When they ask me to name the best movie car chases first titles that pop into my mind are Bullitt, Gone in 60 Seconds and Ronin.
I always thought Ronin chase was underrated by movie critics. It may not be as long as Gone in 60 Seconds and not have as many car crashes as The Blues Brothers but it has something many other chases don't. Attention to detail.
If you haven't seen the movie, you suck. Here is the chase scene though.
Here are the reasons why I think Ronin chase is awesome.
1. Two family sedans.
What other film has a car chase with family sedans? Not counting Crown Vics as cop cars that appear in just about every moving made in the last 20 years. BMW E34 vs Peugeot 406 is an awesome combo and very "thinking out of the box".
2. Manual transmissions with proper number of gears.
Unlike Fast and Furious gear boxes that have 36 gears, cars in this movie seem to have the correct number of gears.
3. Attention to detail.
I like the fact that they show occupants putting on seat belts. It's not like they could crash at any minute and be ejected through the windshield or anything. Or how about flashing high beams to let other cars know to gtfo of the way? At the same time the turn signals flash ever so slightly like they would if someone was actually jerking the high beams lever.
4. Smoking tires when down shifting and power sliding using hand brake.
I get a nice and warm feeling when I see that.
5. Nice sequence and camera work.
The chase appears to be sequential and can most likely be put on a map. A lot of modern films shoot the same scene at different camera angles then copy and paste them one after another to make it appear like the chase scene is longer than what it actually is. When in reality it's the same scene over and over.
6. Awesome sounds.
Yes, those 6 cylinder engines actually sound like they have 6 cylinders. They rev up properly as they should before gear changes and at proper speeds.
7. Realistic car crashes.
Cars don't fly up into the air and spontaneously explode regardless what other films lead you to believe. If there is an accident it's a fender bender and when cars do explode it's because they hit a tunnel post with a fuel tank.
8. It actually looks plausible.
Most movie car chases look like they would never actually happen in real life. It's either too much CGI, too many crashes or just looks ridiculous. Case in point are a couple of latest Fast and Furious movies. 35 mile runway... In Ronin the chase actually seems legit.
One thing that bugs me about this chase however is the fact that they can drive perfectly in the oncoming traffic for several miles and the cars are spaced out equally with enough room to weave in and out. That just doesn't happen in real life. There would always be 2 assholes driving side by side that would ruin your fun.
I can even get over the Bimmer exploding right after all people are pulled out at the end. They did after all had to make it look good for the film, right?