Car chases, even when done well, are much too common, and directors fall to a Michael Bay strategy of sloppy explosions and distracting CGI. Not motorcycles, however. There’s just something pure about it. Something you can’t fake with computer graphics and special effects. And when it’s correctly done, movie magic is born. Listed below are the 5 best bike chases in movie history:
1. Arnold Schwarzenegger to the Rescue (‘Terminator 2’)
Its been over two decades since “Terminator 2” made it to the theaters for the first time, but no one can ever forget the T-800 and its Harley Davidson “Fay Boy,” hunting down the T-1000 with a double-barrel shotgun that Arnold would effortlessly reload by flipping the gun around his wrist.
It was the moment people fell in love with motorcycles, and that hasn’t gone back.
2. Steve McQueen’s Jump (‘The Great Escape’)
Looking back at the classic action thriller from 1963, it’s hard to appreciate this stunt given how high the bar is raised today. But keep this in mind — Steve McQueen, without the safety of a helmet or stunt devil, jumped that fence on his own.
Sure, it was a grassy hill and a low height, but what seems like a small hop paved the way for bigger and better motorcycle stunts for the future. And McQueen, a bike enthusiast, was a natural as he leaped over the barbed fence.
3. John Rambo’s Dirt Bike (‘First Blood’)
John Rambo sits in the figurative hall of fame of movie character bad-asses. Even when Stallone reprised his role in 2008’s “Rambo” the fictional Army Ranger hadn’t lost his touch. One of the best scenes from “First Blood” (commonly known as just “Rambo”) features John Rambo cruising a dirt bike through rural Oregon as he runs from the law.
Unlike other scenes boasting burning rubber at the high speeds of a powerful Harley, Rambo uses the terrain, not his speed, to outrun the police in this exciting chase scene.
4. Johnny Tran Must Die (‘Fast & Furious’)
“The Fast and the Furious” revealed an entire culture of West Coast street racing to the rest of America and was so successful it created a franchise spawning six sequels (7th installment already confirmed and announced).
Towards the end of the movie, characters played by Paul Walker and Vin Diesel hunt down a motorcycle gang using their Toyota Supra and classic Dodge Challenger. The superbly choreographed chase whips through the streets of Los Angeles, but with John Rambo, these bikers aren’t getting away.
5. Trinity and Her Ducati (‘The Matrix Reloaded’)
We know only paragraphs ago we were giving CGI-heavy movies a hard time, but we have to make an exception for this thriller involving Carrie-Anne Moss.
The maneuvering between cars zipping in the opposite direction is fascinating enough, but the way the camera follows at ground level as Trinity brushes death by mere inches makes this a unique motorcycle chase scene.
From “The Wild One” to “Sons of Anarchy,” motorcycles and the actors who ride them have become a huge piece of television and movie history. Bikers carry an attitude with them that can’t be touched by others, and the ones who did it right will always be remembered for the machines they rode in some of the best movies in history.