Here comes the ‘realism’ again. One of my biggest criticisms of most of the ‘best car chases’ in movies is the cars used. I just can’t feel any sort of affinity with watching a 5.0-litre V8 muscle car chasing an unattainable supercar. By far the best aspect of Ronin is the casting of the cars.
Using everyday cars adds an immediate level of inclusion for the audience. In the main Ronin chase, we have a Peugeot 406 chasing a BMW E34 5-series. From the first rev of that Peugeot 406 taking up the chase, every audience member considered driving home from the cinema in their mundane salesman car and being an action hero.
The use of those cars also added to the dynamic of the chase itself. There’s no endless RWD drifts in perfect harmony with the traffic. Instead, we see the front-driven 406 struggling for grip, yawing on its sidewalls and losing control. The handbrake is used not to control that perfect drift, but to come to a quick enough stop as De Niro misses his turning. Nothing feels seamless, it all feels gritty and hard work, like a real car chase would.
In the other Ronin chase, if you’re even a little bit of a big barge fan, you’re going to have a good time. Cue a Mercedes 450 SEL chasing a Peugeot 605 which soon develops into a Citroën XM being chased by an Audi S8. It’s like I wrote the scene myself.
Ronin will always hold that title as the best car chase in movie history for me. No film has come close to the realism and excitement that the two chases in this film provide. If I was to pick a challenger, the Bourne Identity’s Mini chase in Paris would be considered, but I can’t make a case ahead of Ronin.
Let us know what your favourite car chase is of all time.