In this column, we deliver hot (and cold) takes on pop culture, judging whether a subject is overrated or underrated.

By Deirdre Fidge

Picture this: you’re in a darkened cinema, watching a movie. The story’s tension has escalated to the point of characters having no choice but to get in their cars and speed away, one chasing the other. High-powered motors rev loudly as they weave through a crowded city, barely avoiding other drivers and pedestrians. Just when you think the absconder has been caught, he throws caution to the wind and ploughs through a narrow alleyway, side mirrors snapping off.

Laughing maniacally, this driver knows their tailgater has a bigger car - they’ve won. BUT WAIT. The person in pursuit goes completely insane and charges through a shopping complex because their need to chase outweighs all other instincts. Sounds thrilling, right? From Steve McQueen in Bullitt to Vin Diesel in every Fast and the Furious, audiences have hooted and hollered over car chase scenes -well, any audience that doesn’t include me.

Come on guys, surely talking about it is easier than all this?

Come on guys, surely talking about it is easier than all this?

Frankly, I find car chase scenes a bit too loud and dangerous. It’s all vroom-vroom this, and Ooh look at me, I’m disregarding road rules that. Don’t get me wrong: these movies are fun. I’m not clutching my pearls and implying violence or danger in films will lead to real-life car accidents. Firstly, I can’t afford pearls, and I think anything secreted from a mollusc is disgusting. Secondly, people are smart enough to separate art from reality. It’s just… unnecessary.

If you’re chasing someone who wants to be left alone so badly you have to hop in a high-powered luxury vehicle and hoon about town… wow, take a hint. Leave them alone! And by the same token, if you’re the one being chased - don’t think you’re off the hook, pal. Learn to communicate and convey your feelings! Avoidance isn’t sustainable! Use “I” statements and emotional expressions like “when you chased after me in Tokyo and it led to several innocent bystanders dying in fiery blazes, it hurt my feelings”. We’re grown-ups.

Haven’t these people heard of the tortoise and the hare? Slow and steady wins the race. (Sorry about the spoiler if readers aren’t up to that part of Aesop’s fable.) A truly innovative twist would be if one person sped away and the other remained completely still, devising a scheme for catching their prey. Perhaps they sit down at a nice teak desk, hand-writing their plan of action. If viewers need loud noises, Foley artists could add crashing noises or sporadic alarm bells over this montage of responsible note-taking. I don’t know, I’m not a filmmaker, I just watch a sickening number of films.

Whenever a car chase scene begins, I let out a bored sigh so strong it blows my dogs across the room. Directors, please take note: these dogs’ bodies cannot endure any more thwacks against the wall. Their vet has warned that one more sigh and their tiny bones will shatter completely, although she did compliment my lung capacity.

My aversion to car chases isn’t just limited to movies: have you ever played Mario Kart? It’s one of the most stressful games I’ve encountered. The gameplay makes it impossible to win while driving responsibly, being respectful to fellow drivers, and soaking up the scenery of the racetrack. If there’s another way to play it I do not want to hear about it.

And I’ll never forget the first time I encountered a real-life racetrack at the tender age of 12: go-karts. My friends zipped around me, hooting and hollering with glee, while I carefully stayed within my lane and kept my hands at 10 and 2. It’s not about the destination folks, it’s the journey. I imagine these children have since grown up to join illegal drag racing gangs and weep for their families.


Do you know what would be really bold for the final Fast and the Furious film? If there weren’t any car chases at all. I’d love to see this ragtag gang of hoodlums finally work through their individual emotional challenges and choose to talk things out. Ideally, over a nice picnic with a big jug of homemade lemonade. While I respect the producer’s decision to not acknowledge my emails about this and instead send a “cease and desist” note, I remain true to my beliefs. The title of the franchise’s second movie sums everything up best for me: 2 Fast, 2 Furious.

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