I thought of this the other day while I was watching ‘Rocky II’ on television. The final training run is something of a guilty pleasure of mine. It’s unashamedly cheesy, but Stallone just about gets away with it. Compared with the final run on the beach with Apollo in III, it is practically an exercise in filmic restraint. I don’t know, I love III, but that last part where Carl Weathers is working very hard on running about as slow as he possibly can in order to let Sly get past… Then the gratuitous hugging and jumping about in the surf that goes on just a little bit too long…
Anyway, I’m not here to write about Rocky. Because when I looked online to see if somebody else had already written a blog post like this, I discovered that (of course) they had. There were quite a few, and ‘Rocky’ featured in most lists I came across. As did ‘Run Lola, Run’, ‘Forrest Gump’, ‘Chariots of Fire’ and so on. So I decided to come up with an alternative list, and spent literally minutes scouring YouTube and what might laughably be called my memory to come up with the following. Within this list you will find music, swearing, violence and asparagus. So all the good stuff, basically. Grab a beer and enjoy.
Number 10: Mr Pink’s escape from Reservoir Dogs
Let’s start with something short and sweet. And violent. Man with briefcase full of diamonds legs it from the rozzers and does a bit of fancy shooting. Cut to about 50 seconds if you want to skip the dialogue.
Number 9: Reeves & Mortimer’s take on Chariots of Fire
Sort of defies description, but definitely more entertaining than the actual film.
Number 8: Ice T runs down Chris Rock in New Jack City
In which Chris Rock pinches a BMX and Ice T makes a decent fist of chasing him on foot, before executing the most unnecessarily elaborate jump ever. Why is he waggling his legs about like that? ‘New Jack Hustler’, indeed.
Number 7: Thom Yorke takes it easy
Let’s slow things down a bit. The poor guy being chased in this video runs a lot like me when I’m getting towards the end of a half marathon. Only faster, with better form and in better clothes. (Edit: curse you, YouTube adverts! Stick with it…)
Number 6: Kenny Reeves just won’t give up
Point Break is notable for three things. Firstly, Gary Busey. Secondly, the bit where Patrick Swayze beats the shit out of the lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And thirdly, this. A great chase scene, ruined slightly by Kenny shooting his gun into the air at the end like some sort of massive tart.
Number 5: Jerry Seinfeld shows us how it’s done
Number 4: Begbie chickens out
I was going to put the clip up from Trainspotting, the one where they’re all legging it through the streets of Edinburgh. But as much as Ewan McGregor makes a decent fist of it and certainly looks the part, I prefer this from 28 Weeks Later. Robert Carlyle abandons his missus and gets chased by ‘the infected’ who as we know are technically not zombies because ZOMBIES DO NOT RUN, EVER. (Poor quality video since the good ones keep getting taken down, but worth a look.)
Number 3: Tony Jaa is taking the piss
There is not a race on earth that wouldn’t be improved by making the competitors jump through barbed wire hoops or between panes of glass, as Tony Jaa proves here in the mighty Ong Bak.
Number 2: Eddie Murphy is Carl Lewis
He is the fastest man in the world. He’s Carl Lewis. HE’S CARL LEWIS.
Number 1: Monty Python’s Silly Olympics
It was either the Silly Olympics or this clip from The Meaning of Life (Warning: contains several unfettered breasts.)
So there you have it. A concise, definitive, gender skewed and in no way hastily knocked up alternative list of the best running scenes ever filmed. I’m conscious of the fact that the only women on this list are the ones with their tops off in the Python video. I did look but could only come up with Bo Derek and Wonderwoman. At least there is a degree of irony with the Python video. Considering one of the Wonderwoman videos was subtitled ‘Big Bouncing Breasts’, I thought it best to steer clear.