This week is my last blog entry on great film car chases. While most of my posts this month have been about older classics,today I bring you a modern classic. This week’s chase comes from 1998’s Ronin.
To get you up to speed (pun intended) on the plot,here’s a brief summary:
A woman assembles a team of professional killers from all over the world to get a hold on a certain case with some mysterious content. The case is in the hands of some ex-KGB spies and there are many people and organizations that will do anything to get it.–IMDB
In case you’re wondering, Ronin is the Japanese word for a Samurai without a master. It’s a perfect title for this film. Among the cast are: Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, Sean Bean, and Jonathan Pryce. Bonus? The film was directed by John Frankenheimer,a master of thrillers. Probably his most famous film is The Manchurian Candidate,a masterpiece in its own right. Now that you know the story,let’s talk about the great car chase.
It takes place on the streets of Paris. The five mercenary characters are all after a briefcase. When one of them double-crosses the others,the chase is on! The cars featured include: a Peugeot 406 and 605,a BMW 535i,an Audi S8,a Citroen XM, a Mercedes-Benz SW116…and quite a few others. Here are a few fun facts about the chase from Internet Movie Database:
Skipp Sudduth requested to do his own stunt driving during the car chases and John Frankenheimer agreed. Frankenheimer told Sudduth “I don’t wanna see any brake lights.”
- To make it look like Robert De Niro and Natascha McElhone were actually driving during the car chase, right hand drive cars were used, with the passenger side made up to mirror the real controls. The actors then mimicked the stunt drivers movements.
- More than 300 stunt drivers were employed to give the real-time chase scenes an air of metal-crunching realism.
- One of the stunt drivers was former Formula 1 driver Jean-Pierre Jarier.
- 80 automobiles were destroyed during filming.
- Director John Frankenheimer actually owned a similar brown Mercedes that was used in the second car chase scene. Although the script did not mention which car Vincent and Sam would use to chase the convoy, he suggested having the Mercedes being used in the movie.
And now,a moment of silence for all the cars that died to make this film and its iconic chase possible. Ronin is one of the great thrillers to come out of the 1990s,or any decade for that matter. The climactic chase alone is worth the price of admission. But with Frankenheimer at the helm and a cast that includes the likes of Robert De Niro,how can anyone pass this movie up?
That’s a wrap on my film car chases spotlight! Join me each day in July for my James Bond Blogathon. Each day I will watch and then write about the Bond films as I watch them in order. Break out the martini’s and tuxedos!