On May 12th, 1997 the Tomorrow Never Dies first and second units travelled to Thailand to begin shooting the motorbike chase sequence.
The scene sees Bond and Wai Lin handcuffed to each other, attempting to evade Carver’s men, who follow them in two Range Rovers and a Eurocopter 350B A-Star helicopter. Wai Lin acts as Bond’s co-pilot, helping him navigate while Carver’s men fire at them with machine guns. Mounted on a BMW R1200 motorbike, they speed along streets, walkways, and rooftops, jumping from one building to another to escape a hail of bullets. When the helicopter traps Bond and Wai Lin in a courtyard, they grab a washing line and accelerate towards it then slide the motorbike on its side, just beneath the rotors. Bond slings the line into the helicopter’s tail rotor, causing it to crash and explode.
Second-unit director Vic Armstrong on choosing the BMW; “With the bike chase, I didn’t want to resort to the standard use of a motorcross bike, which is convenient for jumps and tricks. Instead, we went for the biggest, heaviest, and most unwieldy bike – the BMW R1200C Cruiser – and I built the chase around it. That’s what I wanted: to display its power and weight.”
The chase sequence has become an iconic piece of stunt driving. French stunt-rider Jean-Pierre Goy refused to use wires and cables when he made the astounding 44-foot leap between two buildings with a passenger on board.
The BMW R1200 is on display at Bond in Motion at the London Film Museum. londonfilmmuseum.com/