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Film / The Last Chase

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Six words: Burgess Meredith in a fighter jet.

Twenty-three words: Burgess Meredith (As retired fighter ace J.G. Williams) in a fighter jet hunting Lee Majors (as retired race car driver Franklin Hall) driving across the United States in a future dystopia where cars had been outlawed.

The rest of the movie is every bit as weird. And then some.

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, please go to the episode recap page.


Tropes describing this movie:

  • Apocalypse Not: The world seems to be in pretty good shape apart from the absence of cars. Apparently, after the oil ran out, the world managed to find practical substitutes for every petroleum derived substance in the world other than gasoline. The unspecified plague had far more damage to society, though.
  • Artistic License – Chemistry and Artistic License – Physics: Some of the plot elements rely a lot on rust and evaporation not having any affect on making repairs and finding gasoline years after cars had been outlawed. The roads are also in surprisingly good condition considering that they haven't been patched or sealed in twenty-five years.
  • Artistic License – Geography: The writers clearly had no understanding of how long it takes to drive across America, even when there is no traffic - at one point the government mentions losing track of Hall in Western Pennsylvania and think he's somewhere in Kansas. It's 850 miles between the Pennsylvania border and the Kansas border, which is nearly two days travel while driving eight hours a day at normal highway speeds. If they'd lost track of Hall that long ago, they should have told Williams about it then. (Being a Canadian movie is no excuse.)
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  • Big Brother Is Watching: There appear to be closed circuit cameras everywhere, and the government seems obsessed with cyber-stalking a retired race car driver who gets paid to talk about the mass transit system, even before he builds a Porsche in his garage and decides to go on a cross country drive.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: Hall's Porsche and Williams' F-86 Sabre are both museum pieces 20 Minutes into the Future, rebuilt by scavenging all possible pieces from junkyards and fueled with the last gasoline in America. The climax of the movie involves the government unleashing a missile-defense laser Death Ray that has not seen service for decades to try to stop Hall once and for all.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Williams is both old and a kite enthusiast, and would prefer to spend his time flying them than following orders. But he's the last fighter pilot alive, and the government has no other options available.
  • Car Chase: Involving a fighter jet since the dictatorship foolishly disbanded all other cars and were stuck with slow-moving golf carts and buses.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Williams isn't all there. He's more into flying his plane than actually doing his job.
  • Cool Car: Hall's race car, a Porsche which is explicitly the last gasoline-guzzler car in America and which can outrace almost everything the government can toss at it. The government has cars of its own, but they are golf carts are most decidedly uncool.
  • Cool Plane: Williams' plane, an F-86 Sabre (that saw its heyday during the Korean War) refurbished with the last viable airplane pieces the government has lying around. It's the only thing that can keep up with Hall's car.
  • Covers Always Lie: For starters, the plane Williams uses is an F-86 Sabre, while the plane on the poster looks like an F-4 Phantom II (although, sure, "a phantom jet" sounds pretty cool). Hall's Porsche is open-topped. Also most of the "chase" takes place in the desert or very desolate areas. And the buildings that appear don't look like that.
  • Death Ray: The government breaks out a Cold War laser system meant for shooting down ICBMs to destroy Hall's car.
  • Divided States of America: It is stated that "Free California" is independent from the rest of the US and not allied to the new fascistic regime.
  • Easy Logistics: Nobody ever explains how national infrastructure works with no cars. Alleged upgrades to the train stations would help at the regional level, but that doesn't solve the last mile problem between the stations and the stores, especially those not near a station. They also fail to explain how Hall was able to get enough fuel to travel 3,000 miles in a gas-guzzling sports car twenty years after the world's petroleum reserves started drying up. He certainly didn't have the means to carry it in the car - a normal car would need roughly 100 gallons of gas to make that trip, and Hall's Porsche doesn't exactly look like a pinnacle of fuel efficiency, and has very little storage space.
  • Everyone Knows Morse: Because the government is overhearing all radio traffic, Williams and Hall make contact using Morse Code and their respective vehicles' lights at one point.
  • Evil States of America: A country that is a vision of fascism as bad as a movie made in the early part of The '80s can be, forcing people to accept whatever they feed them, and going after those who are discomforted (even if it is a single man) with a literal rain of bullets.
  • Gasoline Lasts Forever: The very little amount that remains on gas pumps throughout the United States (courtesy of condensation making them pool at the bottom throughout twenty years) remains of a good enough quality to fuel a race car engine (which needs very high octane).
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Williams kamikazes into the Death Ray to save Hall.
  • The Last Title: The title.
  • Oppressive States of America: In the aftermath of Post-Peak Oil, the United States Government has made personal transportation apparently outlawed to all citizens and Hall has actually been forced at the beginning of the movie to appear on ads where he calls people that don't use trains "cowardly". This is just the tip of the iceberg regarding how fascistic the country has become, with the Big Bad even running around in a uniform that resembles (because he's part of the local copy of) the Gestapo.
  • The Plague: An unspecified plague hits early in the film, resulting in the physical separation of Hall and his family.
  • Run for the Border: California is apparently independent from the rest of the US, and Hall is trying to get there.
  • Serious Business: The government starts a national manhunt to track down and kill a man for the heinous crime of building a car and driving it to the west coast. Their logic seems to be that if one man succeeds in travelling where he wants to rather than where the government tells him to go, people will start thinking for themselves instead of blindly following the rules.
  • Stern Chase: The government wants Hall and his Porsche stopped at any cost, even strong-arming the last fighter pilot alive (and using their own last reserves of gasoline) to deliver some Death from Above.
  • Worthy Opponent: Williams starts seeing Hall as this, leading to a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Zeerust: The film depicts electric vehicles as... golf carts. To audiences even of The '90s, let alone The New '20s, this is patently ridiculous, with such cars as Ferrari's LaFerrari, Lamborghini's Asterion, McLaren's P1 and Porsche's 918 Spyder — all hybrid sports cars. Meanwhile, Porsche's Taycan is a fully electric car, while the Tesla Model S is one of the most highly sought after cars.