Why Can’t Movies Get The Car Chase Right?

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As an automotive enthusiast, and an avid movie-lover, it’s rather hard for me to watch movies that have car chases. This isn’t due to the fact that I’d like to be the one driving the cars, although it couldn’t hurt, but more due to the constant ways that directors and stunt choreographers make these car chases completely unbelievable.

Take, for example, the latest trailer for the movie Hitman: Agent 47. It’s a reboot of a movie that was originally a video game, and while set in a world where Agent 47 is essentially a Neo from the Matrix, that doesn’t necessarily get the movie off the hook from its interpretation of physics as applies to an automobile. Take a look:

Let’s break things down. First off, props on the filmmakers for using an Audi RS7. It’s not the standard car choice for filmmakers, and the red definitely pops on screen. However, almost everything this car does in the trailer is the work of a person that doesn’t have any understanding on gravity or car dynamics.

At 0:26, the RS7, which is all-wheel drive, looks to enter a full-on handbrake drift. It looks amazing, especially because it’s in a parking garage and two of the baddies are coming after Agent 47. But here’s the thing, the RS7 doesn’t have a traditional e-brake that would be able to lock up the wheels, but rather a button you push that will not activate while the car is moving. So already, this trailer has me annoyed.

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Wait a few more seconds and Agent 47 stomps on the brakes, locks up the tires, resulting in all the pursuing bad guys crashing into the back of the car, which, for some reason does no damage at all. He then immediately turns the wheel, and performs a perfect 180-degree turn, which slaps a guy with the back of the car off a motorcycle. The needle then climbs from 70 miles per hour to 160 miles per hour in a fraction of a second. Possible if you have a Veyron, not really possible when you have this car. We’re also still in a parking garage.

There’s just so much wrong in this trailer, it’s almost painful to watch as an enthusiast. However, it’s not alone. While the first Transporter film was good in getting the physics of the car correct, the subsequent films gave the middle finger to Sir Isaac Newton, and made absolutely no sense.

Or how about the new film, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.? While a great movie that I highly recommend you see, it has the same issues as all the previous films mentioned above. At one point, two underpowered Soviet era cars somehow go in a tandem 360-degree spin together in the straight line. How is that happening again?

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It’s the same with the Fast and the Furious franchise, Torque, Drive, and countless other movies throughout the years. Additionally, all these chases for some reason end up in explosions, even though it has been proven countless times that cars just don’t spontaneously combust. The only exception to this would be the Ford Pinto. Make a Ford Pinto chase scene and I’ll believe the explosions.

Honestly though, it’s not hard to make an awesome chase scene without all the unnecessary physics manipulations. A car doesn’t need to explode, it doesn’t need to fly through the air and then land perfectly unscathed, and it doesn’t need to do what the specific car in the film literally can’t do.

Filmmakers, if you need assistance with setting up a car chase, or want to do something awesome with a car in your film within the confines of reality, give me a call, I’ll help you out. If you don’t want help, just watch Star from BMW’s short film series The Hire. If you’ve seen it, you’ll know why it’s one of the best realistic cars scenes out there, if not, you’re in for a treat.

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