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The Chase (1994).

May 5, 2009

The Scoop:
How could something with such a great premise be so bad — so earth-shatteringly, jaw-droppingly bad?

A convicted killer (Charlie Sheen) escapes police custody in Los Angeles, takes an heiress/socialite (Kristy Swanson) hostage and begins a high speed chase to Mexico and freedom. Tons of cops wind up on his tail, as do several TV news crews, who broadcast the chase live.

The television news’ obsession with high speed freeway chases should be such a perfectly ripe topic for parody — a softball any idiot could hit out of the park. And yet this movie utterly fails at its mission. It’s not just that the script and acting are bad, because those are fairly run-of-the-mill problems. This movie tries hard to cross the boundary into full-scale Ed Wood style ineptitude — all the freeway signs are obviously fake (what was wrong with the real freeway signs, anyway?), none of the police cars or uniforms match, and the list just goes on and on.

Writer/director Adam Rifkin, who was coming off the hilarious “The Dark Backward” (1991) really blew it here. The definitive parody of freeway chases is still waiting to be made.

Best Bit:
The best part isn’t even in the movie proper — it comes after the end credits, with Charlie Sheen in a clown suit reciting the “I love the smell of napalm” speech from his dad’s film “Apocalypse Now” (1979).

Side Note:
Punk icon Henry Rollins has a supporting role as a cop, but watch for the cameo appearances. These include Anthony Keidis and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Cary Elwes and porn star Ron Jeremy.

Companion Viewing:
“Canadian Bacon” (1996).


Take a Look:
“That is a lot of puke.”

This totally happens during all those high speed chases, doesn’t it?

The gripping climax (spoiler alert, as if you really care by this point):

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