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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Bullitt (1968)


Mustangs are hawt.

Frank Bullitt (Steve McQueen, who serves as the prototype for every movie cop who refuses to play by the book) must babysit a gangster for 48 hours. But when hit men snuff the witness, Bullitt won’t be stopped in his quest for vengeance.

All I have been hearing about this movie for the past year is that the car chase is awesome. Hell, anytime you mention the flick itself, the car chase is always brought up. It is brought up with good reason but maybe that’s just to escape the rest of the flick.

Director Peter Yates does gain some points by making this a very simple but fun thriller. There isn’t really anything new to be seen here other than two or three murders, a car chase, and a whole bunch of other crazy and mysterious ish going on but Yates isn’t trying to blow our minds. Yates has a very cold tone to this film that makes a whole lot more tension then there really is beneath the surface.

Where this film sort of lost me was that it’s a crime thriller where there is barely any thrilling aspects at all. Yes of course we get a couple of shootings and that car chase scene, but other than that we get a bunch of scenes dedicated to dudes waiting around for something to happen like another piece of evidence to pop up or for the main politician dude to show up so he can bother the hell more out of Bullitt. It’s a simple story, which I liked, but Yates doesn’t really find anything fun or exciting to do with it other than just meander along at a very snailish-like pace. I know I’m going to piss off a lot of peeps out there when I say this but this film actually had me a bit bored at times and even though I really tried my hardest to stop my mind from wandering off, it kept on going back to the thoughts in my head of ‘Drive’ and Ryan Gosling, and just how cool he was in that movie.

What also was a bit annoying was how the film tried to dive a bit deeper into this main character by showing plenty of scenes with his lady friend that nobody, not even him, really cared about in the first place. It’s always good to have a little bit of development to your character so that they can actually feel more human than anybody else in the film, but here, they keep on showing his squeeze trying to bring his thoughts out of him and hear what he’s thinking. It was annoying every time she was on-screen, which is why I didn’t even understand why she was around in the first place, but it was also lame considering that Bullitt was obviously a character that didn’t have any time for that play-time shit. Bullitt. He’s a man amongst men.

Instead of avoiding it this whole review, I think it’s pretty safe to come clear and say that the car chase is pretty damn awesome. This is definitely one of the most iconic car chases of all-time and with good reason because it’s so simple and realistic, but yet so damn cool at the same time. The cool thing about this scene is that it’s filmed in only the sounds the car makes whether it’s accelerating, stopping, or hitting the edge of something it’s not supposed to in the first place. That means there’s no slow-mo affect, no bass-bumping soundtrack that makes it seem like your speakers are about to blow out, and no lame-o side talk from characters just in order to sound witty and hip with it. It’s a pretty straight-forward car chase that relies on cool camera placement and realistic fun, which worked for me and it’s a real surprise that the death rate in car races didn’t increase back in 1968 when the flick first came out. Definitely one of the biggest high-lights of this whole film and worth the wait if you ask me.

The reason why this car chase is as good as it is, is also because of the man who was doing all of the stunts himself, none other than Mr. Steve McQueen himself as Bullitt. McQueen is a cool as hell actor that makes it seem like he could be one of those dudes you can share a nice couple of brewskies with, but then also seems like the kind of dude that would also kick your ass in a second if you said anything weird to him. The whole film he carries this cool, calm, and very cold expression to his face and commands just about every scene with his presence, which makes this very shrill and mysterious character even cooler. Gotta check out more Steve McQueen flicks in the future, that’s for damn sure. I also have to give some little brownie points to this flick for also including a small role from a much younger Robert Duvall and Robert Vaughn who’s a huge dick that I just wanted to see get his face knocked in by Bullitt himself.

Consensus: The car chase is iconic and McQueen definitely provides a lot more coolness to his character than expected, but Bullitt is just a very overrated flick that has its moments, but is also very slow, if at times, boring, with it’s very simple premise that goes exactly where you think it would, with barely any real surprises. Please don’t hate me people, please don’t!

7/10=Rental!!

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11 responses to “Bullitt (1968)

  1. ladyksmoviedialogue July 19, 2012 at 7:56 am

    Hey Dan, just wondered if you knew that the character of Bullitt was based on Dave Toschi – the real life detective who was chief investigator in the San Francisco Zodiac murders. I’m reading the book of Zodiac at the moment and it’s fascinating. It’s made me want to watch Bullitt. Having that knowledge before watching it makes me wonder if I’d see it differently to you and maybe find it more interesting. Good review though. I’ll let you know what I think if I do see it.

  2. Nostra July 19, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Have seen this movie twice and both times was pretty disappointed by it. Surely the car chase is iconic, but the rest didn’t manage to keep me entertained enough.

  3. Evan Crean July 19, 2012 at 11:57 am

    It may be simple and a bit slow moving at points but McQueen is the epitome of badass and that car chase is iconic.

  4. Jaina July 19, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Solid review. Echoing my feelings on it. It’s a fine film. Nothing blew me away in that respect. But Steve McQueen and that car chase.

    Also, this film does wonders for San Francisco!

  5. Morgan R. Lewis July 19, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    I think you’re pretty much on the mark on this one… it’s a decent film with one great scene. And it pretty much set the standard for car chases with that scene. It’s worth watching and remembering for that, but otherwise, it’s just a good film, not a great one.

  6. Chip July 19, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    The reason to see this film is the car chase. The moment when McQueen’s car appears in the rear view mirror of the bad guys is a classic. The rest of the film doesn’t hold up that well.

  7. Pingback: Weekly Weblinks: Bats and Bullets | Morgan on Media

  8. James at J and J Productions July 21, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    I really need to watch this some time. I’m a big fan of McQueen in The Great Epscape.

    -James

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