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How Car Chase Scenes Are Becoming More Extreme

By looper , in Movies , at July 30, 2021

This content was paid for by Netflix and created by Looper.

Hollywood has come a long way since the first cinematic car chase was committed to celluloid back in 1903’s “Runaway Match.” In that film, someone simply strolling along at a brisk pace might’ve been able to catch up with the old-school wheels in motion, but nowadays, there are no limits to the speed, locations, or even volumes of vehicles that can be involved in a good chase scene.

And over the last few decades, the intensity of movie road races has increased exponentially, and it’s not just about how revved-up the sequences can look due to computer-generated imagery and daring stunt work. Modern movies have also found new ways for their roadway action scenes to stand apart from the crowd through clever character focus, very cool camera angles, and other innovations in filmmaking.

“Gunpowder Milkshake” is the latest example of an action film that puts pedal to the metal with a slick car chase, and it really gets audiences into gear for some fun. In the film, young hitwoman Sam (Karen Gillan) decides to turn her back on her ruthless employers at the mysterious Firm in order to protect Emily (Chloe Coleman), an innocent 8-year-old girl who’s caught in the crosshairs during Sam’s latest assignment. But after Sam’s colleagues are sent after her and render her arms useless with a paralytic agent, she has to rely on Emily to take the wheel of their getaway car, just as other enemies begin closing in on them. With Sam giving her instructions, Emily gets something of a crash course for her first driving lesson since it’s up to her to make all the sharp turns and shifts — sometimes even with her eyes closed so she won’t see the ensuing carnage. Not only is the scene electric and highly entertaining, but it’s also a surprisingly touching team-building moment for Emily and her newfound guardian.

By topping off this high-octane action setup with a few unique twists and some clutch narrative moves, “Gunpowder Milkshake” proves that a good car chase scene can be about so much more than fast wheels and wreckage. So to celebrate this creative take on the action tradition, here’s a look back at how car chase scenes have become so much more extreme over the years.

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