The [myriad] cinematic cars of “Ronin” (1998)

We still remember watching this when it first came out on the big screen— what a treat that was. But now, thanks to the all-devouring power of the Internets, one could argue that this film has become a victim of overexposure, of its own success.

Still, when all is said and done, 1) the people behind “Ronin” had exquisite taste in cars (which are almost like characters themselves, and which have been impeccably cast— for example, we feel it launched the Audi S8 into automotive superstardom, or at least in our imagination), and 2) these are, ballyhooed or no, some of the most terrific car scenes recorded in cinematic history. Quite frankly, they never get old, and we think they’ll continue to age well through the 21st century.

If that isn’t the mark of a modern classic, then we don’t know what is. Chalk yet another one up for director John Frankenheimer, whose screen credits include another film you might have heard of, something by the name of “Grand Prix.”

Plus, we love the effortlessly classy Natascha McElhone.

(Images via the indispensable

~ by velofinds on March 27, 2011.

10 Responses to “The [myriad] cinematic cars of “Ronin” (1998)”

  1. I agree with your observation about overexposure via the internet. Another great example is the disturbing bro-mance with Steve McQueen. (See that website that rhymes with Malopnik.)

    Here is my road trip in a Citroen XM from Portland to San Francisco. Luckily, no 6.9 was shooting me with a bazooka.

  2. interesting car nerd blooper: when reno takes out the bmw’s passenger-side rear tire (toward the end of the second clip), the camera cuts to a basketweave wheel (from a 535i, presumably) and not the m5 turbines it had previously been wearing.

  3. i love how the S8s headlights magically get fixed towards the end of the clip! Hollywood magic!!

  4. Best car chase movie in history. By far better and more frequent than Bullitt. Frankenheimer was really the only director to really understand driving dynamics and communicate them through cinema.

  5. If the Ronin scenes are the high-brow art of the car chase, I would posit the freeway chase in Bad Boys 2 as the low-brow best in show:

    Martin, you big silly! Don’t shoot your own car!

  6. Ahh the age old question of which model E34 was used in Ronin…..

  7. The thing that wonders me is: where are the cars right now. Sold? scrapped? (let’s hope not)

    Would love to have that Audi, BMW, 406, XM or in fact any other star.

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