The Chase (1994) — Stockholm syndrome and love at 90mph

“You kidnapped me with a candy bar?”

Justin’s rating: Platoon meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Justin’s review: I really like how The Chase begins: no buildup, no explanation of what’s going on exactly… just like A New Hope, we’re in the thick of things right off bat. In the thick of Charlie Sheen, to be exact, and a forced hostage situation in which his Jack takes Natalie (Kirsty Swanson) hostage in her new BMW and tries to make a run for the Mexican border. Jack is related to Dr. Richard Kimble, wrongly convicted for a crime he didn’t commit. I shan’t say the crime or the circumstances that caused him to be arrested, since that’s all part of the fun.

The Chase takes place 90% on the road as nice criminal Jack and bratty Natalie run from the law. Swanson turns out to be the daughter of a Really Rich Guy, and the media turns on this chase like sharks at Amity Beach feeding time. Granted, it’s a pretty lame premise, but there’s some breed of comedic genius behind this film. Instead of making a film an outright lampoon, the filmmakers have taken a worn action platform and chosen to subvert it from within. When you get to the point early on in the film where medical cadavers are pouring onto the freeway and being run over by police cars, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Charlie Sheen gets a lot of comedic license to be serious-funny man and give passionate speeches about clowns and media. It wears well on him; if you liked his narrative voice-overs from the Hot Shots! flicks, you’ll like him here. Speaking of media (two sentences back), there’s a lot of media satire, from a Cops-style parody (the leading police car has a TV crew interviewing them during the case) to all of the local news stations and their attempt to make the story seem horrific as possible.

There’s just enough great quotes, bizarre scenes, and genuine personality to make a good balance for a re-watchable movie. My roommate at college had a friend who watched this film on a daily basis, probably hoping it would cure his herpes or whatnot. Hey, it’s a cool flick, and Kirsty Swanson is not hard on the eyes. I’d even go as far as saying this is a good pick for a group of friends that just can’t decide on what to rent.

Of course, this film brings up an ethical question in my mind. If you were on the run from the law, would you pick either Mexico or Canada to escape to? Mexico has tequila and hot weather, Canada has a few people speaking English and frigid fields of grain. I’d be torn myself, honestly. Maybe I’d give it a go and see if I could just drive to Japan. They do get the PlayStation games early over there.

Didja Notice?

  • Cops are watching a classic scene from Planet of the Apes
  • It is broad daylight when Jack and Natalie pass a sign indicating that it’s 10 miles to Tijuana. They are traveling at between 90 and 100mph, which would bring them to the border in less than seven minutes, yet it is dark before they get there.

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