Grind House (Death Proof)

Speed (1994)

Okay, fine. Technically, this is a bus and not a car, but if anyone can accomplish the impossible – like jumping a gap in the unfinished L.A. freeway or making it onto this list with a technicality – it’s Keanu Reeves. After receiving a medal for taking down a bomber, L.A. SWAT officer Jack Traven discovers the bomber is still alive and ready for vengeance and has placed a bomb on a city bus, which will explode if it goes slower than 50 MPH. So Jack hops on the bus, Sandra Bullock becomes an impromptu bus driver after a criminal on board shoots the driver and, oh yeah, they have to jump a gap on an unopened and unfinished section of the goddamn freeway. On paper, Speed sounds a little ridiculous but it’s still a solid action film and, despite what Mythbusters says, the bus jump is still a thrilling, hold-your-breath moment to remember.

Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000)

To his credit, Nicolas Cage is one of the first actors that comes to mind when you think about accomplishing the impossible and the incredulous in film. Only he could steal the Declaration of Independence and only he could pull off this incredible, gravity-defying jump across traffic on the Vincent Thomas Bridge. The film is a loose remake of a 1974 H.B. Halicki film of the same name, although, to its credit, the original features a forty-three minute car chase scene, climaxing with a real car jump performed without CGI or a gas-driven catapult. For the remake, Eleanor – originally a 1973 model – becomes a 1967 Shelby Mustang GT 500 and a fair bit of CGI was necessary to propel her through the air. However, Cage did most of the driving stunts himself and he still owns one of the replica Eleanor cars from the film. Side note: the best bit of trivia associated with this movie, according to IMDB, is that some Greek theaters translated the title to Come in Sixty Seconds. Ouch.

Death Proof (2007)

Look, I know. I’m supposed to pick Zoë Bell clinging to the hood of a Challenger while Stuntman Mike knocks the car around and – as only Kurt Russell can – shouts things like “Get ready to fly, bitch!” And it’s definitely a killer sequence made even more awesome by the fact that yes, Zoë Bell really was clinging to the hood of the car because she’s a kick ass stuntwoman who also served as Uma Thurman’s stunt double on Kill Bill. But there’s something special and oh-so-Quentin Tarantino about the wonderfully gory and over-the-top crash scene early on. As Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick and Tich’s 1966 bubblegum pop song “Hold Tight” roars through the car, Stuntman Mike speeds head-on towards the car full of women, flipping on his lights at the last moment before the spectacular crunch. In turn, we’re treated to a loop of the crash that shows us each girl’s fate, which also serves as a gentle reminder to never ever dangle your foot out of a car window.

Live Free or Die Hard (2007)

It had been 12 years since we last saw John McClane in action and it’s ridiculously wonderful stunts like this in Live Free or Die Hard that make us (or at least me) so happy he came back. This time, McClane is back to stop a cyber-hacker in D.C. who has also kidnapped his daughter, Lucy. But the plot is almost irrelevant because one, Bruce Willis is back, and two, we get to see McClane jump out of a speeding car, which then propels itself into a toll booth, sending it airborne to take out a helicopter. Yep, a car crashes itself into a helicopter, which then explodes. Good god, in what world is this even mildly plausible? But I’ll be damned if it didn’t make me burst out into a shit-eating grin when I first saw it. And that’s truly the fun of this list and these films: to remind us of those times Hollywood gave us improbable magic and we in turn pumped our fists in celebration every single time one of our old heroes comes back for one last round.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Arguably the best movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain America: The Winter Soldier actually features two pretty awesome car chases, complete with some impossible stunts and the smoldering Winter Soldier fucking shit up. First, there’s the assassination attempt on Nick Fury, which is the perfect combination of tension and Tony Stark-inspired ingenuity as Hydra agents posing as DC Metro Police surround and open fire on Fury’s armored SUV. But credit here needs to go to the film’s big highway showdown, which kicks off with the Winter Soldier yanking Jasper Sitwell out of a car window and tossing him like rag doll onto the highway (where he’s promptly smashed by an speeding truck) before ripping the damn steering wheel out of the car. Then we’ve got Cap catapulting out of an airborne car with Falcon and Black Widow via a car door, Cap crashing through a city bus, Black Widow being a badass, and Winter Soldier strutting down a car hood and into Steve’s dreams. The damage is catastrophic, with cars and buses exploding and crashing all around, and in the end, after that big reveal, the Winter Soldier gets away. I guess The Sokovia Accords kinda do make sense.

John Wick (2014)

A list so nice, Keanu’s on it twice. Admittedly, John Wick is known more for it’s badass gun-fu sequences, but Wick’s love of muscle cars is evident throughout the film, beginning with his 1969 Mustang Mach 1, which is later stolen by the villainous Iosef (and later reclaimed in the opening sequence of John Wick: Chapter 2). With his classic ride gone, Wick hops into a brand new Dodge Charger to track down an SUV convoy filled with Viggo and his cronies for the film’s final showdown. Somehow, Wick is even more relentless behind the wheel of a car, forcing an SUV off of the dock, popping shots into the men that tumble across his roof and finally taking out Avi with the side of his car before being forced out of the car by Viggo. It’s slick and sleek work, made all the more badass by Reeves, who performed most of the stunts in the film and who really is behind the wheel for the scene.

Pages: Previous page 1 2

Cool Posts From Around the Web: