June 15, 2024

Wade Through Films

The Ultimate Driving Machines

‘Bullitt’ Was and Still Is Bad

Image for article titled Reminder: 'Bullitt' Was and Still Is Bad

Every few years someone will try to tell me that the 1968 movie Bullitt, starring Steve McQueen and renowned for its chase sequence, is good. “Have you seen the car chase?,” they will say, and that is usually the only thing, because Bullitt, as a movie, is trash.

We bring this up once again in these parts because there is apparently a new Bullitt being made, or at least a new movie based on the character of Frank Bullitt. This wouldn’t be notable except Steven Spielberg, who is probably the greatest movie director of all time, is behind it, and, last week, it was reported that actor Bradley Cooper, will play Frank Bullitt. Via Deadline:

Sources are adamant this is not a remake of the original film but a new idea centered on the character. In the original film, Frank Bullitt is a no-nonsense San Francisco cop on the hunt for the mob kingpin that killed his witness. Considered one of McQueen’s more iconic roles, the film delivers one of the most famous car-chase scenes in cinema history. Sources also add the film is still in development.

While Cooper’s deal only recently closed, he and Spielberg have been talking about the character and what a new take on the story would look like going all the way back to the pandemic when everyone was stuck in quarantine and had nothing but time on their hands.

This movie still being “in development” is the Hollywood trade press’s way of saying that it could end up not happening at all, which may indeed occur if Spielberg or Cooper sits down and actually watches Bullitt, instead of watching the chase scene again for the 100th time, or simply thinking of their own nostalgic memory of the movie.

Or maybe they have, in fact, rewatched it recently, and decided that now is the time to do a good — better version, which I’m confident that Spielberg could do, even with this material. Spielberg seems to like a good challenge, too, given all the different genres he’s worked in his career. In the end, we’ll know Spielberg’s Bullitt is good if people talk about the actual movie, and not just a chase scene.