If you love fun car films but don’t know the genre outside of the Fast & Furious franchise, here are some good ones to check out.
Everyone loves fun car films. With Fast X spawning a spin-off and sequel and Gran Tusimo (out on VOD Tuesday) doing decent business at the box office, the genre isn’t going anywhere. We thought now would be a good time to check out some less-known (or underrated) entries into the genre.
Taxi (series, 1998-2018)
We’re going to cheat right off the start by counting this whole series and one entry on this list. The films here are action-comedy classics for fans of French movies and those who love a good car stunt. The first established the characters, but the second is possibly the best of the bunch. Only die-hard fans will want to bother from the third to the fourth to the fifth. However, those first two are worth seeking out what the French do with a modified Peugeot 406, the vacation town of Nice, and a cast that most will recognize from other movies (Marion Cotillard, anyone?). The first film was written by Luc Besson and directed by Gerard Pirès, and the second was written by Besson and directed by Gérard Krawczyk (who also directed the third and fourth films). These are fun and filled with crazier and crazier stunts as they go.
This one is from Norway and takes more of a family angle, bringing together a father and daughter in a race from Oslo to North Cape, across Norway, in classic muscle cars. The film is a thrill ride, but it also brings the element of family that the Fast & Furious films love so much more logically and believably. The relationship between father and daughter here is done with care and just the right amount of emotion. It makes the film that much deeper, while the cars make it exciting.
The Wraith (1986)
A classic in its own right, The Wraith took the midnight movie and cult classic road to becoming a beloved and sought out film. The story here is a bit more sci-fi than a car film, but the fact that a spirit comes down from space, taking the shape of a car in a town where a violent gang runs car races is something more than worth checking out on its own. The soundtrack here is so 1980s, it’s tubular. The cast here includes Charlie Sheen, Sherilyn Fenn, Nick Cassavetes, Randy Quaid, and Clint Howard. This is one 1980s sci-fi romp that is not to be missed.
Initial D (2005)
Coming our one year before Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift, this film and its original anime are a clear influence on it. The story of Initial D is that of a poor delivery driver who loves to drift, making his name while delivering tofu. It’s a fun film and a great introduction to drifting. The film also has a story that is more than just set-ups for the races, giving the audience something extra to watch between the car sequences. The characters and cars are Japanese with a cast of Chinese actors with three Toyota AE86 Sprinter Truenos used which had not been in production for decades. This is a fun film that is a must watch for fans of drifting.
Days of Thunder (1990)
A Tony Scott film starring Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, and Robert Duvall, this one should need more written about it than just that. This one is about Nascar and is the type of film that grabs you and makes you go through a gamut of emotion as it goes through its paces. The film mixes real racing footage with the scenes shot for the film itself. Some of it has not aged so well, there are some errors, but it’s a good film overall and one that brings Nascar to the general public, giving a view of a sport not all are familiar with. It also has some strong performances, something that really elevates this film as a whole.
Death Race series (1975, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2017, 2018)
This series is a bit like the Terminator of car race films in that it has multiple timelines. The original, Death Race 2000 came out in 1975 starring David Carradine as Frankenstein and costarring Sylvester Stallone. Its direct sequel is Death Race 2050 that was released in 2017. The films that came in-between and after these are its remake and the sequels/prequels to the remake. The whole timeline is a bit of a mess, and it doesn’t really matter as each film is pretty much watchable on its own. Of course, purists will say that only the very first one matters, but if you have seen the others, you’ve seen some crazy car stunts and some stories that just don’t connect well. That being said, this series is fun and sometimes, that’s all that matters.
Flying under the radar, this one is all about luxury cars as it owes a lot to the Gone in 60 Seconds films as well as a bunch of others. Scott Eastwood joined the Fast & Furious series the same year as this was released, leaving Overdrive a bit in the shadow of the bigger franchise. Overdrive is about two car stealing brothers who run afoul of the local mob while doing what they do best, steal cars. The family element is here again, but what most will want to see this film for will be the cars. The number of luxury and exotic cars on display here, being stolen or shown, is the main attraction. Don’t worry about the story, it’s thin at best, just come for the cars and you’ll be happy. The film includes a 1953 Jaguar XK 120 DHC, a 1959 Austin-Healey 3000 Series I, a 1956 Porsche 356 A Speedster Replica, and a 1978 Aston Martin V8 Volante to name but a few. This is car porn through and through and not a film most will want to see for the story.
Drive Angry (2011)
Drive Angry is not a typical car pursuit film as it mixes the supernatural into the story on many levels. However, the 1969 Dodge Charger R/T that becomes central to the story is one beautiful muscle car and it’s a whole lot of fun to watch it go through the film here. It’s not a race or heist film, but more of a pursuit film, setting it apart from the other movies on this list in that way, but it’s still a car film and car lovers are known for loving that aspect of it. Most importantly, it’s really entertaining from start to finish, something too few movies seem to aim at anymore.
Of course, these are but 10 car films and when including all car films, may they be action films, comedies, or dramas, the list of films to watch goes on and on. The Fast & Furious franchise may be making the most money out of them all, but checking out what other countries are producing as well as what has been done before is never a bad idea for entertainment and learning the history of the genre.
Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/fun-car-films/