Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Last Chase From 1981

Extremism in the defense of virtue is no vice.”

Back either in the very late 80's or very early 90's I remember running into a movie that was playing on a weekend afternoon that had Lee Majors as a former race car driver in a world where oil and gas were all but gone. I have since discovered that the movie is called “The Last Chase.” It was released in 1981.

The complete movie is at the youtube link above.

Essentially the plot revolves around Lee Majors character. In a voice over sequence at the beginning of the movie, he explains about the unexplained disease that runs havoc across the country. Drastic changes were made throughout society and that twenty years later no private transportation was allowed. He explains how you “learned” to keep part of yourself hidden from everyone else. The computerized, camera tracking Police State is everywhere. It is not a nation of laws, but a people ruled by bureaucrats, totally believing that what they are doing is right.

Lee Majors' character escapes in his race car that he had hidden away from confiscation. The government sends a old pilot, CPT Williams, played by Burgess Meredith, to find him and stop him. Meredith's character has an interesting exchange with the real villain of the film, an uber-bureaucrat by the name of Hawkins:

Hawkins: What do you see there, Captain?
Captain J.G. Williams: I see a car and two people. Wow! Look at that... son of a bitch!
Hawkins: Much more than a car and two men.
Captain J.G. Williams: Well, that's all I can see.
Hawkins: This man's dangerous. This little joyride he's on is undermining the entire balance of this country.
Captain J.G. Williams: Sir, this is just one car... I mean, a little exhaust isn't going to upset the whole balance of the universe.
Hawkins: You are missing the metaphor.
Captain J.G. Williams: There's a meta-who?
Hawkins: I am talking about our entire way of life, Captain. We live in a society that has the greatest tranquility ever created by man. Furthermore, this society is more protected than any other in history. And do you know why?
Captain J.G. Williams: Well, I figured...
Hawkins: Because of the system. The system of our existence which has been worked out so perfectly. In fact, it is that system which dispelled the desperate quest for the impurities contained in mobility. The mobility which had driven this nation like rats, scurrying in every direction that led us nowhere. Nowhere! Now, we have removed that addiction and brought order and tranquility... the two most fragile flowers in any civilization. And this man, this fool, is defecating on those flowers! Staining the natural hygiene of our society and tampering with the world's most perfectly balanced system.
Captain J.G. Williams: Sir... what do you want me to do about it?

Honestly, the movie is really not that memorable, except for the fact that we are still seeing the same old totalitarian BS being shoved down our throats by means of the bureaucrats and by regulations of all sorts and not by law. We are living with cameras and our smart phones tracking our every move, for our own safety of course. I could spell out more area where governmental regulations invade our lives, but I will not. We see it everywhere. This is how change is made. Bit by bit. Line by line.

It is interesting to note that many script writers right up to the 2000s that California would somehow always be a bastion for freedom from Tyranny (depending on your definition of tyranny). This is a common theme with many Hollywood Dystopian films like “The Postman” and others. Reality, at least in the urban centers, is far from that.

The Barry Goldwater quote at the top of this piece: “Extremism in the defense of virtue is no vice...” was used by the Hawkins character in the movie. I had to do some research about this quote. I did find out that it was attributed to Barry Goldwater. However, just by the wording alone I initially thought that it would be attributed to Robespierre, the leader of the Committee of Public Safety during the Reign of Terror in France. Many liberals today seek a “purity of virtue” that Robespierre would recognize and approve of. Many readers of the blog will probably roll their eyes and say, “there he goes again about Robespierre.” I think in many ways, Robespierre is the prototype for today's totalitarian radicals. The ideals that he championed are the same that are championed by many of today's leftists. Times may change. Human nature does not.

Still, it was a fun movie to find. A lot of scenes with a F-86 Sabre flying. I have always had a soft spot for that bird. 

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