Charlize Theron is dumping the robot arm and signing on as the new villain for (count them) the eighth Fast & Furious movie. There will also be other changes in the film franchise of cars stunts, crashes, and barely clad women that started back in 2001. Scott Eastwood (son of Clint Eastwood) replaces the late Paul Walker (died in a car crash in 2013) as a new character in Vin Diesel’s team of rogue road warriors.
But seriously, if it is just about cool cars and crazy chases there is no reason to wait until next year for awesome automotive cinema.
Here are seven films to satisfy the car craze.
7. “Bullitt” (1968)
This is the film that mastered the modern cool car chase. Every other movie is a just copycat. Join police Lieutenant Frank Bullitt (Steve McQueen) in a muscle car duel (Dodge Charger vs. Ford Mustang) through the crowded streets of San Francisco.
6. “The Getaway” (1972)
Steve McQueen (who drove race cars when he wasn’t making movies) this time is Doc McCoy, a bank robber on the run being chased by just about everybody. It is high-speed stuff from beginning to end; though in the end McQueen escapes to Mexico in an old pickup truck—not cool. The 1994 remake of the film is passable, but Alec Baldwin is just not the same as the King of Cool.
5. “Batman” (1989)
There has always been a Batmobile, but Michael Keaton drove one of the coolest in this reboot of the cinema caped crusader.
4. “Back to the Future” (1985)
Michael J. Fox got to ride in what may be the most iconic car in movie history—a DeLorean piloted by an eccentric time-traveling scientist. The movie did way better than the car company.
3. “The Cannonball Run” (1981)
Before there was Fast & Furious, Burt Reynolds buckled-up for this comedic cross-country race. This movie was just basically a redo of “Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies” (1969) with way more spiffy cars.
2. “Death Race 2000” (1975)
In this B-movie sci-fi cult classic David Carradine heads the murderous Transcontinental Road Race, a form of national entertainment— basically the Hunger Games on wheels. It is just a lot of weird race cars and mayhem, but what the heck. There was an awful remake in 2008, lacking all the satire and humor of the original film.
1. “Eat My Dust!” (1976)
Ron Howard stars in this red-hot car race. It’s really a pretty mediocre film, but it started the former child actor on his path to directing, so it all ended well.
Seriously, what cool car movie did we miss? Please don’t reply “Cars” (2006).