The Chase - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Chase Reviews

Page 1 of 21
½ December 25, 2016
Disappointing results of long car chase for fugitive Sheen and kidnapped Kristy Swanson. Lack of rapport between the stars hold this one back. Plays like a poor relative of TERMINAL VELOCITY. What is notable, Kristy has her hair cut shorter here.
½ November 5, 2016
Painfully stupid and repetitive, though it has a handful of funny and insightful moments.
August 6, 2016
Thought this movie was cool when I was like 13, but didn't quite stand up watching it as an adult. Super cheesy, and those cops were really annoying.
½ July 11, 2016
Kristy Swanson <3
½ January 31, 2016
Actually not bad at all. On it's own silly terms it's both funny, dramatic, clever and even romantic. But then again: I have a very soft spot for Charlie Sheen (and Henry Rollins)... (Did anyone else feel the spirit of "Thelma & Louise"?)
September 12, 2015
Ridiculous but entertaining action comedy
April 19, 2015
Cheese is good but self aware cheese is just tacky.....some action sequences work but just not that much.
January 5, 2015
In this celebrity-driven world, what happens to actors off-screen is often deemed just as important as their work on-screen - sometimes it is even deemed to be more important. It's very hard to ignore the all-pervasive coverage of celebrity meltdowns, scandals and general misbehaving, and now with the internet at our fingertips, what once was confined to The Daily Sport and The National Enquirer is available to everyone, all day, every day.

Four years after his ranting about tiger blood and being "bi-winning", it's still very hard to take Charlie Sheen seriously. His ignominious departure from Two and a Half Men and the numerous parodies prompted by his statements in interviews could lead us to completely write him off, either as yet another casualty of a merciless industry or as an overrated, immature attention-seeker. But believe it or not, there was a time when Sheen could hold your gaze without getting on your nerves - and that brings us on nicely to The Chase.

The Chase is, at its most elemental, a B-movie. It has a straightforward set-up, goes about its business in a no-nonsense fashion, has a clear beginning, middle and end, and doesn't overstay its welcome. Most of its plot is actually lifted from the 1955 film The Fast and the Furious, which was written by B-movie maestro Roger Corman and which gave its name to the franchise featuring Vin Diesel (though those films do not share any aspect of Corman's plot).

Both Corman's film and Adam Rifkin's film have one major thing in their favour: efficiency. Looking at it 21 years later, against a Hollywood full of bloated, over-long and ever-increasing sequels, it is so refreshing to find a film that can tell an entertaining story in 90 minutes and that isn't self-conscious about its brevity. But where Corman's compulsion for efficiency could occasionally work against his attempts to generate atmosphere - for instance, on The Little Shop of Horrors - Rifkin knows exactly what's he doing and sticks to his guns, at least until the last 10 minutes.

Had The Chase been made with a higher budget, or with bigger names in its cast, it's fair to assume that it would have been much less taut and exciting. If the budget had been, say, $50 million rather than $4.5 million, we would have had to sit through a long prologue hammering home how Jack was innocent, probably coupled with a contrived escape sequence which eventually leads to him kidnapping Natalie. While filmmakers should always be encouraged to show rather than tell, The Chase is a good reminder that we don't always need to see everything.

Like all the best B-movies, The Chase offers a little bit to chew on in amongst all its spectacle. It is, in one sense, a close cousin of Duel, using a chase premise to explore how people cope under pressure and how they deal with a seemingly unstoppable force that is pursuing them. There are also clear through-lines with The Hitcher: though Rifkin's film is far less nihlistic than Robert Harmon's, both films have a protagonist who become progressively more unhinged and constantly wonders why he deserves such a fate.

The main focus of The Chase's subtext is the sensationalist nature of modern media. It uses the increasingly bizarre series of accidents that befall the characters to make a point about how TV news in particular is so innately hysterical. The journalists and the police quickly transition from reporting on what they see to increasingly wild speculations, more concerned about viewing figures than telling the truth.

Much of the film's best comedy comes from a small act or mishap, such as Jack shooting out a police car's tyre, being blown out of all proportion by the media. Jack shoots the tyre out completely by accident, and only a few seconds later the man in the traffic helicopter declares that he must be an expert marksman, or possibly an ex-marine. Because Jack cannot simply pull over and explain the banal nature of what actually happened, the media have a free rein and depart from the truth to degrees so absurd that you can't help but laugh.

Ultimately, there is a limit to the amount of insight that the simple plot of The Chase can generate. You're not going to find as deep a commentary here as you will in Network or Broadcast News, and it's not up there with the best of the Mad Max series in terms of both thrills and thematic storytelling. But the film pursues its main idea to a largely satisfying degree, and even when its ending fudges things slightly, you still don't feel completely cheated.

Equally, to accept the basic premise of The Chase does require a reasonably large amount of suspension of disbelief. We have to accept, for instance, that Natalie's car could get all the way to Mexico on one tank of fuel; had it been a Mustang or Dodge Charger rather than a BMW, this would have been harder still. Likewise, if you don't believe that the police and Natalie could really mistake a chocolate bar for a gun when Jack holds up the petrol station, there's really no point carrying on.

As the film wears on, the diversions or obstacles that are introduced become increasingly outlandish. Most of these feel like natural continuations from a given situation: it is just about conceivable that Natalie could throw up that much as a result of Jack's driving. But when Anthony Kiedis and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers turn up, things get very rocky. Not only are the pair not all that funny, but the casting draws too much attention to itself and distracts us from the central pairing.

Having held its nerve for so long, The Chase begins to lose its way as the pair get closer to Mexico. Firstly, the film shifts from playing out in real-time (or close to that) to a slower, more languid and more montage-driven feel. And then, there's the infamous sequence where Jack and Natalie make love while Jack is still driving the car. While it's perhaps not as ridiculous as the similar sequence in Basic Instinct 2, it's still completely nonsensical.

The ending of The Chase is also a botched affair. The film is caught between the rock of Thelma and Louise and the hard place of Easy Rider or Vanishing Point; it can't decide whether to end in a blaze of glory or to have its characters get away in a gripping manner. In the end, it settles for a happy ending which feels both forced and improvised, finishing on a damp squib which insults our intelligence.

The Chase is an underrated action comedy which plays its ideas through to the fullest that it can and offers a good amount of entertainment while doing so. Despite its cop-out ending, the film is ably sustained by Sheen and Kirsty Swanson, and Rifkin directs very capably with a good deal of pace and efficiency. It won't be enough to entirely convince nay-sayers to rehabilitate Sheen as an actor, but for anyone seeking to do so, it's a very good place to start.
Daniel Mumby
Super Reviewer
January 5, 2015
In this celebrity-driven world, what happens to actors off-screen is often deemed just as important as their work on-screen - sometimes it is even deemed to be more important. It's very hard to ignore the all-pervasive coverage of celebrity meltdowns, scandals and general misbehaving, and now with the internet at our fingertips, what once was confined to The Daily Sport and The National Enquirer is available to everyone, all day, every day.

Four years after his ranting about tiger blood and being "bi-winning", it's still very hard to take Charlie Sheen seriously. His ignominious departure from Two and a Half Men and the numerous parodies prompted by his statements in interviews could lead us to completely write him off, either as yet another casualty of a merciless industry or as an overrated, immature attention-seeker. But believe it or not, there was a time when Sheen could hold your gaze without getting on your nerves - and that brings us on nicely to The Chase.

The Chase is, at its most elemental, a B-movie. It has a straightforward set-up, goes about its business in a no-nonsense fashion, has a clear beginning, middle and end, and doesn't overstay its welcome. Most of its plot is actually lifted from the 1955 film The Fast and the Furious, which was written by B-movie maestro Roger Corman and which gave its name to the franchise featuring Vin Diesel (though those films do not share any aspect of Corman's plot).

Both Corman's film and Adam Rifkin's film have one major thing in their favour: efficiency. Looking at it 21 years later, against a Hollywood full of bloated, over-long and ever-increasing sequels, it is so refreshing to find a film that can tell an entertaining story in 90 minutes and that isn't self-conscious about its brevity. But where Corman's compulsion for efficiency could occasionally work against his attempts to generate atmosphere - for instance, on The Little Shop of Horrors - Rifkin knows exactly what's he doing and sticks to his guns, at least until the last 10 minutes.

Had The Chase been made with a higher budget, or with bigger names in its cast, it's fair to assume that it would have been much less taut and exciting. If the budget had been, say, $50 million rather than $4.5 million, we would have had to sit through a long prologue hammering home how Jack was innocent, probably coupled with a contrived escape sequence which eventually leads to him kidnapping Natalie. While filmmakers should always be encouraged to show rather than tell, The Chase is a good reminder that we don't always need to see everything.

Like all the best B-movies, The Chase offers a little bit to chew on in amongst all its spectacle. It is, in one sense, a close cousin of Duel, using a chase premise to explore how people cope under pressure and how they deal with a seemingly unstoppable force that is pursuing them. There are also clear through-lines with The Hitcher: though Rifkin's film is far less nihlistic than Robert Harmon's, both films have a protagonist who become progressively more unhinged and constantly wonders why he deserves such a fate.

The main focus of The Chase's subtext is the sensationalist nature of modern media. It uses the increasingly bizarre series of accidents that befall the characters to make a point about how TV news in particular is so innately hysterical. The journalists and the police quickly transition from reporting on what they see to increasingly wild speculations, more concerned about viewing figures than telling the truth.

Much of the film's best comedy comes from a small act or mishap, such as Jack shooting out a police car's tyre, being blown out of all proportion by the media. Jack shoots the tyre out completely by accident, and only a few seconds later the man in the traffic helicopter declares that he must be an expert marksman, or possibly an ex-marine. Because Jack cannot simply pull over and explain the banal nature of what actually happened, the media have a free rein and depart from the truth to degrees so absurd that you can't help but laugh.

Ultimately, there is a limit to the amount of insight that the simple plot of The Chase can generate. You're not going to find as deep a commentary here as you will in Network or Broadcast News, and it's not up there with the best of the Mad Max series in terms of both thrills and thematic storytelling. But the film pursues its main idea to a largely satisfying degree, and even when its ending fudges things slightly, you still don't feel completely cheated.

Equally, to accept the basic premise of The Chase does require a reasonably large amount of suspension of disbelief. We have to accept, for instance, that Natalie's car could get all the way to Mexico on one tank of fuel; had it been a Mustang or Dodge Charger rather than a BMW, this would have been harder still. Likewise, if you don't believe that the police and Natalie could really mistake a chocolate bar for a gun when Jack holds up the petrol station, there's really no point carrying on.

As the film wears on, the diversions or obstacles that are introduced become increasingly outlandish. Most of these feel like natural continuations from a given situation: it is just about conceivable that Natalie could throw up that much as a result of Jack's driving. But when Anthony Kiedis and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers turn up, things get very rocky. Not only are the pair not all that funny, but the casting draws too much attention to itself and distracts us from the central pairing.

Having held its nerve for so long, The Chase begins to lose its way as the pair get closer to Mexico. Firstly, the film shifts from playing out in real-time (or close to that) to a slower, more languid and more montage-driven feel. And then, there's the infamous sequence where Jack and Natalie make love while Jack is still driving the car. While it's perhaps not as ridiculous as the similar sequence in Basic Instinct 2, it's still completely nonsensical.

The ending of The Chase is also a botched affair. The film is caught between the rock of Thelma and Louise and the hard place of Easy Rider or Vanishing Point; it can't decide whether to end in a blaze of glory or to have its characters get away in a gripping manner. In the end, it settles for a happy ending which feels both forced and improvised, finishing on a damp squib which insults our intelligence.

The Chase is an underrated action comedy which plays its ideas through to the fullest that it can and offers a good amount of entertainment while doing so. Despite its cop-out ending, the film is ably sustained by Sheen and Kirsty Swanson, and Rifkin directs very capably with a good deal of pace and efficiency. It won't be enough to entirely convince nay-sayers to rehabilitate Sheen as an actor, but for anyone seeking to do so, it's a very good place to start.
October 21, 2014
The unplanned abduction of a billionare daughter by an escaped convict quickly accelorates into a high-speed race for the Mexican border with jack at the wheel of Natalie's BMW and a multitude of others in hot pursuit. Soon the fleeting couple realises they're both desperate to escape, as the chase - and their comical, high-spirited romance - shifts into high gear!

stars Charlie Sheen, Kristy Swanson, Henry Rollins, Josh Mostel, Wayne Grace, Rocky Carroll, Miles Dougal, Ray Wise and Marshall Bell.

directed by Adam Rifkin.
June 9, 2014
growing up watching this movie brings back fond memories smh
March 8, 2014
Charlie Sheen plays jack Hammond who is an innocent escaped convict who is being accused of bank robbery. While at a gas station he takes hostage the richest man In the states daughter via a candybar and now is in for the wildest ride of their lives as they are being chased by cops down the highway. Even though some of it is cheesy and ludicrous it also filled with some pretty good car chasing scenes and car crashes and plenty of laughs for you to be able to enjoy this movie. From flying cadavers to sex in the front seat and wild chases I think this movie is pretty good. Not perfect but there's enough entertainment for it to be a good popcorn flick.
February 8, 2014
Charlie Sheen and Christy Swanson star in this dirty little pleasure. Co-starring so many different people it's ridiculous! Flea doesn't act in a ton of movies but the ones he does act in are great!
½ December 15, 2013
Great movie. Very funny, very fast-paced, great cast, and great performances from Sheen, Rollins, Morsten, and even Swanson.
July 3, 2013
The annoying thing about this movie...is that it actually could've been quite good. Had Rifkin not been so obsessed with making it a farcical, slapstick mess, who knows how it would have turned out. It switches from trying to be like Smokey and the Bandit to trying to be like Taxi Driver. The movie has no idea what it is trying to say and it just blurts out the first thing that comes into its head.
So you have Charlie Sheen filling up petrol. He looks shady and nervous from the get go. Two policemen come in and the man behind the counter (who I can't imagine has ever worked in the movie business since) takes too much time getting Sheen's change and fumbles with the roll of quarters, spilling them on the floor. All this puts Sheen ridiculously on edge and then the cops get a call in about a stolen car, which just happens to be the car that Sheen drove in with. Things get heated and after some overacting and Sheen taking Kristy Swanson hostage with a chocolate bar (while the cops slide over their guns), the chase begins. Kristy Swanson is not only outrageously attractive, she also turns out to be the daughter of one of the richest businessmen in the world, whipping up a media frenzy. We also learn that Sheen is an escaped convict, of course not guilty...but the law has never been on his side (sob, sob).
Typical conflict of personalities start, but ultimately both rub off on each other while the police cars follow in their droves. Some fairly funny parts, but not enough to qualify this as a bonified comedy and there are some attempts at exploring the psyche of Sheen's character, but it never delves too deep beneath the surface, so you could hardly call it a psychological, fast-paced thriller either. I would say probably the best thing about this movie is Suede's See You In The Next Life played near the end, with a close-up of Sheen in slow motion about to smoke a cigarette. And it's never a bad thing to see cameo appearances from Flea and Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers as fame-seeking madmen.
This is best seen twenty minutes in, flicking through television on a Sunday afternoon, hungover, whilst watching something else during the adverts.
½ May 15, 2013
A standard chase film with not-so-standard elements, including a strange sex scene and cadavers being dropped on the highway at 100 km/hr. This film is clearly not for all tastes but it has its moments.
April 17, 2013
Boring dud that feels about as high octave as a go kart race. In fact a go kart race would be more entertaining than this aside from the lovely Kristy Swanson
½ March 29, 2013
I love Adam Rifkin, because he directed one of my all time favourite movies, 'Detroit Rock City' and I adore Kristy Swanson, by far the superior 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer', but this was pretty messy and annoying.
½ March 15, 2013
The Chase, one of the most appropriately titled movies I can remember, is just that: One big, long car chase. The first scene has bad boy Jack Hammond (Charlie Sheen) capture a young woman, Natalie (Kristy Swanson), and then embark on a car chase with various police vehicles for the next hour and a half. It's the same plot from 1955's The Fast and the Furious, basically, with a different ending and a couple of subplots changed. But, essentially, see one and you've seen the other.

Chase scenes get boring in action movies after a certain amount of time. It doesn't matter what happens in them; they always get stale. That's true here, which is unfortunate because it manages to last a lot longer than other films. However, after about the first hour, I had grown tired. The police really didn't seem to be trying all that hard to stop the fugitive, neither Jack or Natalie seemed to be taking the situation all that seriously -- and while that's all good and charming for the initial bit, it eventually grows tiresome.

The film manages to fit in a love story into the mix, as Jack and Natalie eventually grow from their captor/hostage relationship to one that is amiable. The two have little chemistry, ensuring that we won't believe in the relationship, but, then, there isn't a whole lot of effort put into making us believe it anyway. Jack stands up to her father, who calls them on the car's phone, in a way that nobody else ever did, and from that point on, she's all starry-eyed. Prior to that point, she had burned him and tried to make the hostage situation as miserable as possible for the both of them.

There's no organic growth, is what I'm saying. We instantly move from one end of the spectrum to the other without any time spent in between the two extremes. You can't buy into them instantly falling in love because of this -- especially given both how they meet and because the two actors seem so out of it that hiring a couple of budgerigars might have been more enjoyable for all the emotion put into their roles.

The actual chase gets less and less focus as the film moves on, too, which makes no sense. If the relationships was to be the focus, it needed to not peak as early as it does. We stay in the same place -- love -- for the majority of the film, meaning that there is no development. The chase then takes a back seat to a stale relationship devoid of growth. It makes sense to do this if we were still going to have these people grow given that the car chase simply cannot sustain a feature length film, but the way it was handled was wrong in almost every way.

What also didn't work was the way the film almost had a running commentary regarding the chase. There is a documentary crew inside one of the cop cars, which has Henry Rollins and Josh Mostel explaining what their thoughts are about the chase and about being police officers. Meanwhile, the local news reports go to absurd lengths to get good footage of the chase and draw in viewers. And, back at the local police station, we have Natalie's parents and the Chief of Police trying to make heads or tails of the situation.

This gets increasingly annoying and felt a lot more like filler than it should. It's cute and kind of funny at the beginning, but by the end, when they're repeated the same thing in scene after scene, it's dull. Much like real news, which isn't watched by most people for more than an hour at a time, seeing the same story over and over again gets boring. Seeing it from different perspectives gave us the chance to hear differing opinions, but everyone except Jack and Natalie think the chase is bad, for obvious reasons, and never get a deeper understanding than that.

The parts of the film that actually do involve the car chase contain some fun moments and some formulaic ones. For instance, how many movies have corpses end up being used as one of the obstacles to slow down the police? Not many, I would reckon. But there are a great deal of random car flips that you can't believe would actually happen, and some other points that are just silly, like the ending.

I don't want to ruin the film's finale, but let's just say that it involves blowing up a helicopter with a single pistol shot, as well as a little bit of misdirection on the part of a daydream. No, you haven't just figured it out, so don't even think that. But it is quite silly, as is the whole idea that Jack is wrongly convicted and that things just aren't going his way. He pleads his innocence over the course of the entire film, but it never actually matters whether he did what people say he did or not.

The Chase has a bevy of weak points, but as an unpretentious piece of action movie history, it works just fine. It almost manages to sustain the excitement of a car chase for an entire movie, and while all of the elements outside of that don't really work, that single point, and the fact that it rarely wants to be more than an extended chase scene, makes it almost worthwhile. You have to admire something that is as simple as this film is, and while it does eventually grow tiresome, leading up to a terrible conclusion, it just might warrant a watch.
March 7, 2013
"Jackson 'Jack' Hammond" (Charlie Sheen) is an escaped convict who has stopped to refuel his stolen car and pick up a snack when a couple of cops stroll in. Seconds later, the police get an APB over their radios with a description of the car "Hammond" stole. The police asks him about the car when he is standing at the checkout counter, and he denies the car is his.

Things go bad from there, and the convict grabs the beautiful woman at the magazine rack (Kristie Swanson), and uses a Butterfinger candy bar to fool the cops into believing he has a gun. He takes the woman, who happens to be the daughter of one of the richest men in America (Ray Wise), hostage and makes her jump into her car.

The two then drive, with "Hammond" behind the wheel, out of the parking lot. Eventually, the police catch up, and a high speed chase ensues.

This is one of the most unique movies I've seen in some time, as it mostly takes place inside moving vehicles. Also, there is little to no interaction between the main and supporting characters. We also see much of the movie through the camera of the networks following the chase.

As expected, there is just about every stunt you'd expect in a car chase. I think one of the stunts was a little more unique than, say, a flip over.

Sheen and Swanson work very well together, and both give good performances. Some of the performers not involved in the chase scenes appear to be a little weak, and are only there to advance the main storyline. I was also not impressed with the TV crew riding along with the two officers who were the first to get involved in the chase.

As I think back about a couple of hours when I watched the movie, I can only remember only one song from the soundtrack. The rest are pretty forgettable.

There are some fairly good comedic moments in the movie. Some of the jokes will make you have a fairly good laugh, while others will give you a chuckle.

There is some good cinematography, with one weird in-car love scene. We get some nicely set-up shots in the cars, to typical shots from the news choppers over the scene.

I do recommend this as a fairly good choice for a second choice rental, but I wouldn't want to wait for this if I used Netflix since I can't see anybody waiting for this. It's good, but not perfect.
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