Remaking a Classic – Car Chases
If any staple of action films has been done to death it’s the car chase. We almost expect it, it’s something to keep the pace fast, increase the tension, and a good excuse to throw in a few explosions, and yet it’s quite possible to get bored during this intense moment. Have we seen it all before? Or is there scope to get creative with the car chase to breathe some new life into it?
Here is where creativity must be kept in check.
We have all seen a film where a car chase has been shoehorned into place, and the pacing changes with an almost audible “clunk”. There seems to be next to no reason for the chase to be included, it adds nothing, it contributes nothing, and ultimately nothing is changed by driving around like maniacs.
First things first, consider your set up. If – for example – in the middle of a chase one faction suddenly has a tank, consider how they got it, why they got it, and how they managed to get it into place. By all means include the tank! But make sure that before it appears a logical reason has been hinted at that would justify its’ presence. Are the owners military, or have they been stealing military equipment? If it’s in the car chase, how would they know for certain that they got it where it needs to be? More to the point, is there justification for the chase participants to be that good at driving?
It’s all very well and good to say “we’re going to have a car chase and there’s going to be a fully armed tank in it!” Great! How does the chase begin, and why? Now any chase can take to the roads, it’s faster to escape someone in a car or on a bike, and the same for trying to catch up, eventually both parties will come to that conclusion and try to get some wheels under them. But really consider why the chase is happening, and how it changes the narrative as a whole. Who are we rooting for, the quarry or the pursuers? And what are the results of success or failure?
If you can justify it within the parameters of your narrative, then you can include whatever the hell you like in your chase. Tanks are only the beginning, if helicopters, milk floats, or even dragons already have a precedent set then have at it! Actually, I’d watch that film. If anyone is planning a remake or sequel to Reign of Fire, please include a car chase.
Take into account your location. What are the roads like, wide, narrow, poorly maintained, crowded, or even strewn with wreckage? How will the people react, and will the authorities get involved? If your location is a real-world setting (and remember, there’s no reason it must be) then consider having Google Street-View open on the town or city, mark your start and end points and consider the ridiculous routes that could be taken to get there.
Finally, what weapons or obstacles are at the disposal of the hunter and prey to baffle their counterparts? Are they driving a fully equipped 007 model Aston-Martin, or fully teched-out Batmobile? Do they have guns, the ability to fire them, and the ability to drive at the same time? Or are they leaning out of the drivers side, steering wheel in one hand, golf-club in the other and weaving backwards and forwards trying to jab the guy in the next lane in the ear?
Nothing keeps car chases fresh like humour, and often it’s a fantastic chance to work in a few comedy moments. Death Race 2000, Wacky Races, and This Means War have all got excellent comedy car chases, but here are some weird creative ideas that I quite metaphorically pulled out of nowhere.
- Tractor chase.
- Clown cars filled with heavily armed clowns.
- Being pursued in a taxiing plane through city straights.
- Practically anyone driving a Fiat Panda.
- High stakes Scalextric!
- A squirrel is driving. Squirrels are funny in most situations.
I like writing these, anyone have any ideas what I should do next? Anyone have any car chase ideas? Share your thoughts in the comments down below or on our Facebook page.