Hollywood knows all about creating epic carnage on the big screen. The average Hollywood blockbuster has a budget of $150 million, and if the main aim of that blockbuster is to wow the audience with special effects, action sequences and set pieces designed to blow the mind of cinema-goers from around the world, you can bet your life that the money is going to be well spent on the screen.
Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson set the standard for blowing everything up with films such as Top Gun, Con Air and the Bad Boys films starring Will Smith. Bruckheimer films sometimes don't have any other objective other than to make things go really fast and explode, and when you spend $150 million on that, it's going to have the wow factor in spades.
When it comes to action films, the car chase is a staple, and one that has kept us entertained for decades. Ask anybody over 40 about The French Connection and Bullitt car scenes, and watch them sigh with awe like a love-struck teenager. Action films are the male equivalent of the rom-com, but instead of a guy and a girl falling in love, you have two cars smashing together and bullets flying everywhere. Isn't that what love is all about?
OK, that maybe a little extreme, but when you want to be entertained and switch your brain off for a while, there's nothing like an epic car chase that climaxes with a huge crash and a hefty explosion. It leaves the audience gasping and often wondering 'Is that stuntman still alive?' It's what they're paid to do guys, and they do it was aplomb. Here are five of the most epic car crashes in film history:
Ryan Gosling's mysterious getaway driver has become synonymous with understated cool, channelling Steve McQueen with his classy driving skills. The early getaway scenes in the film show how cool, calm and collected he is under pressure. But when a stick-up job goes wrong later in the film, the driver puts his foot to the floor and shows his best getaway skills, giving the bad guys the slip and then sending them flying through the air with some effective high-speed manoeuvring.
The final film in the epic action trilogy sees Matt Damon's amnesiac assassin escaping the sniper rifle of a hitman before hitting the road - via driving off car park rooftops - and heading off on a high speed getaway, with the hitman in hot pursuit. When the two cars collide, Bourne's car is sent full speed into a concrete divider, and the audience feels every single twist of metal and shard of glass as the two cars are turned into sardine cans in an instant as they collide with other cars and the divider. It's painful to watch, and the two men barely survive, as do they audience!
Before James Cameron sunk the Titanic, he was best friends with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and together they created the iconic and incredible Terminator films. They worked on the first two films - both classics - and both films feature incredible car chases and crashes. But the truck smash in Terminator 2 is the best of the bunch, and has rarely been bettered. Arnie is flying down an underpass on a Harley with the future saviour of the human race on the back, with new Terminator the T-1000 fast on their heels... in a truck. Arnie manages to shoot the tyres of the truck, sending it into a spin and smashing into a bridge. The truck bursts into flames, and Arnie escapes. The T-1000 then walks out of the flames, as if he was returning from the bathroom, giving two reasons why the audiences' breath was taken away in just that one scene.
Arnie was the master of the overblown action sequence (and could still be, depending on how good the comeback films are), and Red Heat features one of the most insanely brilliant crashes ever. Arnie's Russian cop has chased a home-grown villain all the way from Russia to the USA, and the two find themselves facing each other in buses. That's right, buses. This being an Arnie film, the two decide to have a game of chicken, driving the trucks towards each other until Jim Belushi decides that being the centrepiece of a chicken sandwich isn't a great idea and grabs the wheel, taking Arnie out of harms way, over a ramp and flying through the air and onto its side instead. Much better!
The entire sequence of District Attorney Harvey Dent's police escorted route to the Gotham City jail is an exercise in tension and action sequence gold. The Joker is in hot pursuit of Dent's armoured car, and when Batman uses the Bat-mobile to stop a shot from a rocket launcher, it looks like the villain is going to get his prize. But then the Bat-mobile morphs into the Bat-pod, an awesome motorbike complete with gadgets that lead to The Joker's truck being flipped in the air and landing on its back like a puppy playing dead. Christopher Nolan earned his stripes with this scene.
By the time you've watched these five clips, just parking the car in your garage won't be enough any more. You'll want to be accompanied by explosions, or to drive right through your garage doors. Remember this: It's important to switch your brain back on after watching Bruckheimer. I forgot to mention that.