The Hire series of short films starring Clive Owen as a driver in increasingly tense and ludicrous situations are pure advertising hype for some very nice BMWs, but also feature some of the world's best directors getting let loose to do the best car chase scene money can buy, and that worked out very nicely for everyone concerned.
In Guy Ritchie's wonderfully frivolous effort, Owen has never, ever been funnier than his split-second jazz hands of madness, and Madonna shows more self reflection than you'd ever expect. It might be full of the most obvious musical drops known to humanity, but is seven minutes of exceptional comic timing, vicious justice and balls-out city driving.
There are no such laughs and bugger all car action in The Follow from Wong Kar-Wai, although there is a lot going when Owen at the bar, thinking his head off, or in his rambling, poetic voiceover.
After Ronin, you always know that Frankenheimer's effort would be some classic meat and potatoes car action, with plenty of balls-to-the wall acceleration and crisp, clear editing. But Ang Lee's film offered a different kind of car chase, less about the speed and heavy on the graceful turns and spins.
This went out into the world before YouTube existed, so a lot of the films have dated badly and look exactly of the era they were made, but Tony Scott's film is eternal, and isTony Scott at his most Tony Scott. It's the only time you'll ever get Owen, James Brown, Gary Oldman, Danny Trejo and Marilyn Manson in the same film, has an old man racing the devil to regain his legendary youth; and employs every single cinematic trick in the book, in the way that only Tony Scott could ever do.
I'm never going to buy a BMW, so I'm not the target market for these films, but boy, did they serve up some thrills.