‘Maybe one day I’ll have my own sitcom,’ snarls Charlie Sheen in one of a number of remarkably prescient lines from Adam Rifkind’s enjoyably daft car-chase movie. A guy, a girl, a fast car and a sea of pursuing cop-cars; The Chase is a sunny, fun, commercially-minded film that doesn’t re-invent anything, but was a decent hit back in the day, and seems far more interesting now than it did in 1994.
Jack Hammond (Sheen) is fresh out of the slammer and driving a stolen car when he stops at a petrol station in California. He leaves with a hostage, heiress Natalie Voss (Kristy Swanson) who, unknown to Jack, is the daughter of the ‘Californian Donald Trump’ Dalton Voss (Ray Wise). Natalie sticks a cigarette lighter into Jack’s neck, but as she comes to realise that her kidnapper is anything but the bad-ass he pretends to me, romantic sparks start to fly. Can Jack and Natalie find true love AND outrun the posse of cop cars in pursuit?
The Chase is derivative to its roots, with two parts Sugarland Express to one part Vanishing Point, but there’s tonnes of incidental attractions to sweeten the deal. Henry Rollins as a enthusiastic policeman? Ron Jeremy cameo? Red Hot Chilli Peppers Flea and Anthony Kiedis as a couple of have-a-go heroes who try and stop Jack’s adventures? And Voss himself is an interesting character, a businessman a la Trump, but one who also seems to fashion a political career for himself as an exit strategy. Voss/Trump is encumbered with a loveless relationship with a money-grabbing wife, and there’s a big musical sequence set to Trump’s theme music Macho Man. All similarities to real people are presumably accidental.
The Chase does attempt a media satire, which bickering new-anchors and dare-devil news-gathering crews, but this isn’t Nightcrawler; The Chase doesn’t land many punches, and lapses into wish-fulfilment fantasy by the end. But Sheen and Swanson are a fun team, and The Chase is a guilty pleasure for those who enjoy car chases; the one featured here almost lasts the entire duration of the film.
Comments are temporaily switched off while I recover from being described as an ‘assassin’ and ‘the ‘murderer of Paddington’. I’ll switch them back on so you can discuss this film once the traffic goes down.