Journal: Drivers' Cinema: Ronin (1998)

Drivers’ Cinema: Ronin (1998)

By Andrew Schneider
August 29, 2013
17 comments

Ronin (1998), directed by John Frankenheimer, is a thrilling action film that follows mercenaries in their attempts to track down a dangerous package. The contents are unknown, making the recovery of the package all that more urgent. There is a mad dash between forces to capture it as cars race through Paris and other parts of France. The film is stacked with talented actors from Robert De Niro to Sean Bean, all who seemingly know how to handle their automobiles.

The chase scenes in the film are intense and lengthy. Most recently, car chases I see in films leave me feeling a bit empty, because I always wish they had lasted longer. With Ronin, however, that isn’t the case. There are so many car chases you won’t know what to do with yourself. The ’76 Mercedes 450 SEL 6.9, burns rubber consistently throughout the length of the movie. Deniro even shoots a rocket launcher from the sunroof of this particular Mercedes while they are in pursuit Citroën on a two-lane highway. Also prominently featured in the film is a ’91 BMW 535i, which makes for some crazy action sequences. The 1998 Audi S8 is also a pretty great addition to the lineup, as its big body and huge engine are put to the test.

I would primarily recommend Ronin for its great cinematographic angles. The cameras seem to reach all aspects of the car while its in motion. The audience isn’t left out on any of the action during the multitude of chases that take place. It almost puts the viewer in the drivers seat, making this one of the greatest car chase films of all time. If you’ve just taken a fast-paced canyon drive, and feel your wife made you come home too early because dinner was set, pop in Ronin late at night to continue the thrill.

Click here to pick up the DVD.

Image Sources: imdb.com, influx.co.uk, absolutefiction.com, impawards.com, iceposter.com

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Stephan Edwards
Stephan Edwards
8 years ago

Let’s also remember that it was Natascha McElhone as the mysterious and capable Deirdre who piloted in the BMW in the lengthy Paris chase scene. We don’t often see the female lead doing that kind of driving. I love it when she mutters “Oh Christ!” as they enter the tunnel going against traffic, and Gregor (Stellan Skarsgaard) reaches for his seatbelt. It’s those kinds of details that make the movie so excellent.

“No questions. No answers. That’s the business we’re in. You just accept it and move on. Maybe that’s lesson number three.”

Диан Димитров
Диан Димитров
8 years ago

amazing movie.

Patrick Dean
Patrick Dean
8 years ago

One of the best all-time car chase films. No doubt!

Smith Albert
Smith Albert
8 years ago

I am a big fan of Robert De Niro because of his acting skills. Ronin is a big film and I hope it is going to make the people addicted to this movie. really I love the scenes like Car racing, Car stunts and as I read this post and came to know that this film is full of action and that also of car actions. Here, the very stylish Mercedes edition called 76 Mercedes 450 SEL 6.9 is used and i love this car very much. Here, I want to share something related to Mercedes cars maintenance. Mercedes cars are the stylish and luxurious cars that we all know. So, after having an stylish Mercedes we must have to maintain this car and also have to repair this one from good [url=”http://www.vfc-engineering.com/services.html”]Porsche Mechanic Chicago[/url] repair center when we notice some functionality issues of it for our Mercedes cars better performance. .

Joshua Gurwitz
Joshua Gurwitz
8 years ago

The issue with the E34 is debatable (M or non-M). It has the M-System I wheels and an M5 badge on the back. However, there is no M5 badge on the front, no front valance, and, if you look closely, the gauge pack (tacho, speedo, temp, and fuel) uses white needles and numerals, not the orange ones seen on M-cars of that vintage.

Neil Reddin
Neil Reddin
8 years ago

Classic film that even finds a decent role for a Volvo estate, never tire of watching it … despite the minor errors (perhaps no-one dared to correct DeNiro’s pronounciation of ‘Hereford’, but the BBC referring to NI as a ‘British-ruled enclave’!?)

It’s so true about the quality of the sound engineering, and some of it is very subtle; watch the scene at the harbourside cafe when a moped goes by and you’ll know what I mean.

Andreas Lavesson
Andreas Lavesson
8 years ago

Ronin is such an excellent movie. I can’t really tell how old I was when I saw it for the first time, however, I was absolutely mesmerized. I tended to stay up after my bedtime during the weekends (I was 9 when the movie came, so I was probably 10-11 when I saw it) and watch movies that I wasn’t allowed to watch. One night I stumbled upon this movie, having missed out on quite a couple of minutes. However, I remember seeing the Peugeot – BMW car chase and I was absolutely hooked.

Unfortunately I didn’t look up the title and it kept haunting me, since I wanted to see it again and especially since I wanted to see all of it. One day a couple of years later, I sat in front of the TV and zapped as I sometimes do and suddenly “oh, a movie’s starting”. I instantly recognized De Niro, the lighting and everything. I sat there hoping it was the long lost movie with butterflies in my stomach. It sure was and this time I looked up the title. I’ve seen it every time it’s been on the TV since and I even bought the DVD a couple of years ago. I watch a lot of movies and this is one of those that I keep coming back to every once and again.

I wont describe it, since everyone who’s seen it just knows and also, some of you guys have already captured the fundamental parts. However, I feel that the French cars aren’t getting the attention they deserve. I was almost equally mesmerized by the Peugeot 406, 605 and Citroën XM’s. However, the German cars are naturally the stars with the BMW holding a special place in my heart. That being said, the MB 450 and especially the Audi S8 are also incredibly cool.

Whether or not the BMW is a real M5 has been discussed in great detail over the years. The most likely explanation (to me) is unfortunately that most of the time, it’s not. According to people that have studied the film in great detail they use a 535i (possibly a UK Sport) most of the time, with a real M5 appearing in some shots and even a 520i/525i. However, it is depicted as an M5 and the question is, should you consider the car for what it is, or for what it’s supposed to be?

If you’re eager to learn more (hopefully), here’s a link: [url=”http://www.imcdb.org/vehicle_1896-BMW-535i-E34-1991.html”] http://www.imcdb.org/vehicle_1896-BMW-535i-E34-1991.html%5B/url%5D

Marcus Cecconi
Marcus Cecconi
8 years ago

Is it me or has it been way to long to go without a mention of Ronin. My second favorite after Goldfinger. Great film and amazingly detailed chase scenes – especially seeing Deniro pulling the parking brake in the Peugeot to get thru the round about in Marseilles! The S8 was such a cool added detail …… wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall when a handfull of secret service types were laying out their gameplan/needs for a heist. What car would you choose to get 4 guys in and out of a “situation”?

Ae Neuman
Ae Neuman
8 years ago

fans of the film be sure to get one of the two-disc special edition dvds with frankenheimer’s commentary – one of the few directors’ commentaries that doesn’t put the listener into a coma.
avoid the bluray as it has a mediocre video transfer and no compelling extras.

Gianni Burrows
Gianni Burrows
8 years ago

See if you can spot the Alfa 75 (Milano) in the movie :).

Darin Spyderdog
Darin Spyderdog
8 years ago

i just watched this last night

Brian Driggs
Brian Driggs
8 years ago

Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt. That’s the first thing they teach you. The chases are excellent, the suspense of what’s in the case is always there, but for me, it’s the wisdom of Sam that really makes the movie. Combined with subtle nuance of his relationship with Vincent, this is one of my top 3.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to ambush someone with a cup of coffee. Well get the case! Won’t we Gregor!

Chris Mann
Chris Mann
8 years ago

The S8 in this film was the first car in cinema that I truly connected with, the film came out when I was 17, I was learning to drive and watching that thing slide around cobbled streets and drift through the dusty French countryside was for me what driving was all about.

Last year I found myself wandering around a 1998 Audi S8 at a local car dealer, a few hours later I drove it off of the lot and spent the next 12 months enjoying the deep growl, intense grip and immense comfort that this car has to offer – I’d met my childhood hero and it was exactly as I had imagined…almost.

I say almost, because in the film, DeNiro doesn’t spend £5,000 on maintenance, or £4,000 on fuel (Maybe he does, but it’s probably not key to the plot).

So after a year of V8 powered, four wheel drive, luxury the S8 is for sale.

Anyone interested in taking on a hero of modern cinema?

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/121161998089

Wolfgang Gullich
Wolfgang Gullich
8 years ago

One of the best things about this film is the sound editing. Frankenheimer was meticulous about getting each and every car’s engine noises correct in all situations using the sounds from each car in the movie. It’s pretty amazing to watch the featurette on this aspect.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange
8 years ago

Great film one of my favourites. Frankenheimer used RHD cars for the chase sequences with dummy steering wheels so the actors could be in the cars during the filiming. Watch closely in the tunnel section of the Paris chase, De Niro the consumate professional actor looks terrified.
BTW it’s not a 535i but a full on M5 used. An early 3.5 litre E34 with the unique turbine alloy wheels.