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Sometimes You Just Have To Step On It

by Gunnar Heinrich ::: You Tube ::: Ronin Audi S8

MIND the four-wheel power slides! In this brief post, we see a first generation Audi S8 put to the test sur les rues de Paris in the 1998 car-chase-flick of car-chase-flicks, Ronin.


The Greatest Chase Sequence Yet Filmed?




By Gunnar Heinrich | IMG MGM via YouTube

JOHN Frankenheimer must have employed every stunt man in France for this scene.

Above is a still shot from a fast action scene shot in Paris for Ronin (1998). Ronin is one of those seminal gear head flicks where, if you love cars and car chases, entertainment just doesn’t get any better than this. That the movie’s plot is generally thin…really doesn’t phase us.

Since Ronin, of course there have been plenty of films that focus almost exclusively on car chases… the Transporter films, Transformers, The Fast and The Furious, and Gone in 60 Seconds, come readily to mind.

But for the sheer range of Euro stock cars and cool locales  (ex. Mr. Frankenheimer’s actually shooting on Parisian arteries and not in Hollywood back lots) Ronin really takes the cake.

So, if you all the above spikes your interest, enjoy this implaussibly matched chase sequence between an E34 M5 and Peugeot 406 and watch DeNiro, Jean Reno, and Natascha McElhone tear up les rues de Paris.


Watch It For The Rolling Stock: S1M0NE

alfa-romeo-106-spiderRachel Roberts as “Simone” with Alfa Romeo 2600.

By Gunnar Heinrich | IMG  S1M0NE (2002) via

SOME movies are best watched just for the cars.

Ronin is an example of an action movie that was just an excuse to tie-in several really wild car chase scenes together in 122 minutes. It didn’t matter what the plot was, in fact, I can’t remember the plot. But I do recall the scenes where an Audi S8 repeatedly managed four wheel power slides through the streets of Paris.

S1M0NE is another such movie.


Released in 2002, directed by Andrew Niccol, and starring Al Pacino alongside the lovely Rachel Roberts the a sci-fi-ish S1M0NE is about a dried-up director (Pacino) who resorts to activating a dead fan’s fictional, graphically animated pop-icon – “Simone”  (Roberts)- and manages then to fool the world into believing the program is a real person.

An intriguing concept, but in execution the film asks us to suspend our disbelief once too often in  lots of scenes that rely on convenient framing to mask the obvious dubiousness of the film’s plot.

That said, let’s get back to the real reason that you’ll want to put S1M0NE in your Netflix cue – the continuous artful display of magnificent cars showcased in wildly color-corrected light.

Among the classics that play a significant role in the movie’s otherwise suspect plot are a  Bentley S3 Continental “Chinese Eye” coupe, a Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman, a Jaguar XJ8 (X308), Citroen DS, and an Alfa Romeo 2600 Spider that you’ve seen in any number of Fellini films.

Unfortunately, the Chinese Eye Bentley meets a fender-bender in LA traffic in another dubious scene meant to convince us that the main characters are actually fooled by Pacino’s hoax.

But don’t let my quibbles throw you off the path to watching automotive art on the tube. For this, the movie’s well worth seeing. The black 600 on red leather interior alone should have its own star on the Hollywood walk of fame.


Your Favorite Car Flick

Jean Reno steers an S-Class with his right foot.

Choosing my favorite car flick is easy.

It’s John Frankenheimer’s Ronin with Robert DeNiro, Jean Reno, Jonathan Pryce (remember him from the Infiniti commercials?), and the achingly beautiful Natascha McElhone.

Of course the rolling stars of the show are an Audi (D2) S8, BMW (E34) M5, and a Mercedes-Benz (W116) 450SEL 6.9 – to name a few.

There’s one tyre smoking chase scene through Provence replete with rocket launcher and exploding Peugeot that checks just about all the gear head points that readily come to mind.

But enough about my favorite, the purpose of this post is to know your favorite car flicks.

Sound them off in comments. Who knows? Perhaps some of us will learn of the next must see car guy’s movie.

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