How many times have you sat down with the family to watch the latest big-budget Hollywood blockbuster on a Saturday night, desperate for your... Why are bike chases in films so ridiculous?

How many times have you sat down with the family to watch the latest big-budget Hollywood blockbuster on a Saturday night, desperate for your fix of choreographed violence, laughably unlikely plotlines, frustratingly child-friendly sex scenes and grossly exaggerated pyrotechnic displays? We’ve got a lot to thank the likes of Scorsese, Tarantino and Spielberg for. You can be rest assured that whenever one of these top Tinseltown movie directors appears on the Jonathan Ross show spouting about their latest flick, it’s surely the kind of thing that’ll have audiences on the very edges of their cinema seats. Or their sofas, if they can be arsed to wait for it to come out on VHS. Or Blue-ray DVD. Or Netflix. Or something.

The fighting, the shagging and the needless explosions are all part of the cinematic experience, and although they seldom have anything to do with the actual storyline, we, the audience, love a bit of it. It’s all a bit over the top, but that’s fine, that’s what you sign up to when you pay through the nose for a cinema ticket. But there has to be a line drawn at some point.

Now where you draw that line is up to you, but I’ll tell you where I draw mine. I draw the line at the humble car and bike chase. I don’t mind the idea of it; the baddy is in a car, so the goody steals a bike to make his escape – that’s fine. But it’s never as simple as that.

First of all, the protagonist, riding one handed, always manages to find a few hundred rounds in his 32-round clip as he sprays 9mm slugs out the end of his Uzi. All of his shots seem to find a target, as returning fire from countless AK-47s miraculously misses him.

And that’s not all the Hollywood mathematicians have got to answer for; I don’t know of one motorcycle with a 50-speed gearbox, yet all the bikes in the movies seem to have them. Every shaky camera-pan seems to have half a dozen upshifts and you rarely see a downshift. What are these bikes?

What are these bikes indeed? That’s a much more difficult question than you might expect it to be. That bike that you would swear is a BMW S 1000 RR, actually sounds more like a Honda CR 250 two-stroke motocross bike. And that bike that looks just like a Ducati 916, sounds more like a Formula 1 car. I don’t know who’s fitting such weird and wonderful engines and gearboxes to these bikes, but they needn’t bother.

You have to ask yourself, why on earth would the dubbing mixers waste studio time recording the wrong sound to dub over their car and bike chases? What’s wrong with the sound the actual bike makes? You’ve got it there, right in front of you, why don’t you just use it, ya dick? Or are you doing it just to annoy me?

I’ve entitled this rant ‘Why are bike chases in films so ridiculous?’ but unfortunately, if you came here looking for a sensible and genuine answer, you’re going to be left wanting. All I can offer is some conjecture. Some speculation, if you will.

I think the people that are responsible for the aforementioned film faux pas genuinely don’t know their arses from their elbows when it comes to motorcycles. And I think they need to get it sorted. It’s one thing having a plot that’s as far fetched as piss from China, but when you are changing the noise a bike makes just for the sake of it, you need to have a word with yourself.

Sort it out Hollywood, before you loose yet another fan.

Boothy

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BK822
BK822
26 days ago

What gets me in these chases is how the cars can match the pace of the bikes. Any retro naked can outrun almost any 4-wheel lump in the very first seconds. Add traffic and it’s even quicker. Sportsbikes have outrun friggin Helicopters fer chrissake.

Tim
Tim
1 month ago

I’ve always been amazed of how they can build such cool sounding bikes! I mean for example the RnineT in one of the later mission impossible films. I would assume that they would use the normal boxer twin. But somehow they have managed to fit an inline4 looking EXACTLY as the normal boxer engine! how cool isn’t that!? xD

Pranwy
Pranwy
1 month ago

I can’t remember what film it was but I recently watched a film where they were riding obviously electric bikes but they’d played a super sport engine noise over them

Caesar
Caesar
1 month ago

One of these i’ve noticed is in terminator 2 where the little motocross that kid rides is clearly an honda xr80 but had the sound of a twostroke.

Roger noggins
Roger noggins
1 month ago

I like that we gave the power to boothy to just rant at hollywood

Nick T
Nick T
1 month ago

Check out the French film Burn Out on Netflix, the lad races on an In-line 4 cylinder Ducati with a pillion seat

Dave L
Dave L
1 month ago

The one that always gets me is in Yes Man when he sits on a ducati hypermotard and it revs up like a screaming inline 4. What the hell.

owen bird
owen bird
1 month ago
Reply to  Dave L

Same, the other night there was a Confederate fighter which sounded like a 600 doing 16k rpm.

Pete
Pete
1 month ago

Also always wondered how someone on a super bike get caught up by a Bobby in an 80’s lada?!

unless it’s a rented lada – obviously

Silva511
Silva511
1 month ago

Nice. What about Puff Daddy and his Gixxer that sounds like a Harley in ‘Every Breath you take’? Classic. Also crashes for no reason whatsoever..

Rob
Rob
1 month ago

Totally agree, iv refused to watch films that have crap bike sounds. One film i watched they had a s1000r going up the gearbox in a hurry when they were only doing 20!
Mission impossible are the only ones close but still not perfect!

Dave
Dave
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

Mission impossible is the worst! Riding an R nine T through Paris sounding like a ninja at 10,000 revs….
In the 2nd one there are tyre changes halfway through the action when they end up on a beach. 🤣

Andrew Stone
Andrew Stone
1 month ago

The bike in purple rain changes from a 2 stroke to a 4 stroke a lot and changes tyres on the move. Amazing

Mark Johnson
Mark Johnson
1 month ago

Boothy, Watch Torque… Haha.

People complain about BikerBoyz, but all the stunts are done practically by stunt riders, there are no wires or CGI The last scene on the dirt road is awful and does ruin it slightly.

However, my attitude is somewhat more relaxed on these things. Why? Because hollywood gets EVERYTHING wrong. Outbreak? The science behind a deadly virus is wrong. Gravity? It shows the orbits going in the wrong direction which is against physics. The Martian? It shows a storm on Mars which wouldn’t happen. Countless undercover cop movies which don’t know how actual undercover cops have to behave, countless military movies with people reacting incorrectly to being shot, wearing incorrect uniforms and not behaving like a member of the military would. Countless martial arts movies where the fighters are able to backflip and continue the fight for minutes without injury or getting tired. Any time a subject comes up in a movie which has experts, those experts will say the movie didn’t get it right. Why is that? Because it’s entertainment for the masses, not for experts. We’re all bike experts in the scheme of things. I also know quite a lot about martial arts and computing, but I just tend to laugh it off when the chiseled features of the protagonist squint at a game of 3D tetris which seems inexplicably to be necessary in order to hack into some top secret system.

It’s entertainment innit.

Jen
Jen
1 month ago

“As far fetched as a piss from China” Brilliant line. Oh, and totally agree!

Fil
Fil
1 month ago

John Connor in T2 has one of them infinite geared moto crossers. Winds me up

I think the reason is that in reality they aren’t doing 150mph in the scenes. Probably 50 tops, less when weaving through traffic. If it’s a car chasing a big bike then at those speeds the bikes would never change gear. Can you imagine the constant drone of an s1000rr doing 50 everywhere? I guess they add the sounds of high revs and gear changes after to give the illusion of speed

Last edited 1 month ago by Fil
Revforcoffee
1 month ago

Ha! My boyfriend and I always have fun laughing at motorcycle chase scenes and even just ones where the person rides around. Mission Impossible is a huge offender of someone riding and crashing and just getting up like its not a big deal. Birds of Prey, theres a scene that is almost bollywood, the girl crashes her bike for no reason after towing someone on rollerblades! And my personal favorite is the opening scene for The Courier, where the girl riding has a bike with infinite gears. At no point does she really slow down or show any reason to be shifting and yet she just keep shifting. ITs pretty amazing! /s lol

samuel sweet
samuel sweet
1 month ago

I have to agree with you Boothy! when the audio doesn’t match the bike being ridden is an absolute waste of Hollywood millions. and its always blatantly obvious. A Ducati suddenly sounds like an inline 4 Yam. and race scenes where they just open the throttle a little more to pull away. as if being chased you wouldn’t be using full throttle in the first place. “oh no this giant ass Chevrolet SUV with 6 heavily armed assailants has suddenly caught up to my Ducati 1199 Superleggera I should open the throttle a little more”

samuel sweet
samuel sweet
1 month ago

I have to agree with you Boothy! when the audio doesn’t match the bike being ridden is an absolute waste of Hollywood millions. and its always blatantly obvious. A Ducati suddenly sounds like an inline 4 Yam. and race scenes where they just open the throttle a little more to pull away. as if being chased you wouldn’t be using full throttle in the first place. “oh no this giant ass Chevrolet SUV with 6 heavily armed assailants has suddenly caught up to my Ducati 1199 Superleggera I should open the throttle a little more”