Chases are a staple of the action movie; they’ve been making them since the silent days. They’re probably at their most popular when they take the form of a car chase. This award, however, reaches beyond the mere car chase and looks at a wide spectrum of chase scenes including foot chases, motorcycle chases, ariel chases, and if they invent any other kind of chase that will be eligible too.
- Ferry Chase- The Ghost Writer: Movie chases are often characterized by speed, and in that category this foot chase probably wouldn’t really stack up. But there’s more to a great chase than that, and in this case it’s all about staging. This is a neat little cat and mouse chase through a ferry in the harbor which leads to an escape the way the hero came. This is a chase to see who’s the smartest, while also fitting well with the paranoid tone of the movie.
- Chase Through Bagdad- Green Zone: Beginning with a nice little scuffle following a harsh interrogation, this scene has Matt Damon rushing into the streets trying to chase down and hopefully capture the Iraqi general who might be able to prevent the insurgency. There’s a lot going on here: helicopters monitor it with cool dot things over the people’s heads, a chopper gets shot down, there’s a race against another pursuer, etc. Greengrass uses his signature style to form a really cool footchase.
- Escape- Salt: Highway overpasses have long been an important part of chase scenes and Salt has one of the better stunts involving the structures. This begins as a typical little footchase, but once Salt jumps off of an overpass onto the top of a moving semi-truck all bets are off. What follows is some cool stuntwork and eventually a jump onto a motorcycle. It’s like a (slightly) more realistic version of the chase from The Matrix Reloaded.
- Armored Car Robbery- The Town: The best car chases tend bring out aspects of a city they’re located in. The Bullitt chase emphasizes San Francisco’s Hills, The French Connection emphasizes NYC’s transit system, To Live and Die in L.A. emphasized L.A.’s freeways, etc. Boston’s main automotive legacy are a series of old, narrow, un-navigable roads and this chase emphasizes the claustrophobia of trying to have a car chase in Beantown. Either way it has a cool explosion and ends with a pretty sweet little joke.
- Lightcycles- Tron: Legacy: One of the most memorable parts of the original Tron was the introduction of things called lightcycles: CGI motorcycles that left a trail of… laser stuff… behind it as it as it drove around in a gladiator like arena. They were also kind of creepy the way they robotically turned at right angles. Computers aren’t creepy anymore, they kick ass, and so can the new glowing lightcycles which turn in any direction they wants.