Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Top 10 Fictional Drivers

Simply stated, this is a list of fictional characters that are defined by their time behind the wheel.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that this list is dependent on their driving skills.  They are picked and rank depending on how I find them interesting as wheelmen characters.


Needless Kane is the driver of the most popular car from the Twisted Metal games, Sweet Tooth (which, for a time, I mistook for the name of the driver – and I know I’m not the only one).  He’s simply the Joker (or It’s Pennywise) on wheels.  He derives a demented sense of delight in death, destruction, mayhem, and chaos, hence, bringing those about with his iconic killing ice cream truck.


This B-list Spider-Man supervillain possesses nanites that allow him to have limited technopathy and modify vehicles to his liking.  Hence, he makes a great getaway driver and is sought by crews to be their wheelman during heists.  An amusing aspect of this character, as revealed in the excellent Superior Foes of Spider-Man comic series, is that he really wants to be a superhero but chose to be a supervillain since he thinks the stint will give him the best opportunity to “break in” the superhero community, reasoning out that famous superheroes like Hawkeye, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver all started out as supervillains first.


Chas is probably John Constantine’s closest and most loyal friend.  He is a London cab driver that constantly functions as Constantine’s ride whenever he’s on a case.  Most of the time, Constantine doesn’t really let Chas to be deeply involved on his supernatural escapades, for his own good, thus, he enjoys a survival rate that few of Constantine’s friends have.  However, in the now-cancelled (bummer) TV series, Chas is a more active sidekick for Constantine and has more of a supernatural reason behind his survival rate.  One night, in a club, Constantine put a protection charm on him before they separated.  Later, the club caught fire and Chaz with 47 others were burned.  But because of Constantine’s spell, Chaz absorbed those 47 lives, giving him the ability to die and regenerate 47 times.


After geek god Nathan Fillion was Malcolm Reynolds and before he became Rick Castle, he took on the role of Alex Tully, lead protagonist of the short-lived, unfinished TV series, Drive.  The show focuses on an illegal, cross-country road race of unlikely participants and Alex Tully was one of them.  Because of his past experience as a semi-pro racer and a notorious getaway driver/bank robber, he was coerced into joining the race when his wife was kidnapped.  It’s an intriguing story, but, unfortunately, we’ll never know how it ends since the series was cut off at only 6 episodes.


Everybody – the people in the Smokey and the Bandit’s universe as well as the movie’s audience – loves this charismatic and iconic Burt Reynolds-portrayed character.  Already established as a legendary driver and folk hero in the beginning of the story, Bandit would bait the police to chase him so that he can divert the attention away from a beer smuggling operation that he had bet he and his friend, Snowman, can accomplish in record time.  Along the way, with occasional help from truckers that he was constantly in communication with via CB radio, Bandit would constantly outsmart and outrun the police – led by Sheriff Buford T. Justice – to hilarious effect.


Racer X is an important recurring character in the classic anime series Speed Racer.  This heroic masked racer/secret agent is actually the estranged older brother of main character, Speed, but though he has nagging suspicions of his real identity throughout the series, it was only near at the end of the series where the truth is fully revealed to him.  Racer X is considered by Speed as a superior racer that he vows to beat, and Racer X vows to look after his younger brother always.  His car’s name is the Shooting Star (number 9).


Dom is the face of The Fast and the Furious franchise as well as its best driver (sorry, Brian).  He always wins in every race (he only loses when he allows himself) and does the craziest, most badass stunts.  He is a strong leader, a religious man, has a moral code, and puts family above anything else.


Frank Martin is the titular character of The Transporter movie series and my most favorite Jason Statham role.  He was introduced as an immensely skillful and meticulous driver known as the best wheelman-for-hire there is.  He will transport anything or anyone – no questions asked, and always on time.  He strictly maintains three rules: 1.) “Once the deal is made, it is final”; 2.) “No names”; and 3.) “Never open the package.”  Moreover, he is a former Special Forces operative and can kick butt whenever he is crossed.


The titular character of the classic Speed Racer anime drives the iconic Mach 5 – a racing car that has eight special features installed on it, which are activated by buttons labeled A to G on its steering wheel hub and a button H located on a console between the car’s two seats.  Speed is extremely fond of racing and his love for the sport is only rivaled by his love for his family.  His adventures aren’t exclusive in the race track, as he finds himself occasionally dabbling in crime fighting.


I have to admit that this list is built around the participants of Wacky Races, one of the Hanna-Barbera properties that I loved watching as a kid (and re-watching now as an adult).  I have no clear favorites and I enjoy all these quirky racers and their respective outlandish cars as a whole, so all of them – the Slag Brothers (#1 Boulder Mobile), the Gruesome Twosome (#2 Creepy Coupe), Professor Pat Pending (#3 Convert-a-Car), the Red Max (#4 Crimson Haybaler), Penelope Pitstop (#5 Compact Pussycat), Sergeant Blast and Private Meekly (#6 Army Surplus Special), the Ant Hill Mob (#7 Bulletproof Bomb), Lazy Luke and Blubber Bear (#8 Arkansas Chuggabug), Peter Perfect (#9 Turbo Terrific), Ruffus Ruffcut and Sawtooth (#10 Buzzwagon), and Dick Dastardly and Muttley (#00 Mean Machine) – share the top spot.

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