by Teddy Field
Casting a Mercedes-Benz as the hero-car in a movie makes perfect sense. But you know what, so does casting a Benz as the Villain-car! Especially if the hero/villain wants to look good. So, let’s look at the Top 5 Mercedes vehicles ever to grace the silver screen. Warning: much blood, gas and even some profanity spills onto the streets in the following clips.
#5 – Ronin (1998)
Starring: Mercedes 450 SEL 6.9
This is a story about a freelance mercenary (played by Robert Di Nero) who basically runs around Europe blowing stuff up. It’s directed by John Frankenheimer (who’s given us such classics as The Manchurian Candidate and Reindeer Games), and as it turns out, he was quite a car guy.
In 1966, Frankenheimer directed the film Grand Prix, which took you for a thrilling ride, through the streets of Monaco in an open-wheel race car. There’s no dramatic music in the background, and no ridiculous camera angles. Just raw engine sounds, and ride-a-long views. Even without special effects, Frankenheimer had figured out how to make your pulse race, and your butt clinch on every blind curve.
For the movie Ronin, Frankenheimer wrapped a whole bunch of sensational chase scenes, around a gritty story line. You feel as if you’re in the story while you hold your breath as De Niro and Jean Reno race through the narrow streets of Nice. These car scenes were 100% Real, and the cars were actually going that fast.
Besides being a brilliant director, Frankenheimer was also a big fan of the 450 SEL 6.9. So he cast one in a scene where Jean Reno does a dramatic reverse spin, then quickly catches the bad guys, fleeing in a Peugeot. With the French car squarely in the big Benz’s sights, De Niro pops out of the sunroof with a rocket launcher and blows the Peugeot to that big escargot farm in the sky, proving yet again, that you can’t outrun a big-block Mercedes.
#4 – Romeo Must Die (2000)
Starring: 2000 Mercedes C43 AMG
Kung Fu movies are all about kicking a multitude of butt, and Romeo Must Die is no different.
One of the best parts of the movie is when Jet and Aaliyah get chased by a pair of motorcycle assassins. Thankfully though, they’re riding in her 2000 Mercedes C43 AMG. So the killers didn’t stand a chance.
The scene starts with the duo running for their lives (of course). After taking refuge in Aaliyah’s silver Benz, Li puts the AMG’s 302-hp to good use as he power slides it through the streets of Vancouver. In the end, both Ninja assassins get what’s coming to them, and AMG’s newest (at the time) pocket rocket proves that you can never have too much horsepower…especially when you’re being chased by Ninja’s.
#3 – The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
Starring: Multiple Mercedes
In 2004, Mercedes owned Chrysler…and Universal Studios was busy filming the second installment of the Bourne movie franchise. So, the two corporations decided to get together; by having Daimler provide Mercedes and Chrysler products for the movie while Universal provided exposure for the German automaker’s many vehicular creations.
While there are many cool Mercedes in this movie, the one that stands out is the blacked out G-Wagen in the final chase scene. In an epic life-or-death struggle, Jason Bourne manages to evade capture by stealing a GAZ Volga taxicab. Hot on his heels, his pursuer nicks a Mercedes Gelandewagen (unknown model) from a pair of mob wives out on a shopping spree. The ensuing chase pits that indestructible Volga against a W201, a pair of W124’s, a mess of Gaz’s Vaz’s, & Yaz’s, and that black G-Wagen.
In the end, Matt Damon out drives the Russian agent with his mighty Volga. But not before the mighty G-Wagen plows a path through a tunnel full of Russian cars. This scene even won the Volga’s stunt driver the Best Vehicle award at the 2005 Taurus Stunt Awards. Bravo!
#2 – Road House (1989)
Starring: 1989 Mercedes 560SEC
Just hearing the name Dalton, should give you pause. Want to break bad and hit someone with a beer bottle? Not if Dalton’s in the house.
Tim Dalton was one bad man. He was soft-spoken, he had a Ph.D in Philosophy, and he even did Yoga. But Dalton could kick your butt nine ways-to Sunday, if he wanted to.
Swayze’s character was a bouncer with a past. And the best indication of his many secrets, was right at the beginning of the movie. He pulls up to a NYC parking garage in a tired 1964 Buick Rivera, tosses the keys to a bum, and walks inside. He comes to a parking bay, and pulls the cover off his 1989 Mercedes 560SEC. After stowing the cover in the trunk, he turns the key and the 5.6 liter V8 roars to life. Cue the 80’s music.
After kicking plenty of butt in the movie, he sacrifices his beloved Benz by using a knife (used to kill his friend Sam) to pin the Go-Pedal to the floor. The SEC (an older 500SEC) gets shot up by bad guys, catches on fire, then launches itself over a wall, and into movie history.
#1 – The Hangover (2009)
Staring: 1969 280SE Cabriolet
Those of us who’ve had an adventure behind the wheel of a classic Mercedes Benz can truly appreciate this movie. The Hangover is a story about four friends and their inebriated bachelor party-adventure in Las Vegas. Their mode of transport: the groom’s father-in-law’s 1969 Mercedes 280SE Cabriolet. Or at least, it looks like one.
Thankfully, the producers had the good sense not to use an actual Cabrio. Instead, they had the top whacked off of five much-less-valuable coupes. Two of which were a 1965 Mercedes 220SE and a 1969 Mercedes 280SE.
Throughout the movie, our hero-car suffers repeated abuse including a pissed-off tiger and being t-boned by an Escalade. But the silver Cabrio soldiers on, eventually depositing the witless four-some safely back in California.
While the movie is wildly entertaining on its own, the indestructible Mercedes lends a good bit of fantasy to an otherwise believable adventure.
So, is this the definitive list? Or did we leave one or two out? Voice your opinion here!