The Chase (1994 film)

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The Chase
The movie cover for The Chase.
Directed by Adam Rifkin
Produced by Cassian Elwes
Brad Wyman
Written by Adam Rifkin
Starring Charlie Sheen
Kristy Swanson
Rocky Carroll
Henry Rollins
Josh Mostel
Ray Wise
Music by Richard Gibbs
Cinematography Alan Jones
Edited by Peter Schink
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • March 4, 1994 (1994-03-04)
Running time
89 min.
Language English
Budget $4.5 million
Box office $7,924,955

The Chase is a 1994 action comedy film starring Charlie Sheen and Kristy Swanson. Released a few months before the real-life O. J. Simpson chase that also took place in California, the film includes Henry Rollins as a police officer and features cameos from both Anthony Kiedis and Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Ron Jeremy. It references Apocalypse Now (after the ending credits) and Convoy, and inspired the song "Charlie Sheen Vs. Henry Rollins" by Alexisonfire.

Plot summary

In its essentials, the plot is the same as that of Roger Corman's 1955 film The Fast and the Furious.

Twenty-eight-year-old Jackson "Jack" Davis Hammond (Charlie Sheen) is sentenced to 25 years in prison for an armed robbery he did not commit, but manages to escape. To get away from the police while at a convenience store, he takes a hostage, California heiress Natalie Voss (Kristy Swanson), the only daughter of multimillionaire Dalton Voss (Ray Wise). Threatening Natalie with a candy bar, posing for a gun, Jack disarms a pair of unseasoned, intervening officers. Jack takes their guns then drives off in Natalie's BMW. The chase quickly becomes broadcast live on every TV channel, with scenes filming news coverage from helicopters, the back seat of a police car, and the pavement of the highway. Natalie eventually gets to know Jack during the chase, and later sympathizes with the "gun-wielding, cop-shooting, maniac kidnapper" by comparing her life to his and realizes their similarities despite having different backgrounds. She falls in love with him and begins to believe in him. Later, they start kissing and end up having sex while Jack is driving. Jack plans on escaping into Mexico and Natalie proposes a future together.

When the cops block off the border crossing to Mexico, Jack stops before reaching the border, and releases Natalie. She reluctantly leaves and in the final confrontation with the police, Jack appears to be defiant and goes down in a blaze of glory. Moments later, however, this is revealed to be a mental projection of what would happen if he does not surrender. Jack surrenders, but Natalie takes a television producer hostage with the gun given to her by Jack before she was surrendered to the police. Natalie blows up a nearby police helicopter, hijacks a news helicopter, and escapes with Jack across the border into Mexico. The next scene reveals that after some time has passed, they are relaxing in freedom on a beach.

Notable cast and cameos


  • The director told Henry Rollins that he was funnier than the lines written in the script. Consequently, almost all of his performance is ad libbed.
  • The extensive chase and crash scenes were not filmed on a California expressway, but on a newly completed and unopened stretch of highway in Harris County, on the north side of Houston, Texas (specifically- the Hardy Tollway and a stretch of U.S. 290). Dozens of mature palm trees were trucked in and planted along the highway to provide southern California ambiance.
  • The car used by Charlie Sheen throughout most of the film is a red BMW E36 325iS (Natalie's car), however during some parts of the love-making scene between him and Swanson, it is shot in a larger BMW E34 5 Series.

Critical reaction

The film earned mostly negative reviews from critics, holding a 33% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 18 reviews.

Chicago Sun Times critic Roger Ebert wrote at the time: "'The Chase,' a movie named with unerring accuracy, takes place mostly in a car on a California expressway, where love blooms during a high-speed police pursuit. Once you grasp that premise, you know where the movie's going and more or less everything that is going to happen in it, so the surprise is that 'The Chase' does such a good job within its limited range." Ebert gave the film two-and-a-half stars.[1]

Critic James Berardinelli, who also gave the movie two-and-a-half stars out of four,[2] said: "As an example of modern cinematic art, The Chase is an utter failure. As a character study, it can't get past the comic book stage. As a tightly-plotted thriller, it's missing about half the storyline. But, as a piece of unfettered, unpretentious entertainment, it hits the bullseye."

Both Ebert and Berardinelli gave particular attention and praise to the movie's criticism of the television news industry (reporters for various networks covering the chase/hostage situation perform absurd, even dangerous, stunts in order to one-up each other in pursuit of a better 'exclusive', and the networks, rather than cover the story in a professional manner, add taglines to the story like "TERROR ON THE HIGHWAY" in an obvious effort to bolster ratings.)


It has not been confirmed that an official soundtrack was released, but this is the movie's music listing:

  1. One Dove – "Breakdown (Radio Mix)"
  2. Suede – "The Next Life"
  3. Stephen Stuart Short – "Macho Man" (written by the Village People)
  4. Bad Religion – "Two Babies in the Dark"
  5. The Offspring – "Forever and a Day"
  6. Down By Law – "Our Own Way"
  7. Rollins Band – "Shine"
  8. Dan Carlson – "House"
  9. Rancid – "Adina"
  10. The Offspring – "Take It Like a Man"
  11. Rancid – "The Bottle"
  12. NOFX – "Please Play This Song on the Radio"
  13. NOFX – "Warm"


The movie was released on DVD September 6, 2005.


  1. Roger Ebert (1994-03-04). "The Chase". The Sun-Times Company. Retrieved 2010-01-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. James Berardinelli (1994). "The Chase (1994)". Reelviews. Retrieved 2010-01-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

de:The Chase