Motorcycle Movie Stunts

Motorcycle Movies
The Making of Motorcycle Stunts

I wanted to see who does the stunts on the new CHiPs movie. There are over 110 names listed! Not all of them are doing motorcycle stunts, of course, but a lot of them are. I had to know more about this huge list of stuntfolk.

In an interview with Edward Pevos of MLive, Dax Shepard, who wrote, directed, and starred in the film, said that because it’s hard to film a motorcycle chase since motorcycle can go where a camera car can’t, he used drones, helicopters, the Porsche cayenne pursuit vehicle, and a “huge Russian arm that booms out at 360 degrees.”

I bet a few of the stunt people on that list were drone operators, but the drone observer and the helicopter are listed elsewhere. I know what a drone is and what a helicopter is, but what’s a “Porsche cayenne pursuit vehicle”? Hurrah for Google! It’s a Porsche Cayenne car fitted with a camera and boom by Pursuit Systems. The car alone costs over $100,000 without any customizing. The Russian Arm is a type of vehicle-mounted crane that holds a movie camera.

Dax also used cameras on the motorcycles used in chase scenes. One of them had never been used for a movie. It’s a camera mounted on a gyroscope ring. The self-leveling ring is mounted on the front wheel of Dax’s bike. He did a lot of his own stunt riding—wheelies, endoes, up and down stairways, but not the big jump—and had to get used to the odd weight.

While Dax claims that he made the movie so he could do tricks and shut down a highway to ride fast, Michael Pena had never ridden a motorcycle. He learned well enough to handle his dialog at 75 mph, but is, he told Pevos, “nowhere as good as these guys.”

If you remember the original CHiPs (probably from reruns), you will not find too many similarities. The show is set in the present day, and includes personal story arcs as well as police stories.

What other movies or TV series do you remember that focus on motorcycling? Easy Rider leaps to mind along with The Wild One. How about The World’s Fastest Indian or Choppertown: The Sinners to get at the indomitable passion of motorcycle enthusiasts. And there are the documentaries like Race to Dakar or An Island Legacy Edge Closer or On Any Sunday. And travelogues like One Week or Long Way Round.

When it comes to TV series, there are many to choose among, from Sons of Anarchy to American Chopper to Harley and the Davidsons.

What’s your favorite motorcycling movie? Can’t pick—how about your Fave Five? And what’s your favorite TV show centered on motorcycling?

If you’ve seen the new CHiPs, do you like it better than your fond memory of the old series? Or do you think it’s too different to compare?

Let’s talk about it on Facebook—there are no wrong answers! And you might get some ideas about movies or shows you missed or would like to see again.

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