The Chase (1994)

Man, was that ever dumb. I’ve been told that whenever I see a movie I don’t like, I end up blaming whoever suggested I see it, and accuse them of stealing valuable minutes of my time in order to be sucked in by their misguided notions of cinematic good-ness. I’m trying to turn over a new leaf, so, to the person who told me that I needed to see this: I don’t blame you. And, if you feel like I should, I forgive you.

The Chase is a bad movie that is pretending to be a good movie dressed up as a bad movie. At its center the couple of Charlie Sheen and Kristy Swanson, who end up in a movie-long car chase, intercut with scenes of the police efforts and media coverage following the action. That’s it. Nearly every character plays some kind of stereotype (example: Swanson plays the spoiled girl with more to offer than her oppressive rich father seems to notice), usually to the effect of having us recognize that it is a stereotype. At no point does anyone really challenge the role they’ve been fit into. They play the parts, pretending to be silly, but rarely doing anything actually funny.

That’s pretty much what the rest of the movie does. It puts us into a B-movie setting, offers up hints that it will be something more (like the very funny scene where the truck contents start to fall out), but falls flat. No, wait, it doesn’t even “fall” flat, it begins and stays flat, with the occasional speedbump.

Thrown in as well is the odd cameo. In some, people do nothing (Ron Jeremy holds a camera). In others, people talk, but don’t bring any attention or reason for them being in a movie that is “beneath” them (Cary Elwes is a newscaster). Or, at the best of times, people take part in the movie and are only funny because it’s them playing the part (Anthony Kiedis and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers being monster truck driving hicks).

The best thing this movie has going is Henry Rollins. His rants, as one of the cops chasing Sheen and Swanson are the closest thing to funny that the movie actually gets. Instead of rolling our eyes at the silly-dumb, we actually feel kind of inclined to smirk whenever Rollins get rollin’.

There is one thing that the movie does a great job of, and that’s exposing the kind of sensationalism that comes along with media coverage. Within minutes, once the news gets ahold of the story, different, increasinly outrageous and unconfirmed reports end up reaching the public ear. Every channel has its own tagline covering the incident. It’s kind of like the “Trappuchino” joke from The Simpsons Movie, but spread out over an hour and a half.

Top it all off with the most absurd sex scene I’ve ever seen, and you’ve got The Chase, a stupid movie whose refusal to live up to its flashes of potential makes it all the worse to see.

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