Some people look for artistry in film, while others want raw entertainment. This is evidenced by the lineup of the 2013 Tokyo International Film Festival. Unlike its Cannes counterpart, the TIFF catered to pop culture and fun films. Part of the reason is because we love action packed movies. We relate to the characters as human beings, but their wild stunts and super skills are what drive the fantasy. From the Key Stone Cops driving a car on top of a train, to the virtual reality cycles of Tron, these movies make us want to mimic our film heroes, even if it is only in the mind’s eye.
Daniel Craig is a stud, no doubt about it. As James Bond, he is the man all men want to be. He is suave, has the girls and the gadgets, and can ride a motorcycle like a beast. Of course, Craig does not do his own motorcycle stunts. In the movie “Skyfall,” Bond takes a Honda CRF250R through a Middle Eastern bazaar and over roof tops, wearing a dashing suit and tie. In reality, stuntman Robbie Maddison and his team performed the stunts wearing the kind of high tech protective gear you would find at a motorcycle store and not at Gucci.
“The Place Beyond The Pines” is a movie about a motorcycle stuntman, so the stunts better be sensational. Ryan Gosling, who plays the main character of the film, did about 70 percent of his own riding, but the stunt coordination was the work of stuntman Brian Smyj. At one point in the movie, Gosling was driving against traffic as 47 stunt drivers moved past him at high speed. Any stunt with that many moving parts is full of risk, but the end effect is more than worth it.
Indiana Jones drove a motorcycle, a car, a truck, and a camel. It did not appear that he enjoyed any of them. One of the quintessential auto stunts is when Indie is trying to get the truck containing the Ark Of The Covenant. Throughout the scene, he is driving the truck, on top of the truck, in front of it, and under it. According to stuntman Vic Armstrong, Harrison Ford actually wanted to do most of his own stunts. He was told that he cannot do them all, which is good considering that the stunt where he is being pulled under the truck was thought to be the most dangerous of the film.
In “The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift” we see cars do things that cars should not be able to do. This is especially true with the drift, which is that half slide, half spin that the race cars do on the turn. When the movie came out in 2006, people all over the country tried to drift their cars. The drifting was seldom as impressive as the traffic tickets that they received doing it.