From Mission Impossible: Fallout, to Black Panther, what was your favorite movie car chase this year?
It’s that time again, where we look back at our favorite car chase scenes in movies released the past year that have kept gearheads clinging to the edge of their seat at the cinema. This year, Marvel Studios dominated the box office with some creative car scenes that made good use of CGI to enhance the action. In contrast, we also had films like Mission: Impossible Fallout that raised the bar for practical stunts, delivering one of the most intense car chases since Ronin. Without further ado, here are our choices for the best movie car chases of 2018.
Tom Cruise is renowned for doing his own death-defying stunts, and he certainly outdid himself in Mission: Impossible Fallout. He became the first actor to perform a halo jump, broke his foot while jumping over rooftops, and performed some of the scariest-looking helicopter stunts in any movie. We wouldn’t like to guess how he will top these stunts in the inevitable seventh installment of the long-running saga.
A pulse-pounding car chase erupts in the film’s central action set piece, but it’s just one part of an elaborate Paris heist scene. Agent Ethan Hunt, played by Cruise, has to extract terrorist Solomon Lane from an armored police convoy in exchange for some plutonium cores he's tracking that could destroy the world. The action kicks off with police pursuing Cruise in a van before the action switches to a motorcycle, as Cruise rides a BMW R nineT Scrambler against oncoming traffic around the Arc de Triomphe to escape police. It’s harrowing to watch when you know it was done for real.
Before you can catch your breath, Cruise then careens through cobbled streets in a classic BMW 5 Series while being pursued by MI6 agent Ilsa Faust played by Rebecca Ferguson on a motorcycle. The 5 Series gets pushed to its limit, drifting around corners, driving between narrow pillars, and doing suspension-damaging jumps down some stairs. The lack of dialogue or music also increases the intensity and evokes memories of Ronin’s revered car chase.
Some of the highest grossing films in 2018 were from Marvel Studios, so it’s no surprise that some of this year’s superhero films have made our list. Black Panther features one of the most action-packed car chases of any Marvel movie as the film’s titular hero clings onto the roof of a 2018 Lexus LC 500 chasing after bad guys in black SUVs. The product placement isn’t subtle, as some of the other film’s heroes join the chase in a 2018 Lexus GS F.
Using an advanced Remote Driving System, the LC 500 is “driven” by Black Panther’s 16-year-old sister, Shuri, through the busy streets of Busan in South Korea. It’s a visually stunning sequence thanks to the vibrant neon colors of the night-time setting, although there's heavy use of CGI as Black Panther uses his kinetic energy suit to trash some Toyota 4Runner SUVs and push the Lexus onto two wheels to avoid a crash at a busy intersection. Fortunately, a lot of the destructive stunts were also filmed for real.
Ant-Man and the Wasp may not be the best Marvel movie ever made, but it has one of the most creative movie car chases in recent memory. Evangeline Lilly‘s character Wasp drives a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van that gets chased by, you guessed it, bad guys in SUVs who are after a shrunken-down laboratory hidden inside the van. The twist here is that the van is equipped with Pym Particles that can shrink the van down to the size of a toy car and grow back on demand, resulting in some spectacular stunts as they use the technology to outwit their pursuers.
In one scene, the duo shrinks the van as one of the SUVs is about to ram into them, causing it to miss and crash into a row of parked cars. They also sneak the shrunken van under another SUV and grow back to full size to make it flip over and roll down a hill. Like Black Panther, the scene seamlessly merges CGI with practical stunts filmed on the streets of San Francisco. There’s also some more shameless automotive product placement, this time with a modified 2019 Hyundai Veloster.
Death Race: Beyond Anarchy is the fourth film in the Death Race remake series since the first film starring Jason Statham released back in 2008. Once again, the film takes place in a post-industrial world where prison inmates compete in illegal last-man-standing races in modified cars armed with heavy weapons. Think of it as Mad Max meets Fast & Furious. Released straight to DVD, the fourth installment cranks up the carnage with some unapologetically over-the-top car action.
What makes Death Race: Beyond Anarchy stand out from the other films on this list are the crazy modified cars that wouldn’t look out of place in a Mad Max film, including a weapon-mounted Chevrolet Camaro, a Ford Mustang loaded with spikes, and a cop car with monster truck wheels. The film culminates with an extended race filled with cars crashing, flipping, and exploding spectacularly. If you want to sit back and enjoy some automotive mayhem in a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously, look no further than Death Race: Beyond Anarchy.
Essentially France’s answer to Fast & Furious, Taxi 5 is the first film in the French action comedy franchise in over ten years. In fact, the Taxi series date back further than Fast & Furious - the first film was released in 1998. Taxi 5 replaces the Peugeot 406 from the older films with a new 407. Like its predecessor, the taxi is equipped with hi-tech gadgets including wings that enable it to fly.
The plot centers on a police officer tasked to apprehend a group of Italian bank robbers who drive exotic supercars. Like in the previous films, he utilizes the driving skills of a local taxi driver to catch the criminals. Several supercars get put through their paces on the streets of Paris, including a Ferrari 488 Italia and a Lamborghini Aventador. There’s also a metal-twisting traffic pile-up that would make The Blues Brothers proud. There aren’t many movies where you’ll see a Ferrari 458 Italia being chased by a pimped-up Peugeot taxi.
Let us know your favorite movie car chase of 2018 in the comments. There’s lots of automotive action to look forward to in 2019 too, with the hotly anticipated Fast & Furious spin-off movie Hobbs & Shaw, Avengers 4 featuring Tony Stark driving the Audi E-Tron GT 4, and Ford Vs. Ferrari, which will retell the story of the battle between Ford and Ferrari to win Le Mans in 1966.