Drive (film) on Netflix Instant

Drive

2011 | Crime Thriller/Drama Movie | Watch Drive on Amazon Video Instant

A sleeper hit, this retro crime thriller does a fantastic job of giving the past a solid nod. From the title sequence to its throwback sound track Drive embodies the flavor of the late 70’s early 80’s. Part classic western and part redemption tale  – think ‘the dark, troubled hero with no name’ – Drive delivers a strong albeit simple story and fair share of solid performances.

Goslings brooding, quiet and bordering-on-jaded melancholy really sell this ‘good guy, with a troubled past’ character with-out the need for the over-tired movie mechanism – the flashback. Gosling is a Hollywood stunt driver by day, and a talented heist wheel man by night.

While the film focuses on the relationship that emerges between the driver and his rough-around-the-edges but still sorta girl-next-door neighbor, all eyes are on the cars and the driving.


Watch Drive on Netflix Instant


PRO: Some great cars from across several generations and some great driving sequences.

CON: While its a decent car-guy movie, it’s ultimately a crime/relationship focused flick so some car guys may tune out at times.


XXX (film) on Netflix Instant

XXX

2002 | Action Adventure Movie | Watch XXX on Amazon

Billed as “007 meets MTV”, XXX is an edgy, modern spy flick that’s light on dialogue, and heavily stuffed with gobs of violence & action. XXX (pronounced ‘triple x’) stars a buffed, tattooed Vin Diesel as Xander ‘XXX’ Cage’.

Xander is a stunt loving, authority hating, extreme sports & adrenaline junky and, as it turns out, martial artist, weapons expert and natural born secret agent. Obviously neither the story nor the acting brought XXX to our list – so why is it here?

It makes the list as a car movie because of the incredible GTO that plays a prominent role primarily in the third act of the movie. The 1967 Pontiac GTO starts out as a rather tame, hot rod GTO.

Late in the movie the car gets the Q treatment (or this franchises’s version of Q) and gets outfitted with the excessive gadgetry we all love in our fictional spy flicks – M72 LAW & M136 AT4 rocket launchers, M134 Miniguns, flame thrower, parachutes, ejection seat and a hidden arsenal beneath the flip up rear seat.


Watch XXX on Netflix Instant


PRO: Lots of stuff blows up, and the final act has a decent land/sea chase sequence – and who hasn’t wished their daily driver was equipped with missiles and a flame thrower.

CON: It’s barely watchable as a serious dramatic film. As long as viewers understand the pure thrill inducing purpose of it, np minds will be blown and you’ll have a great time watching this flick.


Ronin (film) on Netflix Instant

Ronin

1998 | Crime Action Movie | Watch Ronin on Amazon

A gritty, fairly authentic feeling crime movie in which professional criminals are pulled together by a central figure to acquire a package, the contents of which no one really knows. The acting is top notch, the dialogue sparse and story believable.

While not strictly a car movie, Ronin sports some of the most dynamic and edge of the seat driving scenes in cinematic history. This is seriously a must-watch for the chase sequences alone.


Watch Ronin on Netflix Instant


PRO: Hands down some of the best car chase/action sequences on film.

CON: A good portion of the film is spent not focused on cars or driving.


The Expendables (film) on Netflix Instant

The Expendables

2010 | Action Thriller Film | Watch The Expendables on Amazon

Stallone’s adrenaline fueled, testosterone packed action flick The Expendables employed a cast stuffed to the brim with the industries most beloved action stars. It’s a mindless rampages of bullets, explosions and fight scenes – EXACTLY what we wanted it to be!

The reason it makes out list is of course the gorgeous 1955 Ford 100. Built by West Coast Customs specifically for the movie, this smoothed & semigloss skinned, chop topped, rolled & tucked beast sits at eh very top of my ‘I-wish-I-had-one-of-those’ list.


Watch The Expendables on Netflix Instant


PRO: The hottest old school custom rod we’ve seen on screen in a good long while.

CON: Having to watch the stunt versions of the truck get chewed up in the action


Death Race 2 (film) on Netflix Instant

Death Race 2

2010 | Action Movie | Watch Death Race 2 on Amazon

This movie makes the list for being not nearly as terrible as I thought it would be. Death Race 2, the direct-to-DVD prequel to the 2008 Death Race (staring  Jason Stathem) which was billed as a prequel to the 1975 David Carradine classic Death Race 2000.

The general premise of the film is that corruption, rampant corporatization of power and massive fiscal failure has ravaged society. Corporations operate the world’s prisons who, not unlike ancient Rome’s gladiatorial games, pits inmates against one another in pay-per-view fights to the death.

As hand-to-hand combat to-the-death becomes passe and the people’s blood thirst begins to wane, the corporations up the ante to re-engage the masses – adding beastly cars with heavy artillery to the meat grinding festivities.


Watch Death Race 2 on Netflix Instant


PRO: The acting and special effects weren’t nearly as bad as I was expecting from a direct-to-DVD

CON: Despite it’s best efforts and solid B team list of actors, it didn’t win any awards for story or dialogue.


Born 2 Race (film) on Netflix Instant

Born 2 Race

2011 | Action Movie | Watch Born 2 Race on Amazon

I didn’t have high hopes for this film – Born 2 Race – as a rule of thumb when a title uses a number in place of a word… it’s not gonna be great. However, this movie really surprised me. The start felt remarkably like one of the Fast & Furious franchise films (Tokyo Drift in particular), but it quickly sheds it’s shell, gets it’s bearings late in the first act, and takes off.

Most low budget car movies inject their cheesy dialogue with incoherent strings of random genre buzz words. This films scores high on the fact-check test with realistic tech and car-related dialogue. This was a nice departure form most low budget car movies. (See 200 MPH for example)

The premise is rather simple – a high school teen with a penchant for street racing gets himself into more trouble than his mom can handle. Frustrated she send him to live with his estranged dad – a recently sobered, former NASCAR driver.

What follows could be described as Karate Kid, but with cars. Don’t let that oversimplification fool you- despite sounding like a late 80’s after school special, this is a really watchable car movie. The tired story arc is propped up by decent dialogue, believable acting and remarkable camera work.


Watch Born 2 Race on Netflix Instant


PRO: Cars are a central character in this film. They are the sinew that binds a troubled teen to his estranged father and ultimately allows them to bridge the gap that grown between them.

CON: The general premise seems a bit tired and has been explored dozens of times on film.


Planes Trains Automobiles (film) on Netflix Instant

Planes, Trains & Automobiles

1987 | Comedy Film | Watch Planes, Trains & Automobiles on Amazon

A comedy classic & Steve Martin / John Candy staple directed by the venerable John Huges – Planes, Trains & Automobiles is an odd couple/buddy film following the most maddening torturous & joyously humorous cross country road trip ever undertaken.

While the attire is obviously dated, the comedy is classic and still compels a good laugh. It’s light on attention to any particular car, but heavy on variation as the fellows hop from one form of transport to another in their effort to reach Chicago.


Watch Planes, Trains & Automobiles on Netflix Instant


PRO: Still funny 26 years later

CON: No central iconic vehicle to focus on


Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (film) on Netflix Instant

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

1968 | Family Movie | Watch Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on Amazon

This is one of those wacky live action family movies that cemented Disney in the hearts & minds of my generation. Dick Van Dyke stars as a crack pot inventor aptly named Caractacus Potts and co-stars an incredible transforming  flying car with tons of unique character.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, named thus for the sound it’s engine makes transports the characters and viewers alike on a magical journey with a foul baddie, and plenty of family friendly adventure.

Note: The original car built for and used in the film was gifted to one of the crew as part of his back pay after production had wrapped. The car recently sold to radio personality Chris Evans for £500,000!


Watch Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on Netflix Instant


PRO: Very family-centric, classic late 60’s live action Disney film complete with musical numbers and a stunning performance from Dick Van Dyke.

CON: While the car itself is iconic, the movie is definitely geared toward the youngest members of the family and not going to play well in today’s cynical CG saturated audience.


License to Drive (film) on Netflix Instant

License to Drive

1988 | Comedy Film | Watch License to Drive on Amazon

A throwback coming of age movie about a 16 year old (played by Corey Haim) who fails the driver’s test and doesn’t get his license to drive, but take’s the family car out for a spin anyway. Pressured by a cute girl at school who wants a ride and by his pal (played by Corey Feldmen) Haim takes the immaculate 1972 Cadillac Sedan DeVille out for a night on the town.

As one might expect, things do not go smoothly and the pair of Corey’s quickly find themselves in an unanticipated adventure wherein the car gets rather abused.


Watch License to Drive on Netflix Instant


PRO: Great coming of age flick where the car plays a central part in the process. Should bring a flash of nostalgia – transporting you back to when you were so close to being able to drive you could almost taste it and when the idea of driving was synonymous with freedom.

CON: Classic 80’s teen cutup films have a fairly formulaic and under polished feel to them. You’ll find yourself mixing up moments from this film with a dozen other very similar films.


200 MPH (film) on Netflix Instant

200 MPH

2011 | Action & Adventure Movie | Watch 200 MPH on Amazon

A group of ‘car savvy’ youths work to improve a car’s performance in an effort to reach 200 MPH so one of them can win a race against the drug dealer that killed his brother. Yes. That’s the plot. It’s a car movie about people who are clueless about cars, by people who are clueless about cares, for people who are clueless about cars.

Initially I noted this movie as possibly appealing to the import/tuner crowd – but after watching it I decided to keep it on the list for a whole other reason. This film made the list not because of it’s incredible attention to motoring detail, but rather due to it’s utter lack of car knowledge in general.

There are so many blatant mistakes and dialogue errors you barely notice the incredibly poor acting and ridiculous CG. See if you can spot all of the errors. The hero car is referred to repeatedly as an MX5 (Miata), when it’s clearly a Mazda RX7.

Somewhere in the movie the RX7 hero car inexplicably becomes a Nissan 240sx.  Apparently the important detail for continuity was that the car remain green.  My favorite was when an edgy. tough chick, Michelle Rodreguiz wanna-be mechanic complains the hero has messed up the cars timing – which she fixes with a twist of the dipstick…yes.  wait what..? On and on goes this comedy of errors.


Watch 200 MPH on Netflix Instant


PRO: This movie should be on your list of car movie favorites purely because of its ridiculously low level of effort and poor attention to detail.

CON: By watching this movie you run a pretty good chance of losing a few dozen brain cells and at least 30 points off your IQ – you’ve been warned 😛


Smokey and the Bandit 2 (film) on Netflix Instant

Smokey and the Bandit II

1980 | Comedy Film | Watch Smokey and the Bandit 2 on Amazon

Although I personally prefer the original, Smokey and the Bandit II delivers a lot of the same flavor and character that made the original a car lovers classic. The notorious and lovable Bandit in his trademark gold-on-black, eagle crested Trans Am continues to befuddle the small-town Sheriff Bufford T. Justice.

This sequel is packed with plenty of dated punchlines, innuendo and Dukes-of-Hazzard-esque stunt driving and full of familiar faces from the awkwardly paired father & son Burdette duo to the inept Sheriff & his kin.

Acting-wise Gleason carries this film as much as he did in the original with a bit of help from (popular at the time) Dom DeLuise. While Bandit II won’t make your video collection’s top shelf for it’s dramatic or cinematic contributions, it’s got some great scenes where the iconic Trans Am steals the movie. Totally worth a re-watch, if even only for the epic final battle sequence.


Watch Smokey and the Bandit II on Netflix Instant


PRO: Classic 80’s car flick – Plenty of cocky one-liners and some wee-inducing, dirt slinging peel outs.

CON: Spends more time attempting to be funny and witty than I remember from watching it as a kid. C’mon Bandit, leave Forrest Gump’s momma alone and put some shoe leather to floorboard already son.


 What did we miss? Share your choices in the comments below!