Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ronin - A Car Chase Scene to Die for?

Ronin -- very good film, great car chase scene(s)? Unlike so many of the great car chase films that have muddled plots and weak acting, this film is very good, but perhaps its car chase scheme is overrated. Ronin is the story of post-Cold War warriors, now in transition. At the center of the story is a case, but what is inside it, and two groups one Russian, one Irish, attempting to acquire it. One chase scene involves the planned ambush to acquire the case for a mysterious and rather beautiful Irish terrorist working for a Rouge leader by the name of Shamus. The second scene involves chase through Paris as the group has split. It is the second scene that seems to be the one that most film critics examine closely.

A few comments about this scene. I don't wish to unfairly criticize John Frankenheimer's efforts, however, as the film does mark a high achievement in cinematography and action involving the automobile. First, I thought that with one exception, Robert DeNiro's part in the chase scene is rather weak and unconvincing. That exception is a drift in which we see the use of the handbrake and downshift. Secondly, I thought the use of headlight flashers was quite effective, including the quick shot of the worm,an driver flicking the stalk on the dimmer in her BMW. On the whole the street s are deserted, like a Sunday morning in Paris, with few pedestrians. Going wrong way in on a number of streets would have resulted in these two cars coming to a head on end during any real situation. And finally, the fact that the three "bad guys" survived a plunge down an embankment and were able to walk away form, the wreckage at the end of the scene is a testimony to the safety one has in driving a BMW 5 series.

A great chase scene? A qualified yes, but there is still room to captivate the audience in fresh and more realistic ways.

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