Memorable vehicle based movie action scenes ...

... and what we can learn from them for Feng Shui.

The idea of this thread is giving a description of memorable
vehicle based action scenes, that contained elements we
(refering to us as Feng Shui gamemasters) can apply to our
adventures or learn from.
But be careful, if you haven't seen the movie yet, there
may be SPOILERS ahead!

The Bourne Supremacy
The Scene: Jason Bourne is being chased through the streets of Moskau,
driving a rather underpowered sowjet era car while being attacked by a
named villain in a big cross country vehicle. It is a furious increase of
the chase in first film (The Bourne Identity), with not only the main
character's life but also his redeemption being at stake.

What we can learn from it: Maybe you want to give your players the
hottest highpower car available for a chase. Think again. A very inferior
vehicle adds alot of tension, especially if you describe very well how
it falls apart during the action (though you can and should do that in
all chase scenes)
What's even more interesting here, is the double stake for the hero.
A hero's life is threatened all day, your playercharacters should
be used to that. But what if there's more to the whole thing ?

Indiana Jones, Raiders of the lost Ark
The Scene: Indy has to retrieve the lost ark from a truck full of nazi
soldiers on it's way through the desert. He jumps on the truck from the
back of a horse and has to get rid of the other inmates as well as the
cars that escort the truck.

What we can learn from it: There is a small revenge sub-plot going on
in this scene between Indy and a nazi officier who tries to throw him
off the truck. Such "personal scenes" can enhance an action scene
The truck also works as an action-stage itself within the scene.
It is the mother of all car-jacking scenes and full of ideas.

Indiana Jones and the last Crucade
The Scene 1: I've seen several motorboat based chases, but this one
remains my fave. Dramatic events lead up to the scene in which Indy and
Dr. Elsa Schneider have to escape a bunch of mysterious strangers.
The whole chase culminates in a fistfight on one of the last remaining
boats while it is shredded to pieces by a big ship's propeller
(amazingly cool underscored by John Williams music).

What we can learn from it: A third danger, formerly not present, may
threaten both parties of the chase. They have to make temporal
agreement or even work together to overcome it.

The Scene 2: The Nazi's got an old english Mark IV tank for their mission.
While being slow and outdated it is still a real moving fortress to
overcome. Since his father and his friend are held captive inside the
tank, Indy has no choice but to face the WW 1 relict while riding
a horse. The scene takes also place inside and on top of the tank.

What we can learn from it:
The tank's features (the guns, the tracks) are available for both,
heroes and villains during the scene. The tank is not only a tool
of the villains, but also a complete action set in itself, a prison
and somehow an enemy of it's own.
There is deep symbolism in this scene. A "knight" (Indy on the horse)
has to fight a superior "dragon" (the tank) to save the innocent (his
father and Marcus Brody). Interestingly the composer, John Williams,
must have been fully aware of this symbolism. His track for this scene is
called:"In the belly of the steelbeast" (which may be derived from the
script). We also have a contraditiction between the old and the new
"techniques". The "good old hero on a horse" has to overcome a piece
of terrible technology. And finally we have once more an underpowered
vehicle (horse) versus an overpowered vehicle.
Symbolism can enhance your storytelling alot. It may be subtle at times,
but really adds to the overall feeling.

Project Peacemaker
The scene: This movie didn't earn much kudos, but has some interesting
scenes, including a car chase. The hero has to flee from a number of
villains. He drives an armored Mercedes limousine, the villains a number
of BMW's (black ones of course). At first they chase him and he's really
lacking firepower to fight back (except for a single gun) but when
the cars reach an open place (a market), he decides to turn the tables
and crushes their cars with his. The scene has a very angry and
violent tone and shows very well how a car, especially an armored one
can be used as a weapon against normal cars.

What we can learn from it: Turning the tables is great. First have your
heroes in an inferior position, make them suffer and then offer them
a chance to get back on the villains. A mean, misanthropic concept, but it
makes great drama. We also rarely see, how a hero uses a vehicle as
a weapon, this scene may inspire your players alot.

The Scene: This is probably one of the best action/thriller flicks there are.
Fast paced, clever and very well done. There are multiple car chases in
this one and for the most part they take place in the maze-like, narrow
streets of European cities.

What we can learn from it: Not only the vehicles are important, but also
where the chase takes place. The more stuff alonside the road, the more
damage can be done. The more difficult the terrain, the better. :smiley:

Of course finest stuff you write down, but when talking about movie chases please don't forget the ultimate klimax!
I mean when morpheus and the other fighters in the second matrix film are chased by these cool white ghosts through the city and then on the freeway.
After the heroes car is sieved by bullets one ghosts switch over in hand to hand maneuver inside the vehicle and after this...and after this.... and don't forget the massive pileup... ah and keep trinity and neo in mind who come to rescue their friends... and the best thing, the rear-end collision between the two trucks in slow motion :smiley:
This scene combines action, dynamic, drama and a lot of variety when all the different heroes(morpheus, neo, trinity) fight the battle on their own but also for their loved comrades to rescue them and reunite each other.
If the GM can handle this situation with I think at least three different ''plotlines'' in this situation this would be a great experience for all players!

[color=darkblue]Let's not forget our non-Contemporary friends!

In Willow, there's a fantastic low-tech chase scene wherein the heroes are aboard a runaway wagon pulled by charging horses. They're pursued by armed horsemen, and not only have to fight off their foes, but their unsteered wagon often rocks violently, careens into the air, and at one point loses a wheel (or an entire axle, I forget), threatening to dump the characters out of the fast moving vehicle and under the hooves of their enemies' horses. This could easily happen to any 69AD or 1860's PCs. I've always considered it one of the best action chase scenes I've ever seen, in any genre.

Also, in The Minority Report, Tom Cruise's character actually runs away by leaping from moving car to moving car down the side of a skyscraper. This is very in tune with the 2056 setting, where hovercraft and hi tech make it possible to have chases in more than two dimensions.

No mention of The Transporter?

Let us not forget Sleepy Hollow, where the headless horseman chases a coach and horses down a forested lane. Another low-tech chase. The hero has a slower vehicle, but the important part is that he's horribly overmatched in a stand-up fight. What makes it interesting from a GM perspective is that he doesn't just have to avoid being run off the road, he has to get away.

And, of course, there are the Mad Max films, which have any number of thrilling chase sequences.

The first Transporter-movie stole about 80 % of the finale from
Raiders of the Lost Ark (mentioned above). Though I gotta admit,
that both installments definitly feature some cool new car-stunts
(like getting rid of a bomb mounted to the bottom of the car
while driving it)
I didn't see much interesting in those movies directionwise for
gamemasters, but there's surely a ton of inspiration for players.
The main character is a wonderful example for a very expierenced
Maverick Pilot.

On the other hand: If you found something in this movie we can
learn from, please share your thoughts with us. That is what this
thread is about. :slight_smile:

Hey men the whole TAXI movie, we forgot about the one film brimming with action driving scenes... here you get inspiration 8)

The French Connection contains perhaps the original/defining modern action blockbuster chase: a car racing the wrong way through traffic, beneath the elevated tracks of the commuter train it's chasing.

The lesson: vehicular mismatch (car vs. train) is interesting. Also, eliminating some choice from one of the chasing parties (the train's gonna go where the train's gonna go) doesn't necessarily decrease the tension, and in some cases, can actually increase it.

Once that chase is over, it becomes a foot chase in one of the train stations.

Lesson: A chase doesn't need to end in one of the parties getting away, or catching the other. A chase can lead to another chase.

The French Connection also includes some of the most intense foot chases I've ever seen on film. The interesting elements of these are more cinematic — the sound of their breathing, the intensity of their speed — than narrative, so they're not as instructive for our Feng Shui purposes, but for a student of film, they're must-watch material.

Speaking of classics:

North by Northwest
This Hitchcock classic has a lot of cool scenes only the master could
have come up with.

Scene 1: Our here is mistaken for a secret agent and the villains
want to off him in a "subtle" manner. They make him VERY drunk
by force and place him in a running car on a serpentine road expecting
him to drive off the cliff.
But they underestimated the heroes drinking capabilities... he
escapes, though he drives like a ... well.. drunk.

What we can learn from it: Under usual circumstances your characters
may be good drivers, but what when they are drunk, drugged or
handicapped otherwise ? What if they percept their environment
differently from what it really is ?
Btw.: A long living German crime TV series, called "Tatort" made use
of a scenario similar to this one. Inspector Schimanski was given
heroine by force and placed in his car... he virtually drove "amok" after
that... of course this didn't impress his chief.

Scene 2: This scene is perhaps one of the most famous movie scenes
ever. Our hero, hoping to meet some informant, waits in a bright, open
area. Of course it is a trap and the villains send a plane to assissinate
him with pesticide. All he can do is run, desparately looking for cover.

What we can learn from it: Turn a cliche assissination scenario into
a memorable scene. Hitchcock "inverted" everything about the scene.
Instead of placing it in a dark night setting in a dark alley, he put it
into a completely different environment.
Of course a plane chasing a pedestrian is a cool scene. Your players
will surely have alot of trouble getting out of that. I have plans
to use a similar setting involving the player's car and a Harrier Jump Jet. :smiley:

I thought the same thing until I saw Casino Royale.

The rest of the movie was almost anticlimactic after that opening chase through the construction site. (But not quite...)

As to car/vehicle chases, Tom Cruise's motorcycle shenanigans in Mission Impossible 2 are worth a look for cool bike work, even if the rest of the movie is sub-par John Woo.

Speaking of the Transporter, I haven't seen Crank yet... I can't imagine that doesn't have some chase-worthy moments, given the premise.

-Jim C.

I am afraid I will HAVE to do this... :wink:

When do we get movement rates for ArM5 so we can do this in a more satisfying manner? O:)

Not to mention that in the same movie the villain deploys a majorly evil way to get rid of Bond's pursuit. Dump the hostage on the road...

If it's truly Feng-Shui worthy foot chases that you're looking for, I can recomment watching District 13 (aka Banlieue 13).
Near-future setting among a walled off enclave of dispossessed? Check.
Villain with army of gun-toting thugs? Check.
Plot strangely reminiscent of Escape from ... in parts? Check.
Jason Statham's stunt double and fight co-ordinator? Check.
Barmy French guy with thing for running over/through/down buildings? Check, verily!

It's brilliant as a resource if you ever get a player asking why they should use Martial Arts for doing daft physical stunts - as well as providing a host of ideas for ways to traverse cities - a 'sport' known as 'parkour', and partially invented by one of the stars of the film.

[color=darkblue]Hey, I just rented this movie (District 13) about two weeks ago. Not bad. The foot chase scenes were indeed inspiring.

Speaking of cool chases, I've alway been intrigued by the final scenes in Wrath of Khan where the Enterprise plays hide-n-seek in a gas nebula with Khan's stolen ship. I love the idea of two or more bad-ass powerful ships creeping around, and suddenly popping up right in front of each other for only a few seconds. It'd be fantastic if I could recreate a tense, split -second "chase" like that, but I don't know how I'd keep the suspense built up.

The same thing with the submarine pursuits in Hunt for Red October. I love the scenes where they sorta' know where the enemy is, but they can't quite pinpoint them, and it's more about stealthy maneuvering, guesswork, and luck than an outright pedal-to-the-metal chase.

I think it'd be hard to recreate the randomness of moving around your opponent, unable to see them, and then periodically 'accidentally' coming into contact with them maybe just long enough to get off a shot or two. Without relagating the scene to a bunch of dice rolls, I haven't worked out a good way to mimic that gimmick.

It's basically the classic "two men with guns in a darkened, ruined building" skit, done large (or, in the case of ...Khan, very large). Some suspenseful music could help, or a sound-effects track of muffled footsteps, creaking boards and that kind of thing ([grin] there's a reason I've raided charity shop and market stalls for budget CDs). Mostly I'd do it as description, amping up the suspense by describing the setting, with the die rolls only when they actually catch sight of each other. I would be tempted to randomise the movements of the other GMC, as otherwise it's hard to run them as if they're not just stalking the PC, but that's just me. And there's always the "you catch a glimpse of movement ..." - which turns out to be just the cat - thing (aka the 'Jonesy effect'), which might put them off snap-shooting at any movement - especially as gunshots will draw the enemy - unless of course someone (the GMC perhaps) uses noises etc to draw the player in ...