The Chase (1991 film)

The Chase is a 1991 crime drama television film starring Casey Siemaszko and Ben Johnson. It was directed by Paul Wendkos. The film is based on the true story of American bank robber Phillip Hutchinson, who robbed a bank, killed a cop and took a man hostage in a 1988 rampage in Denver, Colorado. The film is ninety-three-minutes long and was released on February 10, 1991, to tie in with the three year anniversary of the event, which took place on February 9, 1988. It was later released on DVD on November 26, 2001.[1]

The Chase
The DVD cover for The Chase
Directed byPaul Wendkos
Produced by
  • Barry Bernard
  • Paul Wendkos
Written byGuerdon Trueblood
Music byW. G. Snuffy Waldon
CinematographyChuck Arnold
Edited byChristopher Cooke
Distributed by
  • Steve White Productions
  • Spectacor Films
Release date
  • February 10, 1991 (1991-02-10)
Running time
93 minutes


In January, 1988, in Denver, Colorado, helicopter news pilot Mike Silva (Robert Beltran) flies over Denver to allow his cameraman Jim Stair (Paul Borrillo) to get aerial shots of the area. Working for his local news station, KCNC-TV, Silva has plans to become a Meteorologist pilot in the near future. Meanwhile, escaped Texas convict Phillip Hutchinson, under the alias of Mark Taylor (Casey Siemaszko) has resided in Denver where he works as a car mechanic. While working in Denver, Hutchinson carries out various different crimes including the armed robbery of a local store and the mugging of a courier delivering some money, whom he beats up with a crowbar. A witness spots Hutchinson fleeing in a red Chevrolet K5 Blazer and reports it to the police. Hutchinson then has his coworker Tom (Jimmie F. Skaggs) repaint the vehicle brown to avoid investigation. Through his coworker, Hutchinson meets a girl called Roxanne (Sheila Kelley) who he starts a relationship with.

Detective Bob Wallis (Barry Corbin) and another detective from Texas called Hammer (Gailard Sartain) begin an investigation into Hutchinson's activities. Wallis's son Dale (Anthony Tyler Quinn) is a cop also, and his wife is expecting a baby. Bob Wallis has plans to leave the force and spend more time with his family and soon to be grandchild, as he regrets not being around much for his son when he was younger. The story also follows a girl called Tammie (Ricki Lake) who works as a bank teller at the Rio Grande Operating Credit Union office in Denver. While working their, Tammie reveals to her friend and coworker that she is fairly insecure about her appearance due to being overweight and lacks self-confidence in herself. Another girl who lives in Denver called Gloria Whipple (Megan Follows) struggles to pay her bills and get to work on time. Her boyfriend Julian (Daniel Quinn) is a drug addict and gives her virtually no support and she hasn't the strength to tell him she is expecting a baby. Hutchinson meanwhile remains very cautious and doesn't reveal to Roxanne too much of his former life. One evening when he returns home, he finds Roxanne has gone through his personal belongings in his apartment. Enraged, Hutchinson chases her out of his apartment and smashes her car window as she drives away, thus ending the relationship.

A month later on February 9, 1988, Wallis is now a grandfather and plans on leaving the force soon. Tammie still works at the Union office and Whipple reconnects with her father (Paul Collins), whom she had a brief falling out with in the past. Hutchinson snaps on this particular date and decides to rob the Union office as he has plans to flee the country and move to Brazil. He holds up the place with a gun and demands Tammie to hand over any cash in the office and place it into a suitcase he is carrying. Tammie activates a silent alarm with her foot and the police respond immediately. Hutchinson flees in his Blazer and Silva gets word about the robbery from the sky. He flies over to the scene of the crime so Stair can catch the police chase on camera. Officers descend on the scene and try to cut Hutchinson off. Wallis is one of them, but he gets pinned down in his car due to a faulty seat-belt and by the time he manages to get out of his car, he is mowed down by Hutchinson in his Blazer and is killed instantly. Hutchinson then crashes his car and flees on foot where he encounters Whipple and her boyfriend Julian. Julian runs off and Hutchinson attempts to carjack her. She manages to flee and escape as Hutchinson fires off a few rounds at the car, smashing the back windshield. Hutchinson then encounters John Laurienti (Ben Johnson) and his disabled daughter. He carjacks Laurienti and hides in the passenger seat of Laurienti's truck, ordering him to drive past the approaching police. Laurienti drives past the police officers who are looking for Hutchinson, but they are unaware Hutchinson is even in the vehicle as they lost sight of him after Wallis's death. Only Silva and Stair are aware of the truth but are unable to communicate to the police and inform them of Hutchinson's whereabouts. To prevent Hutchinson from escaping and potentially killing Laurienti, Silva decides to fly the helicopter directly in front of the truck and lands the helicopter on the road, preventing the truck from going any further. Officers then surround Hutchinson and ram the truck to stop him from firing off any rounds. Laurienti is pulled free unharmed, and Hutchinson is then shot dead by police after attempting to kill Laurienti and the approaching police.

At the end of the film, it is revealed that Whipple has now ended her relationship with Julian and is in a much stronger relationship with her father, who is supporting her during her pregnancy. Wallis's son Dale gives a speech at his father's funeral and breaks down over the sudden death of his father. Tammie plans to head off to College for three years to study a degree and appears a lot more self-confident in herself than before, and Laurienti gets given a new white truck on behalf of KCNC-TV.[2]



Variety wrote that the film is unsubtle but recreates the event with "attention-getting incisiveness".[3] Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly rated it a letter grade of A− and wrote, "Terse and tense, The Chase is chilling."[4]


  1. "The Chase [DVD]".
  2. "Pilot Joined The Chase, Controversy Followed". Orlando Sentinel. Denver, Colorado. February 10, 1991.
  3. Prouty, Howard H., ed. (1994). Variety TV REV 1991-92 17. Garland Publishing. February 8, 1991. ISBN 0-8240-3796-0.
  4. Tucker, Ken (1991-02-08). "The Chase". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2016-04-27.
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