I love me some slo-mo in movies. It tends to work best with cool action or sports sequences but I’ve tried to vary my choices. As ever, please feel free to give your own suggestions as I can’t think of everything, I’m not made of brains y’know.
5] THE MATRIX
When compiling this list I was dismayed to find that my memory of this film has been tainted somewhat by the pair of souless turds that followed it. I think I need a bit of a rewatch on this one, because I’m pretty sure I thought it was awasome first time around. Now, there are a number of cool slo-mo sequences in this film, including the bathroom rumble between Smith and Morpheus, the balletic Lobby shootout and the Morpheus dive to freedom. The one I’m going to pick is the scene showing Neo on a rooftop with a helicopter going down behind him. I just think it looks really cool to see a falling chopper in slo-mo with the rotor blades whirring slowly and the slowed down WHOOSH WHOOSH noises accompanying it. Helicopters in film are cool, except for Twilight Zone The Movie of course, definately uncool.
4] LA STORY
This Steve Martin vehicle is a quirky little gem that noone I know seems to have seen. It’s a lot of fun to watch and gives us one of Martin’s best performances. The scene I’ve chosen here contains a juxtaposition of the morning routines of Martin and his potential love interest in the film, Victoria Tennant. As we cut back and forth between the two as they take showers Martin is shown having your typical jump in and scrub type of shower, whilst Tennant is revelling in a luxurious slo-mo shampoo commercial moment. We cut back to Martin looking puzzled, until he locates the slo-mo tap on the shower and joins in the fun, raining a symphony of slo-mo water drops as he shakes his head.
3] MAJOR LEAGUE
Sports films are especially good for slo-mo-moments, but I didn’t want to crowd out the list with them so I had to leave out such classics as Raging Bull, Midnight Sting, Seabiscuit, Goal (kidding, but I had to get a footy one in there and I couldn’t remember if there was a slo-mo scene in Escape To Victory just them showing the Pele overhead goal about 67 times in succession) and Teenwolf. I’m a big fan of Movie Baseball (I tried watching proper baseball but it wasn’t half as interesting, just as confusing, but not interesting. It’s just rounders with big girly gloves anyway, isn’t it ?) and always enjoy some good slo-mo pitching. In this end scene of the film you get that followed by some Tom Berenger bunting/sprinting/hobbling action before Wesley rounds the bases and heads for home plate and sliiiides in to be…SAFE! SAFE!..THE INDIANS WIN IT!.THE INDIANS WIN IT! OH MY GOD THE INDIANS WIN IT!
2] HARD TARGET
There had to be a bit of John Woo in here somewhere didn’t there. This guy would probably shoot a film set on the moon and figure out a way to have a dove fly by in slo-mo somehow. I watch this film sometimes and marvel at how little of the run time is actually at normal speed. If you ran this film without any slo-mo it’d be done in about half an hour. He probably shot the bloody thing in an afternoon, got back home for a cuppa and Countdown then headed to the editing suite for a couple of months The scene that always makes me smile has our heroes Chance (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and Nat (Yancy Butler) fleeing the pursuing baddies Lance “Got Milk?” Henriksen and Arnold “Not Billy Zane” Vosloo on a motorbike. As they reach the end of the freeway Chance notices that the fuel tank has been hit (considering the remarkable combustability of the baddies vehicles in this film it’s a miracle they haven’t gone the way of Candyman), spying a bad guy vehicle headin towards him he dumps his passenger and sets off towards the oncoming car. Next, he hops up to stand on the seat of the bike, employing his Jedi mind powers to keep the bike steady and moving, fires a fews hots, hits the car, goes arse over tit over the top of the car, lands the other side, comes up shooting BANG BANG BANG EXPLOSION!! YEAH!!!!. I just love the slo-mo “Yeah!” from Van Damme, he really looks like he means it. I think he is genuinely trying to give a good acting performance here, albeit it one from the Joey Tribiani “sniff the fart” school of acting, so good on him.
1] THE UNTOUCHABLES
This is just one of those scenes. I think I get goosebumps each and every time I watch it. It’s one of those scenes in a film where, about ten minutes before it happens, you’re thinking that it’ll happen soon and you can feel the anticipation. First, let me get the film student crap out of the way, if you’ve read anything about this film or scene you know the writer has to mention Battleship Potemkin, Odessa Steps, blah blah blah. I really enjoyed Battleship Potemkin and the Odessa Steps scene obviously influenced this sequence, but by bringing it up every time you talk about his scene in The Untouchables it feels like you’re taking something away from it, and it’s better than that so just watch it alright ?
It all starts slowly, there’s no rushing into anything here, as Kevin Costner and Andy Garcia get into position at the train station, awaiting the arrival of the bookeeper. Then Costner watches the woman struggling with her baby carriage, knowing it could all go down very soon. As he helps her pull it up to the stairs you start seeing the heavies arriving until, near the top, Costner glances back to see the heavy whose nose he broke earlier in the film. Cue slo-mo shotgun and the baby carriage inching toward the steps before heading down with a mouthed “My baby!”. What follows is an absolutley audacious sequence, entirely in slo-mo, following Costner chasing the carriage down the steps whilst gunfire rages and sailors go down. Then the best part, as Costner clicks empty, the bad guy smirks as he rounds the corner to take him out, Garcia comes runnning up from the side holding one gun and throwing one up to Costner as he slides toward the baby carriage. Costner catches the gun, shoots the bad guy, Garcia slide in the front of the carriage whilst keeping his gun trained on the last bad guy. Words really don’t do it justice, it is a tense and beautifully shot sequence and that one shot of Garcia throwing the gun and sliding in is as graceful as you will ever see. It’s not quite in the same league as Naked Gun 33 1/3, mind.