have no idea what SICK laser sensors are, but they sound hard-core.) Director Tony Scott used a Porche SUV with a special robot camera arm that can film at 180 MPH, for this sequence.

Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace
(1999). Because you demanded it, here's the pod-racing scene. Wacky aliens, goggles, funny zappy lightning running between the poles of the pod, zoomy video-gamey action. It's pretty kinetic, and one of the few moments in Menace that isn't bogged down by weird ethnic alien people talking too much, or grasshopper-headed fight robots fighting.

Matrix: Reloaded (2002). Sure, a lot of this movie felt like a powerpoint presentation about fate vs. free will and the meaning of something or other. But it was almost all worth it for the giant freeway pileup, where Neo and Trinity try to get the Keymaker to safety. The white-dredlock guys have guns that magically make the cars flip over, and then they can turn into carjacking ghosts. Meanwhile, Agent Smith can jump onto cars and smush/flip them without slowing down. Here's the clip:

Terminator 3 (2003). Like we said, cyborgs just make better car crashes. Every one of the Terminator films has an awesome car chase at some point. In the first movie, Arnie steals a cop car and tries to run Reese and Sarah down. In the second movie, the evil Terminator is in a giant tanker truck trying to run down the Connors' pickup truck, but Arnie jumps onto the tanker and manages to flip it over, so it skids on its side into a steel factory and bursts. But the best car-chase spectacle of all is in Terminator 3, where a female Terminator chases John Connor's van while Arnie follows on motorcycle. Oh, and half a dozen cop cars also try to catch John Connor. Laser hand-blasts, crane-street-fu, Arnie carjacking a firetruck after he gets splatted on the windshield... it's all pretty awesome.


Next (2007). Nicholas Cage plays Johnny Cadillac, who can see two minutes into the future and adjust his actions accordingly. As any normal person would, he uses this ability to drive really fast and lead the cops on a crazy-ass chase through the streets of Las Vegas. It's based on a Philip K. Dick story, so you know it has to be brilliant. Right?


Charlie Jane Anders

@StunGod: OK that's really really weird... As you can probably tell I made this clip from a cable TV showing of Fifth Element, since I don't have the DVD. Our clips can only be two min long, so I think I cut off the fast food window scene — but I'm pretty sure there was no McDonald's logo there either. Did the cable channel pay someone to block out all the McDonald's logos because McDonald's wasn't a sponsor? Weird.